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What is health promotion?

What is health promotion?

The Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA®) encourages and supports best practice in health promotion in Australia, in order that everyone may enjoy good health. The Association endorses the World Health Organization's (1986) definition of health promotion: the process of enabling people to increase control over the determinants of health and thereby improve their health.

The health promotion profession has evolved alongside, and in response to, the international health promotion movement and the broader new public health movement. Health promotion not only embraces actions directed at strengthening the skills and capabilities of individuals but also actions directed towards changing social, environmental, political and economic conditions to alleviate their impact on populations and individual health.

Download Ottawa Charter 1986

What is a Health Promotion Practitioner?

Health Promotion Practitioners are responsible for the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of health promotion policies and projects using a variety of strategies, including health education, mass media, community development and community engagement processes, advocacy and lobbying strategies, social marketing, health policy, and structural and environmental strategies. Workforce development and capacity building strategies are also important components of health promotion practice.

While job titles and academic course titles in different countries may not always include the term ‘Health Promotion’, the term ‘practitioner’ refers to all those whose main role reflects Health Promotion as defined in the Ottawa Charter and successive WHO charters and declarations to promote health and reduce health inequities. The term ‘practitioner’ includes those working in management, education and research directly related to Health Promotion.

Looking for a health promotion course? 

Health promotion is offered as an undergraduate or postgraduate university qualification and is also often a stream or major in many health science and public health courses. Health promotion is an undergraduate Bachelors or post graduate Masters university qualification. Courses are most likely to be offered in a School of Public or Population Health; although sometimes they are in other schools, like Medicine. 

If you are looking for a health promotion course, you should start by looking online as there are many course options. We recommend you contact the Course Coordinator in each university to find out as much information as you can to make sure you are choosing the best option.

IUHPE accredited Health Promotion courses are listed here. AHPA® encourages universities to apply for accreditation.

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