Health Education, Promotion and Training

For information on any of
these Programs call: 221-2092

The programs of the Health Education, Promotion and Training Department reflect an operational goal, which has as its heart, a concern for all of the citizens of Marion County. That goal is:

to collect and analyze data for the purpose of developing and implementing programs which will be directed toward the improvement of the health and well-being of all citizens of Marion County. 

Key definitions which guide and support these programs are:

Health education
  "the continuum of learning which enables people, as individuals and as members of social structures, to voluntarily make decisions, modify behaviors and change social conditions in ways which are health enhancing"
Health promotions
  "the aggregate of all purposeful activities designed to improve personal and public health through a
combination of strategies, including the competent
implementation of behavioral change strategies, health education, health protection measures, risk factor detection, health enhancement and health maintenance"

Using the concepts embodied in Health Education and Health Promotions as the framework for the delivery of programs to the citizens of the community, the Department works in collaboration with other programs, including Healthy Indy Partnership and Back to School Day which is comprised of comprehensive physicals, birth records, immunizations, sport physicals, and hearing, eye and lead level screenings. Further, the department promotes National Public Health Week, Indiana Black Expo, Minority Health Fair, National Neighborhood Health Center Week, Red Ribbon Week, National Safe Kid Week and National Monthly Health Issue Observances. The organization and management of the Speakers Bureau of the Marion County Health Department, is also the responsibility of the department.

The major delivery structures for the department are categorized into two components: HEALTH PROMOTIONS and the A.C.T.I.O.N. Center. Each of these components consists of a comprehensive set of programs designed to meet the major goal of assessment and improvement of the health and well being of all Marion County citizens.


  1. School Health - (221-2052)
    School Health Promotion provides several different services including school health fairs for school-aged children and adolescents. Among the programs are:

    1. Teen Health Risk Appraisal
      This program is administered in health classes throughout Marion County middle schools. The Teen Health Risk Appraisal is used to diagnose behavioral risk factors among the community's adolescent population. The appraisal is comprised of 56 questions about personal behavior. Additionally, female respondents were asked to answer three more questions related to menstruation and breast cancer. The male respondents were given an opportunity to answer questions regarding scrotal/testicular examination. The results of the interpreted appraisal can be used as an educational tool in assisting the youth to gain a greater understanding of the relationships of age, race, sex, inherited characteristics, behaviors and selected causes of death. Each participant receives a computerized printout that provides results of their individualized health assessment. Teachers also receive comprehensive group data for the purpose of identifying the greatest risks among their students.

    2. Mascot Program
      This program is comprised of seven unique characters that spend their day promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. These friendly characters are available for loan to schools and groups sponsoring health education programs for preschool children through grade 3.

      Katie Bear wants everyone to know how much fun it is to be
        alcohol and drug-free.
      Healthy Heart Man wants everyone to take care of his/her heart.
      Rue Kangaroo wants everyone to become physically fit.
      Cabbage Kid wants everyone to eat a well balanced diet.
      Larry Lion wants everyone to learn how to manage stress.
      Octopuff wants everyone to know that smoking is harmful.
      Buckle Up Bunny wants everyone to buckle up their seat belt.
      Louie the Lamb wants everyone to know the effects and
        consequences of violent behavior.

    3. Tobacco Education
      This program targets grades K-5. The program emphasizes student awareness of the chemical effects of tobacco use, the effects of advertisements, the effects of smoke in the environment (second hand smoke) and the impact upon the physical self. Also we are partnering with the Indiana State Board of Health Smoking Program, Tar Wars Program and the Healthy Indy Partnership.

  2. Community Health - (221-2087)
    Community Health Education focuses on educating the elderly population about healthy lifestyle choices.

    1. Senior Fitness - The Silver Striders is a low-cost walking program designed for adults 50 years of age/plus. It has been developed to encourage and educate residents of Marion County and surrounding counties of the benefits of walking for fun and fitness.

    2. The Vial of Life is a 911 Emergency Aid for individuals 50 years of age/plus. Each individual who participates in the program receives an actual vial container into which is placed an information form containing medical and/or other significant information to be readily available for use by emergency personnel in the event there is an emergency situation.

