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Health promotion specialist: Job description

Health promotion specialists, sometimes called health education specialists, help people to improve their health and increase their control over it.

Roles may vary from giving face-to-face advice to individuals to producing strategic policies for health promotion. They may set up schemes promoting a healthy lifestyle, run campaigns and implement government initiatives relating to public health.

Health promotion specialists work in a wide range of settings, including:

  • hospitals;
  • schools;
  • prisons;
  • workplaces;
  • neighbourhoods;
  • cultural communities.

They educate on a number of different health-related issues, such as:

  • drug misuse;
  • the dangers of smoking;
  • excessive alcohol consumption;
  • healthy eating;
  • sexual health.

Their work may be focused on a specific section of the community, such as elderly or disabled people or an ethnic minority group.

Many health promotion specialists work at a local level, but others have more strategic roles with national organisations.

Typical work activities

Due to the diverse nature of the job there is no standard role, but typical activities may include:

  • developing policies and strategies for promoting health at local, regional or national level;
  • planning, developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating projects to promote health improvement;
  • facilitating and supporting a wide range of statutory, voluntary, charitable and commercial organisations in their delivery of health promotion activities;
  • developing the health awareness of individuals, groups and organisations and empowering them to make healthy choices;
  • leading, supporting, or cooperating in multi-agency projects to promote a healthy context or social environment;
  • running training courses and workshops in areas such as mental health, accident prevention, cancers and heart disease;
  • developing and supporting local partnerships to broaden the local response to health inequalities;
  • identifying training needs arising from strategic and local agendas and developing and delivering appropriate training for people such as health professionals and volunteers;
  • providing specialist advice and resources to other agencies, such as schools and local communities;
  • ensuring that work is underpinned by sound, up-to-date knowledge of health promotion theory and making sure that projects are based on evidence of effectiveness;
  • lobbying for increased recognition of preventative and promotional measures that can take place at a population level and which have a positive impact on the health of a community;
  • writing and producing leaflets, posters, videos and brochures to aid health promotion in different environments.

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Written by AGCAS editors
June 2014

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