The Hult Center for Health Education was organized for the purpose of promoting healthy lifestyles through preventive education and personal decision-making to individuals of all ages.
The Center is a not-for-profit organization created as an outgrowth from Mayor Jim Maloof’s "Forward Peoria" program started in 1986. As part of the committees formed by this program, the Health Care Services Committee conducted a needs survey of schools and churches within a 100 mile radius of Peoria. Both public and private institutions were surveyed. Findings confirmed the need for a comprehensive health education program to supplement the health education efforts of parents, schools, civic groups, youth organizations, social service agencies, and health care providers.
The Hult Center for Health Education, named after local businessman and philanthropist Marvin Hult, was incorporated in January of 1987. The founding Board of Directors and Officers were elected in 1986 and monthly meetings have been held since that time. In September of 1989, ground was broken and construction began on the building. Construction was completed in October of 1990 and the Hult Center for Health Education officially opened its doors on October 29, 1990. The dream conceived by Dr. and Mrs. Stephen and Patti Bash of Peoria was now a reality. The Center educates over 39,000 people a year with over 500,000 children and adults having attended programs at the Center since the doors opened in 1990.
Located in Peoria, Illinois, the Hult Center for Health Education houses five spacious learning theaters designed to accommodate groups of school-age students and adults in a stimulating learning environment. The most striking difference between the Hult Center for Health Education and traditional classroom experience is the state-of-the-art visual displays, technology, and interactive exhibits used in the teaching process. Participants see and hear larger-than-life electronic displays, audio-visual presentations, and interactive models that can be manipulated and explored during presentations by an expert staff of health educators. The Hult Center for Health Education's programs are divided into four broad areas of general health, nutrition, substance abuse prevention, and family life education. Along with our in-house programs, the Center, through the assistance of various grants, provides outreach programs in the areas of prescription drug abuse prevention to high school students, tobacco education to preschool and elementary school students, and health education and medication management to senior citizens. Our early childhood programs focus on the human body, dental health, safety, saying “no”, and nutrition. Each year thousands of students participate within our early childhood programs and our Healthy Heroes summer camp.
The Hult Center for Health Education, one of only 37 health education centers in the United States, strives to continue to meet the goals of our mission statement "to teach people of all ages to respect and take better care of themselves in order to live stronger, healthier lives". In 2005, the Hult Center for Health Education is ranked #1 (out of 37 Centers) in the areas of data collection, research, and research effectiveness according to Dr. David Birch, Chair of the Department of Health Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL and 2005 National Association of Health Education Centers (NAHEC) board member. The latest research involving a Hult program was published in the November 2004 Journal of School Health.