    3. The Church Health Program is designed to increase community awareness of different health related issues and to encourage the efforts of individuals in making healthy lifestyle choices.

    4. Home Safety is a project scheduled to begin in 1999.
      The program is funded by Lowe's Home Stores, and is an educational program to be held at the Ruth Lilly Center (at Methodist Hospital). Seniors will be educated on home safety and will receive cash vouchers to be used for purchases of supplies for use in home safety installations.

    5. National Health Issues - This program is presently being developed as an Outreach pilot project. It will be offered at a major local shopping mall, focusing on selected, identified issues correlating with the Monthly National Health Observances.

    6. Senior Fitness and Wellness
      This is a project designated for future development at an already determined location. Equipment is already available for the location. Two other areas for future development are in the areas of Domestic Violence and Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs.

  3. Worksite Health - (221-2083)
    Worksite Health provides consultation/liaison services to small businesses and industry in Marion County that wish to initiate health promotion activities for their employee population. Worksite Health provides service to businesses and industry by facilitating access to health screening and intervention in lifestyle diseases. Additionally, this program promotes physical activity programs through active outreach efforts and coordination through company representatives, such as Human Resources, Personnel Departments and Health Service providers.
    1. Wellness in Motion
      The Wellness in Motion program was developed to provide employees with screening and educational opportunities as part of a comprehensive in-house initiative to improve the health of Marion County Health Department employees and the community. Wellness in Motion provides employees with an opportunity to be screened for Total and HDL cholesterol levels, body composition, and blood pressures as examples. Staff in the Wellness in Motion program collaborate with other departments such as Nutrition Services and Chronic Disease to provide the employees with continuing educational experiences which inform the employee of proper physical fitness and nutritional lifestyle habits.
    2. Physical Activity and Fitness
      As a part of the Worksite Health Promotion program, physical activity and fitness is promoted through providing intramural sport opportunities (seasonal) as well as other seasonal activities such as golf outings.

  4. INJURY PREVENTION - (221-2045)
    The Injury Prevention program provides educational programs and materials for the purpose of promoting awareness of how to avoid and prevent unintentional injuries.
    1. Safetyville
      This is an interactive village designed to teach children in Kindergarten through Grade 2 about personal safety, home safety, transportation safety, playground safety, and first aid as some of the relevant safety issues.
    2. The Injury Prevention program coordinates the Indianapolis SAFE KIDS Coalition, which is part of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign in Washington, D.C. The mission of the Indianapolis SAFE KIDS Coalition is to decrease the injury and death rates of children due to unintentional injuries in the Indianapolis area. The program focuses on preventing child injury in the areas of: bicycling; playground falls; poisons; fires; school bus; firearms; toys; fireworks; traffic safety; home safety and water safety.
    3. Risk Watch
      This program is for children ages 14 and under. The #1 health risk is not kidnapping, drugs or disease - it is INJURY. The statistics are staggering. Traffic injuries, drownings, fires and burns, firearm injuries, falls, poisonings (identified as unintentional injuries) and each year kill more than 7,000 children each year and permanently disable more than 50,000. Thirteen million children are injured seriously enough to require medical attention. Risk Watch helps kids beat the odds. With proper education, children can learn to be much safer and prevent injuries.

      Risk Watch addresses the following areas:

      Motor Vehicle Safety Fires and Burn Prevention,
      Choking, Poison, Falls, Firearm Prevention,
      Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossing, Water Safety,
      Suffocation and Strangulation Prevention.

      The curriculum for this program will be implemented in 1999 through the SAFE KIDS COALITION and the Health Educators of the Marion County Health Department.

      The Injury Prevention program is also responsible for the collection and reporting of E-Code data from local hospitals. The Health Department has an accurate and current database of injuries occurring in Marion County, gathered from the Emergency Room data of the seven participating hospitals. The data analysis will be utilized as an evaluative tool in developing, planning and implementing future/further injury control programs.

