A sustainable and professional workforce to boost health promotion efforts – Croakey Health Media

Introduction by Croakey: Health promotion professionals can play a key role in the development of healthy communities across Australia.

This week, the flagship body representing health promotion professionals, the Australian Association for Health Promotion, welcomes its 100th registered practitioner.

In the article below, Dr Marguerite Sendall of the Queensland Institute of Technology, highlights the importance of this milestone and how the field contributes to preventive health.


Marguerite Sendall writes:

As we have traversed the coronavirus pandemic over the past 15 months or so, public health and health promotion have been at the forefront of the public lexicon.

The pandemic has drawn attention to the preventive health sector in ways we could not have imagined and is helping us understand the importance of a valued, highly skilled, stable and professional workforce. protected.

Health promotion practitioners are responsible for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating health promotion policies and projects using a variety of strategies, including health education, mass media, community development and community engagement processes, advocacy strategies, social marketing, health policies and the environment. strategies.

Dr Marguerite Sendall

Prevention push

Before COVID, the prevention program was gaining ground, especially as an important part of the Australia’s National Long-Term Health Plan tart. As part of this pie, in 2019 the federal government announced a 10-year period National preventive health strategy.

After a public consultation process, a draft strategy was released. Leading professional organizations such as Australian Association for Health Promotion (AHPA), in chorus with other preventive health organizations such as the Climate and Health Alliance, provided comments on the draft strategy.

For the first time ever, the AHPA is convinced that there is genuine recognition of salient issues, such as the social determinants of health and climate change, which permeate the health environment.

Prevention commitment

One of the most exciting changes outlined in the Strategy is the commitment to increase the prevention budget (which typically ranges from 1.5-2%) to 5% of the total health budget. Overall, leading bodies welcome the government’s shift in stance, but believe these fundamental issues need to be more central to the strategy to ensure long-term health outcomes for all Australians.

As might be expected, there was no direct allocation of funds for the Strategy in the 2021-2022 federal budget.

What does this mean for health promotion staff? In a nutshell, this means that we must ensure the integrity, capacity and quality of the health promotion staff in Australia. One way to do this is to enroll health promotion practitioners.

In the late 1990s, leading practitioners began working on a core skill set for health promotion practice in Australia. At the same time, a succession of working groups and committees within the framework of International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE), has developed a core international skill set for health promotion.

Today, these core international skills form the basis for the registration of health promotion practitioners in Australia.

The AHPA is the national accreditation organization for IUHPE in Australia. There are two ways to become an IUHPE Certified Health Promotion Practitioner (RHPP): graduate from an accredited health promotion course; or submit a request for basic health promotion skills.

Registration step

The AHPA recently took a milestone when it hosted its 100th recording.

Sarah Lausberg has worked in health promotion since 1998, and enrolled to become IUHPE’s RHPP when she began her role as Manager of Community Health Promotion. She noted that registration was increasingly indicated as desirable in job descriptions, both at the practitioner and manager level.

Sarah lausberg

“I had also heard about the use of skills in performance appraisal and development processes,” she said.

Sarah said she is also keen to support efforts to professionalize the field of health promotion.

“I was under the impression that this competency-based registration would lead to recognition of the skills and knowledge that health promotion professionals hold,” noting that international recognition of her skills was also an asset.

Getting enrolled has also been an important part of her professional development over the past year, she said.

“This complemented my job of supervising staff in my role as health promotion manager, and I also became a mentor in the AHPA mentorship program,” she said, noting that the The enrollment application process was, in itself, an interesting professional development. activity.

“Registration allows you to identify areas in which you want to gain more experience and also identify skills that may be transferable to other roles. “

With 100 RHPPs now in Australia, the profession is poised to make a significant contribution to the future of promoting health, healthy communities and a healthy Australia.

Dr Marguerite Sendall is an academic at the School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Marguerite has over 20 years of experience in health promotion encompassing the practice of health promotion in schools, teaching postgraduate health promotion theory and practice, supervision students in health promotion research, conducting applied research in occupational health promotion and as an active member of the Australian Health Promotion Association. (AHPA). She is currently a member of the South West Pacific Regional Committee, IUHPE, and a guest member, Global Accreditation Review Committee IUHPE.


See our previous articles on prevention.

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