HEALTH PROMOTION A FUTURE IN PROMOTION

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1 HEALTH PROMOTION A FUTURE IN HEALTH PROMOTION

2 WHAT IS HEALTH PROMOTION? Health promoters advocate for people s rights to good health, social equity, health equality and social justice at an individual, community or national level. The focus of health promotion is to empower people and communities to take control of their health and wellbeing, according to the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand: Runanga Whakapiki Ake i te Hauora o Aotearoa. Health promotion covers diverse health and wellbeing areas, including: youth and community development industry wellness and lifestyle safe-sex campaigns in schools road safety and injury prevention mental health promotion housing advocacy around tobacco control immunisation quality of life for the elderly If you are articulate, empathetic, enjoy interacting with others, have a passion to work with your community and a strong belief in social justice, health and wellbeing, then health promotion could be a great career for you.

3 OUTLOOK AND TRENDS There is increasing acceptance that health and wellbeing are about more than physical healthcare. Growing inequities, unhealthy behaviours, social conditions, housing, and rising costs of food and care also impact on health. Health promotion was highlighted in 2014 by the Ministry of Health as one of the five core functions for public health. Community-based health promotion initiatives are becoming more common, such as Let s Beat Diabetes, Healthy Heart and Kids Can. Healthy Families New Zealand is another new initiative and smoking cessation programmes are also on the increase. An increase in government health initiatives of programmes to improve health and wellbeing for Māori and Pacific peoples has created demand for Māori and Pasifika health promoters. There is also an increasing need for Asian health promoters and health initiatives to support our growing Asian population. Health promotion, with its focus on strengthening communities, is well placed to initiate wellbeing programmes with our ageing population and people with dementia. The biomedical model of health does not view health promotion as a discipline and this is the subject of ongoing debate within the health sector (Health Promotion Settings, an Opportunity to Improve Health, Health Promotion Forum 2014). Collaborative initiatives however, are core to health promotion. A trend across the health sector - indeed across all sectors - to professionalise the workforce means employers are looking to employ tertiary qualified staff when funding permits. Many roles do not have a health promoter title; instead they are public health advisors, population health advisors, health improvement officers, community development workers etc. Graduates with tertiary qualifications in related fields such as child health, youth work, community housing, nutrition or psychology also enter these roles. The political climate of the day impacts on the existence and consistency of health promotion programmes which are often government funded. Health promoters need to be mindful of this. Advocacy of the role of health promotion and health promotion programmes is an ongoing part of any health promotion role. WORK SETTINGS Health promoters work with communities, schools, public health and primary health agencies, local and regional governments. They often work across agencies to help people or communities improve their health and wellbeing, particularly minority and/or marginal communities. Non-governmental organisations Includes organisations such as the Heart Foundation, Cancer Society, Problem Gambling Foundation and Asian Health Services. Health promoters usually work alone or within teams supporting frontline workers as well as the marketing and communications team. Whanau Ora Employ health promoters as part of their focus on whanau support and activities, bringing multiple government agencies together to work with families. Iwi and other Māori providers such as Māori trusts, like Ka Mau Te Wero Community Development project in Tamaki, also employ health promoters. High schools Schools bring in health promoters from non-governmental and public health organisations to run health education. They usually work alongside school counselling and health teams to run workshops, camps etc to raise awareness of health issues. Public health Includes district health boards, primary health organisations and agencies, such as Family Planning New Zealand, Mental Health Foundation and Auckland Regional Public Health Services. Health promoters work in multidisciplinary teams alongside health professionals, (e.g. nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists). May also work with the communications arm.