    The Neighborhood Health Centers offer comprehensive services to the surrounding community. Services include laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, podiatry, family planning, dentistry, family counseling and prenatal care, in addition to active health education and promotion services. Health Education-Lifeskills is being taught weekly in the Neighborhood Health Centers to adolescents on Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs (ATOD), sexually transmitted infections (STI) and Teen Pregnancy - in Citizens Ambulatory Health Center, and Eskenazi Hospital Health Centers/Blackburn Center, Westside Center, Forest Manor Center and Grassy Creek Center. On National Depression Day, there is a collaborative effort with Mental Health, Marion County Health Department, and the seven neighborhood health centers, of which six are federally qualified (*), and identified as follows:

    Barrington Health Center *
    3401 E. Raymond Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46403
    (317) 788-9769
    Citizens Ambulatory Health Center * 1650 N. College Avenue
    Indianapolis, IN 46402
    (317) 924-6351
    Southeast Health Center *
    901 Shelby Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46203
    (317) 488-2021
    Gennesaret Free Clinic
    631 E. New York Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46202
    (317) 262-5645
    People's Health Center *
    2340 E. 10th Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46201
    (317) 633-7364
    Southwest Health Center *
    2202 W. Morris Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46221
    (317) 488-2021
    Martindale-Brightwood Center *
    2502 E. 28th Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46218
    (317) 920-5760

  6. VIOLENCE PREVENTION - (221-2085)
    The focus of the Violence Prevention Program is to both increase and strengthen the community's knowledge and response toward violence and related issues. Program efforts involve collaboration, event coordination, community organization and education, maintenance of a violence statistics database, program initiatives and other activities aimed at reducing violence in Marion County. The goal for this program is to increase the awareness and overall knowledge of children and adults in the community regarding gun safety, personal safety, the effects of violence and alternatives to violent behavior. Educational messages are presented via public service announcements and other similar video programs.
    1. Child Abuse Prevention
      The program is comprised of educational sessions that acquaint students, staff members and other individuals or groups with the forms to be used, signs of abuse, steps to take in ending personal victimization and how to respond to the self-disclosure from victims. Each session involves the discussion of scenarios and the use of video or workbook activities.
    2. Conflict Resolution, Education and Mediation
      This program is based upon the principle that individuals are capable of acting responsibly in finding their own peaceful solutions in conflict situations. Educational activities increase participants' knowledge and understanding of the characteristics, effectiveness and possible consequences in the use of various conflict response styles. Participants have the opportunity to learn techniques for positive and effective communication with others. Workshops are also available to train students, staff members and other individuals in the conflict mediation process, or in the development of conflict mediation programs. Training sessions that teach the mediation process usually require at least 8 - 10 hours. The hours can be divided into 2 or 3 days. The length of time required for program development training varies according to the needs of each group or organization.
    3. Domestic Violence Prevention
      This program has two major components. The program is designed to provide community education concerning the nature, effects and consequences of domestic violence, and secondly, to build upon collaborative opportunities with other organizations and agencies. The goal of the collaborative effort is to assist in the interruption of the cycles of violence for victims. The program staff seeks to increase the availability of resources, programs and other related services for victims, offenders and other affected family members.
    4. Gang Awareness and Prevention
      This program provides an overview of obvious aspects of gang activity such as myths, trends, common characteristics of gangs, gang member profiles, reasons for membership, levels of involvement, the roles of female members and the use of graffiti. Prevention components equip children and teenagers to make healthy choices by increasing their understanding of the realities and consequences of gang involvement.
    5. Gun Safety Education
      This program emphasizes various principles of gun safety. In addition to basic safety tips, children and teenagers learn alternatives to violence, alternatives to gun possession for personal safety and what to do if they find a gun. Adult education promotes both the safe storage and the responsible use of guns.
    6. Gun Trigger Lock Distribution
      This program promotes safe and responsible storage of guns by providing free trigger locks to individuals. The locks are distributed at health fairs and other special events and/or to individuals on a "walk-in" basis. Each lock is a simple, sturdy device with a center post that prevents movement of the trigger when it is properly attached. The locks will easily attach to most handguns, shotguns and rifles. One trigger lock is available per household.
    7. Outreach and Intervention
      This program is aimed at individual, family, organizational and/or community crises. Activities involve various levels of intervention focusing on domestic, school and community violence, gang activity and disputes, and other related situations in which conflict or the potential for violence exists.
    8. School Violence Prevention
      This program is based upon staff members participating in workshops that focus on building layout, student supervision, school policies and procedures, staff communication, communications equipment, school security, classroom management and other factors relating to the planning of a safe educational environment. Workshops can also be planned to address specific issues, such as gang activity and racial tension.
    9. Substance Abuse Prevention
      This educational program is primarily targeted toward students in the total school program - elementary grades through high school levels. The program components include prevention-based activities and discussion of topics such as drug abuse and the harmful effects of drugs on the body, as well as other consequences of drug use and possession.
    10. Violence Prevention
      Educational programs are designed to increase the participants' overall awareness in a variety of areas such as the forms of violence, the effects of violence on families and communities, and the roles of movie violence and music (MTV) in contributing to violent behavior. The programs can also be planned to focus on various areas such as date rape or workplace violence. In addition, program content may include personal safety tips and both the process and benefits of conflict resolution.
    11. Violence Statistics Database
      Statistical databases are available for a variety of violent crimes occurring within the city, county and state. The database includes both current and past year statistical sources for juvenile and adults. In addition to violent crime data, the database also includes statistics on drug use.

