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Job Sheet: Public Health - Health Promotion

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Job title: Public Health: Health Promotion

Job description:

Health promoters are part of the public health workforce. Public health is about the prevention of ill-health, the promotion of well-being and the protection of our environment to preserve health. Public health is about programmes and initiatives for communities and populations of people. 

Health promoters plan, implement and evaluation activities that promote health and wellbeing in communities. Health promotion is about supporting people to increase control over the factors that influence their health and wellbeing. It is directed at the underlying as well as the immediate causes of ill health.

Most health promoters work on one or two key issues (such as nutrition, tobacco control, violence prevention). They may work in settings such as schools or marae, and may focus on a particular group, such as children, women or youth.

Health promoters use strategies that are based on evidence to achieve change.

Examples of activities health promoters might do:
- Build an alliance of people to work on child obesity;
- Prepare advice to a territorial local authority on the blood alcohol limit for drivers;
- Develop a mental health programme for youth;
- Run a campaign on sun safety;
- Work with a primary healthcare organisation to plan and deliver health; promotion/public health programmes.

Qualifications required:

Most health promotion positions require either a specific health promotion qualification or a tertiary qualification in a related area such as social sciences. Health promoters need a wide range of skills, for example, good communication and people skills. Once in a health promotion position, ongoing learning will be required.

Training costs:

Once in a health promotion position, it is likely you will be expected to do training or further training.  An employer will usually assist with course costs and allow time to attend priority courses. Course related reading and "homework" is likely to be done in your time. 

There are a range of scholarships available to support ongoing health promotion learning. See

Location of job:

Health promoters work in a wide range of organisations all over New Zealand:
- Public health units of district health boards and primary health organisations
- Iwi and other Maori providers
- Non-government organisations like the Heart Foundation, Cancer Society, Mental Health Foundation
- Local and regional government

Career path:

Health promoter - senior health promoter - manager.

Salary range:

Salaries vary depending on where you work and the seniority of your role. The spectrum may be from around $30,000 to $55,000 per annum.

Other careers this profession could lead to:

Health promotion to senior health promoter.

With additional study and accumulated experience, you may also find opportunities as a:
- public health programme co-ordinator
- researcher
- policy analyst
- manager
- health protection officer
- public health nurse, or
- other public health careers

Tips on how to increase the chances of successfully entering this industry:

Do volunteer work in your community, complete a social science degree or the Diploma in Health Promotion at MIT, learn about different cultures and languages, and understand how the "social determinants of health" impact on people's wellbeing.

Places/websites to source information about this job: