The Health in Higher Education Knowledge Community has collected the following glossary of terms pertinent to its discussions. When no other source is indicated, the definition is drawn from standard collegiate dictionaries.
Ambulatory: able to walk about and not bedridden: performed on or involving an ambulatory patient or an outpatient.
Ambulatory health care: Direct personal health care services to a person seeking treatment or advice on an out-patient, non-institutionalized basis. Primary care, early detection, routine treatment of health problems, and preventive care all take place in the ambulatory health care setting. [Shirreffs, J.H. Community Health: Contemporary Perspectives. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1982. p70, 253.]
Counseling: Professional counseling is the application of mental heath, psychological or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic interventions, strategies that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology. (American Counseling Association)
Education: Experiences that influence the way people perceive themselves in relation to their social, cultural, and physical environments; a complex and purposeful process for expediting learning (Modeste & Tamayose); an engaged, interactive process of making meaning that has the potential to transform the learner (Keeling).
Health: The physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being and fitness that individuals enjoy. Health is not just freedom from disease but is multidimensional and is to a large extent culturally defined (Modeste & Tamayose); a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States [Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100] and entered into force on 7 April 1948); the capacity to work, study, and love (Keeling); a state of well-being and dignity (Farmer).
Health care: efforts made to maintain or restore health, especially by trained and licensed professionals.
Information: knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction.
Medical: of, relating to, or concerned with physicians or the practice of medicine. Note that the definition of health is broader than that of medicine.
Nursing: The duties of a person who is skilled or trained in caring for the sick or infirm especially under the supervision of a physician; note, however, that nurses now practice with increasing independence, especially in ambulatory care settings. Nurses with additional preparation and certification to provide direct clinical services are often called advanced practice nurses, a category that includes, for example, nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists.
Patient Education: Any planned learning experience using a combination of teaching methods, counseling, and behavior modification techniques to influence the knowledge and health behavior of patients (people who are seeking health care). Patient education is concerned with helping patients learn how to care for themselves and to participate in decisions about their health care. It helps prepare patients to deal with changes in medical care. The greater part of patient education is done by nurses, although health educators and preventive medicine professionals are often employed to plan and teach patients about exercise regimens, dietary changes, and inherited traits of disease to help then reduce stress and cope with their illnesses (Modeste & Tamayose).
Primary Prevention: The intervention or use of specific strategies and programs to reduce the occurrence of disease in a population. The first level of prevention, it is aimed at deterring disease before it occurs (Butler, 2000 in Modeste & Tamayose). Much of primary prevention is accomplished through health promotion and education, environmental change, and health protection actions. Examples of primary prevention strategies may include water fluoridation to prevent dental decay, eradication of mosquitoes to prevent malaria, promoting sexual abstinence among teenagers to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission, and the wearing of safety equipment to prevent accidents when working with machinery (Modeste & Tamayose).
Recreation: refreshment of strength and spirits after work; also: a means of refreshment or diversion; the restoration of health by relaxing or strengthening the physical, mental, and psychological self.
Secondary Prevention: Any intervention strategy, such as case finding, screening, and treatment, intended to reduce the effects of an existing disease in a population, thus preventing further deterioration and early death. Secondary prevention is concerned with early detection and prompt treatment of disease. The goal is to identify its severity or diminish its impact (Modeste & Tamayose). Examples of secondary prevention may include brief motivational interventions used to reduce recidivism among students who have violated campus standards of conduct in relation to consuming alcohol and smoking cessation programs.
Student Learning: A complex, holistic, multi-centric activity that occurs throughout and across the college experience (ACPA & NASPA: Learning Reconsidered).
Tertiary Prevention: The third level or therapeutic stage of prevention. Tertiary prevention employs intervention strategies directed at assisting people with illness and disease in a population to reduce the impact of their conditions. Tertiary prevention relies more heavily on medical care and rehabilitation than on health promotion and education. Examples of tertiary prevention may include cholesterol reduction for patients with heart disease (Modeste & Tamayose) or prophylaxis to prevent opportunistic infections in people with HIV/AIDS.
Wellness: A dimension of health that goes beyond the absence of disease or infirmity and includes the integration of social, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of health. The concept of wellness was first introduced in the United States in the 1970s as an expanding experience of purposeful and enjoyable living. Wellness refers to a positive state, illness to a negative state (Butler, 2000; Green & Kreuter, 1999 in Modeste & Tamayose). But note that the comprehensive vision of health embraced by the term wellness is sometimes described using other words.