4 CAREER ROLE EXAMPLES Graduates usually enter health promotion support roles. With experience they move into senior health promotion roles and management positions. There is considerable scope for specialising in areas of interest, such as mental health, reducing health inequalities, tobacco control and sex education. Health promoter sets up and coordinates health promotion programmes, advocates and lobbies for health promotion causes, works alongside schools and community groups to help identify health issues and solutions and may also develop and manage health promotion programmes, doing research, writing submissions, managing and evaluating reports. Source: Careers NZ Smokefree health promotion coordinator leads, manages and coordinates smokefree initiatives in primary care and community settings. Will be philosophically aligned to the Smokefree/Tobacco Free policy and committed to the vision of Smokefree Aotearoa There is usually at least one smokefree position in every DHB. Mental health promoter involves researching and making submissions to government on policies that influence mental wellbeing, working with communities to integrate wellbeing messages into policies, developing events and promoting mental wellbeing programmes to organisations, e.g. Pink Shirt Day. SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE Health promotion is a purposeful and challenging career requiring in-depth knowledge of programmes, funding and health issues, good management skills and a passion for health and wellbeing. Health promoter s skills include: The ability to establish strong networks in the community and lead groups An understanding of the social, cultural, economic and political factors influencing health in New Zealand and beyond The ability to develop, research, plan, implement and evaluate accessible and appropriate health promotion materials and programmes Excellent facilitation and negotiation skills Strong effective communication to groups in varied settings using culturally appropriate methods and techniques Advocacy on behalf of individuals, communities and/or organisations to improve health and wellbeing and build capacity for health promotion action. The ability to work collaboratively across disciplines, sectors and partners Good understanding of indigenous philosophies and models of health relevant to New Zealand s diverse society PERSONAL QUALITIES Versatile, resourceful, articulate, creative and capable of making a difference Respectful and ethical with integrity and respect for people s rights Strong communicator, written and verbal A team player and collaborator, outcome-focused, a leader and advocate Strongly committed to Te Tiriti O Waitangi and promoting indigenous and Pasifika models of health SALARY GUIDE Pay varies depending on qualifications, experience, employer and workplace. Health promoters without qualifications, working in entry-level positions, start on approximately $30,000 pa. Health promoters with relevant degrees Salary (per year) $40,500 - $65,000 Senior health promoters $65,000 - $95,000 Source: Careers NZ/District Health Boards/PSA, Allied, Public Health and Technical: Multi Employer Collective Agreement 28 October 2011 to 30 April Salary range is indicative of the New Zealand job market at the time of publication and should only be used as a guideline. THE AUT ADVANTAGE Only university degree in health promotion in New Zealand. AUT graduates can get short-term appointments with international NGOs in South East Asia, South Asia and Pacific nations through AUT s Department of Public Health research contacts. FURTHER STUDY OPTIONS Further study is available in health sciences and health promotion at postgraduate certificate, diploma, master s and PhD level. This includes a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health, Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health and a Master in Public Health. Research areas include improving immunisation uptake, investigating why adolescent blood donors are at risk of HIV and improving water quality in Marae in rural areas. PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION There is no registration process for health promoters. However a European wide accreditation project is underway so registration may become essential in the future.

5 Elizabeth Bourke Support Worker, Intensive Residential Rehabilitation, Affinity Services Bachelor of Health Science in Health Promotion Affinity Services provide community mental health services to clients across Auckland; supporting them with their recovery goals and their right to exercise their autonomy. As a residential support worker at Affinity Services I support our tangata whaiora (people seeking wellness) to have a healthy lifestyle through engagement with their community, building their capacity, strengthening their relationships with others, lifting their spirits, celebrating diversity and helping give them more control over their life. No day is the same; whether it is supporting someone while cooking or listening to them share their life experience. It is really rewarding to give purpose for our tangata whaoira in mental health to help heal the soul. EMPLOYER COMMENT A qualification in health promotion, mental health, drug and alcohol addictions, psychology or social work is extremely helpful for gaining a sound understanding of what is involved in a mental health setting and how to best support our tangata whaoira. Elizabeth had invaluable experience from her student work placement and her lived experience with a family member who has a mental illness. These experiences, along with Elizabeth s natural leadership skills and health promotion degree, allow her to easily empathise and support our clients. Torise Aati Service Manager: Intensive Residential Rehabilitation/Affinity Services

6 HEALTH PROMOTION USEFUL WEBSITES Health Promotion Agency Ministry of Health Hauora Public Health Workforce Health Careers For the most up-to-date information on health promotion study, visit our website: You can also contact the AUT Student Centre team for help and advice: 0800 AUT UNI ( ) CITY CAMPUS 55 Wellesley Street East, Auckland Central NORTH CAMPUS 90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote, Auckland SOUTH CAMPUS 640 Great South Road, Manukau, Auckland AUT MILLENNIUM 17 Antares Place, Mairangi Bay, Auckland Connect with us now: The information contained in this career sheet was correct at time of print, March 2015.

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