    ACTION Health Center

    Adolescent Care Team In Our Neighborhood Center - (221-3400)

    The A.C.T.I.O.N. Center was established in 1988, marking a milestone in the development of specialized health services for the adolescent population in Indianapolis. The center added an innovative element to the program's existing components by offering a comprehensive range of medical and social services to teens at one location. Collaborating agencies established offices on-site at the A.C.T.I.O.N. Center, providing easy access for teens to needed services. The A.C.T.I.O.N. Center also provides opportunities for teens to take an active role in improving their health. Programs currently offered include childbirth education, parenting classes, support groups, Safe Sitter classes as well as other innovative programs as follows:

    1. Teens Taking Action
      This program was developed as a life-skills program for males ages 11-15. The program includes classroom instruction on various health topics; mentoring/tutoring sessions' computer training; a fitness component; recreational activities and field trips. "Teens Taking Action" is part of the Indianapolis Healthy Start Program.
    2. Teens In Charge (Teen Board)
      This program was designed to provide teens with an opportunity to play an integral part in the development and implementation of programs affecting their lives. "Teens In Charge" is a Board comprised of teenagers from the entire county. Further, the program gives adolescents the opportunity to have input into the program, and responsibility to assist with the planning of health education programs at the A.C.T.I.O.N. Center; participate in A.C.T.I.O.N. Center activities; and increase their knowledge of health issues which are important to their making healthy choices for living healthy and productive lives. "Teens in Charge" is a fun, exciting program. We strongly encourage all interested youth to participate.

    The following programs comprise a part of the Adolescent Family Life Project which is designed to promote a positive approach toward sexual abstinence and to educate adolescents about the consequences of premarital sexual behavior. Programs encourage students to be and to remain abstinent. The health educators conducting this program reinforce these principles by presenting content which enables students an opportunity to increase their personal skills in such important areas as: decision-making; how to handle peer pressure; gaining greater confidence and self-esteem and other assertive skills necessary to remain abstinent. Students also are given simulator dolls to engage them in a pseudo-realism experience of parenthood. Both a pre-test and a post-test are given to measure the effectiveness of these programs.

    Our Life Skills program is one in which students are taught necessary skills for survival. Issues such as personal hygiene, sexuality, career development, goal setting, decision-making are some of the many presented for the purpose of increasing the teens' understanding of how their participation affects their life's direction for the future. This program is strictly voluntary. No student is mandated to attend.

