The Association has its origins in the ANZAAS Congress held in Perth during 1983. The planning committee for the Health Education Section of the Congress recognised the needs for an organisation that could unify the growing number of people involved in health promotion and health education throughout Western Australia and promote liaison between them. This resulted in the formation of the Western Australian Professional Health Educators' Association (WAPHEA) in 1985.
In response to interest shown in the organisation from health promotion professionals throughout Australia, WAPHEA changed its name, and in 1990 was nationally constituted as the Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals. Western Australia was the first Branch and was formed in 1992. There are now Branches in all states and territories.
In May 1999 members voted to change the name of the Association to the Australian Health Promotion Association thereby reflecting the more inclusive and broader approach to its work. A new mission statement, objectives, and a new membership structure were developed to reflect the change in direction.