I’ve been talking about Graduation for what seems like months now. What I hardly talk about, however, is what I’m actually graduating in.
I bet if I polled all my readers right this second, only my Mother would know. My own Father even forgets half the time (Hi Dad!) lol. So I thought with graduation looming (can it be Saturday already?) this would be the perfect time to clear a few things up.
I’m getting my Master’s in Kinesiology and Health Promotion
So what is Health Promotion anyway?
I’m glad you asked. This was actually one of my exit exam questions so I’ve got the perfect elevator pitch about it….it goes as follows:
“Health Promotion is an all-encompassing approach to improving the health of individuals, groups, and communities through a variety of strategies including health education, policy change, advocating, collaboration, serving as a resource, improving environment, access to care, health literacy, and a number of others.”
Sounds pretty good right? But that’s still kind of a confusing definition for some, so let me elaborate a bit more.
“Health Promotion is about empowering individuals, groups, and communities to take control of their health and make healthy decisions and for healthy habits to improve all spheres of their wellness including physical, mental/intellectual, spiritual, social, environmental, and emotional wellness.”
Let me give you a few guidelines as well. Healthy People 2020 is a science-based set of goals built around improving the health of the nation. It launched in 2010 with a decade long agenda for accomplishing just that. It’s mission is to create a “society in which all people live long, healthy lives.”
It’s four Overarching Goals include:
- Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death
- Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups (race, gender, age, etc)
- Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all
- Promote quality of life, healthy development, and health behaviors across all life stages
Ok great. thanks for the mumbo-jumbo, we get it, make people healthy. But it goes to such a deeper level then just telling people to eat their vegetables and exercise more.
Health Promotion also takes into account cultural competence. We take cues from environmental and social structures and build a plan around them. For example, telling someone to go to a Framer’s Market for the food, when there’s none within walking distance and they have no access to a car is kinda pointless and doesn’t help them at all. You have to look at their resources available and work from there. That goes for any health behavior and in any setting.
I personally am more interested in stress management and how that manifests itself into self-care. Aka what nourishes their soul. My ideal job would incorporate personal training, health coaching, nutrition education, and stress management activities. Basically anything that improves self-care and I get to work with people is my dream job.
Where do Health Promotion Specialists work?
There’s many settings in which a Health Promotion Specialist might work. Short answer? Anywhere. Longer list of answers; a school, a University (where I am now), a business or corporation, a non-profit, a government agency, health clinics, hospitals, wellness centers, gyms, etc. Like I said, really anywhere.
My Dad works as an engineer and they have an outside vendor come in to do their Biometric Screenings and follow-up visits. I interned for a private consulting firm in Boston this past summer and their clients came from all the surrounding offices in the South End with Real Estate Firms being their biggest population.
Of course non-profit agencies make a huge chunk of who works in the community wellness sector. This was never really my interest so I won’t pretend to know much about it, other than this group includes Planned Parenthood and Government and State health clinics.
So there ya have it folks, the basic 411 on Health Promotion. Now it’s your turn to ask any questions below in the comments. Or you can always shoot me an email. I never shut-up about this stuff in real life 😀
Got any questions?