Health Promotion Workforce
This virtual issue of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia addresses the vital matter of the health promotion workforce. Eleven papers highlight the importance of workforce capacity in the effective delivery of health promotion. Australia has demonstrated international leadership in recognising and progressing the health promotion workforce through pioneering health promotion competency development, national conferences, the building of courses, capacity and training to support health promotion and, of course, the opportunity to publish - afforded by this journal.
Australia was an early innovator in the development and articulation of health promotion competencies, and the Australian work has been influential in mobilising global consensus. Consensus on competencies, in turn, provided an essential precursor to accreditation and registration in the health promotion profession. This virtual issue is timely as it coincides with the launch of the accreditation of health promotion practitioners in Australia in April 2017.
However, a failing and therefore fundamental challenge for health promotion in Australia, is lack of progress in reorientation of the systems that support or hinder health promotion, as well as lack of policy action to build and strengthen health promotion institutions and career structures.
In the coming years, there are fundamental opportunities for advancing health promotion afforded by a global focus on sustainable development and noncommunicable diseases, and recognition within these of the importance of prevention, community engagement, health literacy, equity and health promoting settings. These are not new themes for health promotion but our challenge is to seize the current opportunity. More than ever a skilled and agile health promotion workforce is a necessity to realise this potential. The health promotion workforce of the future must be better equipped to articulate and advocate around the links and co-benefits of health promotion in areas such as climate, healthy cities, equity, cross-sector action and the sustainable development agenda.
Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton is Director of Cardiovascular Health with the National Heart Foundation (WA) and was the founding National President of the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA). He is a Life Member of AHPA. Watch him discuss the importance of this virtual issue: https://vimeo.com/215767758.