    1. Sex Can Wait
      This is a Sexuality curriculum, developed for middle school and high school students, which is geared toward promoting sexual abstinence; communicating clearly and effectively; and the exploration of how present behavior can impact and influence future goals and plans. Many lessons include homework assignments to be done by parents and students together, giving young people an opportunity to learn about their parents' beliefs and experiences and, at the same time, provide an opportunity for parents to participate in the learning process of their children.
    2. Baby Think It Over
      The program curriculum is based primarily on an infant simulator which realistically involves teens in an instant parenthood experience. The simulator dolls (babies) are programmed to cry sporadically and monitor the promptness in which care giving is provided. A key/probe is attached to the wrist of each caregiver and simulates feelings. The babies are designed also to detect if a student tries to tamper with the electronic monitoring device. This device gives a digital readout, which indicates the total number of minutes the doll cried, how many times it cried and whether or not the baby was handled roughly or neglected in any way. Additionally, some babies are programmed as colicky or drug-dependent babies. The program provides participants with diaper bags, car seats, carriers and strollers to provide for a more realistic experience. After all the hassle of carrying around necessary baby equipment, coupled with sleep deprivation, all the glamorization of parenthood is greatly diminished.
    3. Managing Pressures Before Marriage
      This curriculum, designed for pre-teens and teenagers, utilizes a video series that will highlight a view of abstinence to enable the teen to distinguish between a social relationship from one involving a sexual experience. The message that it is a wiser choice/value to postpone having sex will be the single focus of this program. Repetition and reinforcement is the style that will be used in educating the participants in the program. Each lesson in the module will stress the message of "postponement", will review previous learning and build the skills needed to counter pressures to become sexually involved.

    4. Brother to Brother
      This is a life skills curriculum. The objectives of the curriculum are designed to promote abstinence, enhance cultural and self-esteem, provide or promote a positive value system and assist male adolescents in setting reasonable educational and career goals. In addition, information is presented on male health issues, male/female relationships, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.

    5. Growing Up Black and Proud
      This curriculum presents life skills information. The objectives developed for the curriculum are designed to promote cultural identity, enhance communication, skills in conflict resolution and decision making abilities. (Additional information is presented on dealing with peer pressure and alcohol and other drug use.)

    For further information on any program, please call (317) 221-2092

    Health Educators are placed in all IPS schools (elementary, middle and high schools), community organizations, after-school programs, housing units, neighborhood centers, and assist faculty and staff in promoting an increased sense of personal health and wellbeing. Some of these services include: Abstinence Support Group; Adolescent Family Life/Pregnancy Prevention Program; Life Skills Program; Sexuality Education and Resource Contact.

    1. Abstinence Support Group
      This is an abstinence support group for males that is co-facilitated by the Health Educator. The support group focuses on why one should remain abstinent. This focus includes discussions on sexuality, in particular, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Puberty (when hormonal changes occur in the body), Teen pregnancy and emotional/psychological issues surrounding sex. In addition, higher self-esteem is promoted along with developing stronger refusal skills.

    2. Life Skills
      This is a program in which students are taught necessary skills for survival. Issues such as personal hygiene, sexuality, career development, goal setting, decision-making are some of the many presented for the purpose of increasing the teens' understanding of how their participation affects their life's direction in the future. This program is strictly voluntary. No student is mandated to attend.

    3. Sexuality Education
      This program is provided upon the request of teachers/faculty. This includes, but is not limited to, the reproductive system, puberty, menstruation, menopause, STIs and etc.
    4. Resource Contact
      This particular area of the project involves providing the Health Educator as a resource person for students, faculty and staff. Students, faculty and staff are able to take pamphlets and informational brochures on numerous health topics, for the purpose of enhancing their knowledge and understanding. In addition, they are able to check out videos, tapes and other educational materials for their classes and/or personal use.

    For further information on any of these programs call 226-4734

    Additional services provided by Marion County Health Department/Health Education, Promotion and Training Division and the Social Services Division include the following: Anger Control Program; Conflict Mediation; STI presentation; Gang Awareness Program and a Life Skills Program.

    1. Anger Control
      This program involves the health educator assisting students on how to cope with anger issues and provides them with ways to deal with their anger for the purpose of decreasing the potential for causing harm to themselves or others.
    2. Conflict Mediation
      This program consists of the health educator, staff/faculty and students working together to reduce conflicts of students. It consists of four phases:
      Phase I - Opening, Introductions, Overview of process and Ground Rules
      Phase II - Time where Disputants get the issues out
      Phase III - Time for disputants to talk to each other about conflict and establish common ground
      Phase IV - Resolution agreement signed and closing statements are made.
    3. Gang Awareness Program
      This program is geared toward staff and faculty relative to knowledge of gang operations, recruitment of members and the promotion/advertisement of gangs.