Health Promotion (or improvement) describes our work to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals or communities through enabling and encouraging healthy choices as well as addressing underlying determinants of health such as poverty and lack of educational. You work with a wide range of partners to influence policy, service provision and wider environmental factors that help support positive health outcomes for the population, especially those in greatest need.
Job titles may vary across organisations as well as the pay and conditions. However a common job title would be 'Health promotion/improvement principal/practitioner/manager/specialist'.
Working as a health improvement principal involves consistent work over a matter of months or years until outcomes are detected; this is because your job is continually evolving with new laws.
Part of this is due to distributing your specialist knowledge and skills to a wide variety of public health areas, successfully leading and planning health improvement services and initiatives.
Depending on your job duties, you could find yourself performing various roles. While doing so, you will be working with many individuals, organisations, and communities.
You could be assisting with reducing local obesity levels by hosting events, raising awareness, and helping people gain affordable access to healthy foods.
On another note, you could be constructing plans and implementing those to increase access to high demand in mental health services. You could also be playing your part in the decreasing stigma surrounding mental health.
The role could involve leading commissioning services and initiatives which aim to reduce dangerous drinking.
- Delivering complex information in a way that it’s easy to understand.
- Excellent information analysis skills
- Efficiently manage budgets
- Teamwork deciding how to allocate limited resources effectively
- Effectively evaluating services and interventions
- Master’s qualification in Public Health or equivalent, and preferably a management qualification. Ideally, they will be working towards registration with the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) at an appropriate level.
As a health improvement practitioner, you’ll contribute to local programmes which influence lifestyle and behaviour change. For example, programmes around stopping smoking, following a healthy diet or exercising regularly.
You might also work with specific groups depending on the role and its locality. For example, providing specialist services for young people, the elderly, people with mental health conditions or the LGBTQ+ community. Your work could include:
- Providing health improvement advice to support the care and education of clients
- Training other health improvement staff
- Working with external agencies to collaboratively improve population health
- Keeping up to date with the latest public health information
- Maintaining systems for collecting data about the health of clients
- Creating publications and reports about health improvement information and initiatives
To become a health improvement practitioner, you’ll have a degree in public health, a related subject or equivalent health improvement knowledge from training, extended courses and experience.
As an advanced health improvement practitioner, you’ll help people improve their health by creating and influencing positive change. You’ll also work to reduce health inequalities (the differences in the health of people or groups due to social, geographical, biological or other factors). As an advanced health improvement practitioner, you might also be involved in:
- Planning, delivering and developing specialist services, such as smoking cessation and sexual health
- Communicating important public health messages
- Marketing the health improvement service to relevant groups and communities
- Working closely with other agencies to achieve health improvement aims
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact and outcomes of health improvement programmes and initiatives
As a health improvement specialist, you’ll be in a lead role for a particular area of health improvement. For example, specific services targeted at men, women or young people, or a particular condition such as diabetes or dementia. You might be involved in:
- Working with individuals, groups, communities and organisations to influence and improve population health
- Contributing to the development of local health improvement programmes including how they are monitored and evaluated
- Giving presentations and training on topics like child protection, sexual health and healthy eating
- Providing specialised health improvement advice to support the care and education of individuals, groups and communities
- Training, supervising and managing staff
- Developing publications and reports on public health
As a health improvement specialist, you’ll have a relevant public health degree as well as specific public health improvement knowledge from training, experience or qualifications.
As a health improvement practitioner (advanced), you’ll be the lead specialist for your specific health improvement area. For example, developing a programme that helps reduce falls, strokes, heart attacks and diabetes in older people or a programme that provides specific services in a socially deprived inner-city area.
You’ll identify priorities for health improvement programmes across a range of organisations and community groups, and you’ll develop long-term plans for health improvement. It’s likely you’ll also manage a budget and be involved in all aspects of staff recruitment and management.
Other responsibilities may include:
- Promoting the involvement of the public in the development and evaluation of your public health improvement activities
- Evaluating the effectiveness of your activities by undertaking detailed public health audits and public surveys, and analysing the results
- Using evidence to provide highly specialised advice to organisations and communities
- Communicating information relating to sensitive topics such as child protection and sexual health
For the role, you’ll have highly developed specialist knowledge of public health acquired through a relevant degree, plus a master’s qualification or equivalent training or experience.