Investment Needed to Support Health Promotion Professionals

Monday, 16 June 2008

A leading Irish health promotion expert has today called for a significant investment in the training and education of health promotion practitioners, and other health workers. Professor Margaret Barry, Director of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, was speaking at the opening of the first Consensus Meeting of international leaders from health promotion and population health, which takes place this week at NUI Galway. Professor Barry said, "Health promotion is a complex and challenging field. We need to make sure our professionals have the required competencies and skills to address complex health issues within rapidly changing social and political contexts. Government investment, international co-operation and consensus will be required to improve population health worldwide." The meeting's focus is the development of professional standards and accreditation for health promotion professionals globally. Participants include representatives from the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE); the Society for Public Health Education, (SOPHE), USA; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA; American Association for Health Education; Council on Education for Public Health, USA; National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, USA; and the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, UK. The outcome of the Consensus Meeting will be discussed at the 12th annual Health Promotion Conference which takes place later this week at NUI Galway, from 19-20 June 2008. The event, entitled "Capacity Building for the Future: Health Promotion Competencies and Professional Standards", will be opened by Minister Mary Wallace T.D., Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety. Speaking about the upcoming conference, Professor Barry said, "Capacity building to support the development and implementation of policy and best practice is key to the future growth and development of health promotion globally and nationally. Workforce development is critical to building capacity for the effective improvement of population health." Speakers at the conference include Professor David McQueen (CDC & IUHPE President), who will highlight the sense of urgency in the need for global capacity building for health promotion and Professor Maurice Mittelmark (University of Bergen & IUHPE Vice President for Communications), who will consider what we have and what we lack in infrastructural supports for the development of health promotion. Professor Margaret Barry, NUI Galway, is also presenting at the conference. The event will provide a unique opportunity for delegates to discuss and debate how the ideas from the consensus report can be used to strengthen health promotion practice and training in Ireland. Participants will include practitioners, managers, policy makers, academics and researchers from the fields of health promotion and population health.
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