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Improving People's Health (Health Improvement)

People working in health improvement or promotion have a range of responsibilities, from designing programmes that will improve health and wellbeing in communities (e.g. local media campaigns to encourage safe sex), to delivering one-to-one support for individuals to change their behaviour (e.g. stopping smoking). There are many different kinds of roles that take on these responsibilities and a few are given here to provide an example of the range.




Example Roles Responsibilities
Community Health Improvement Practitioner Community Health Improvement Practitioners are responsible for developing and delivering a range of health improvement programmes within the community with an overall objective of encouraging people to think holistically about their health and wellbeing. They may be recruited to work in specific areas of health improvement, such as smoking cessation or weight reduction programmes. They work directly with individuals and groups within defined communities to educate and influence people on areas where they can improve their own health.
Health Promotion Specialist A health promotion specialist helps people to improve and increase control over their health. They plan, ensure implementation of, and evaluate policies and strategies to promote health within a specialist setting, relating to a specific issue, or within a particular population. They are closely involved with delivering the prevention and promotion aspects of national service frameworks and plans, and the development of community strategies, local strategic partnerships, and health alliances. They work to ensure effective practice is achieved by building capacity, supporting and enabling a range of agencies to deliver health improvement programmes. They are committed to tackling inequalities in health and promoting anti-discriminatory practice. Typically, health promotion specialists may work in a particular setting, such as workplaces, schools or prisons, or with a particular issue, such as drugs, healthy eating or tobacco control. They may also work with specific populations such as young men, the elderly or people with disabilities.
Health Trainer

The health trainer role was created by the Department of Health, England as a key health improvement role working with local communities. Health trainers work mainly in the NHS. This role is at level 4 of the Public Health Skills and Career Framework. Health trainers help people develop healthier lifestyles in their local communities. They offer practical support to change behaviour and achieve choices and goals. The exact role depends upon the needs of the community in which they work, but typically would involve encouraging people to stop smoking,
participate in increased physical activity, eat more healthily, drink sensibly and practise safe sex. Health trainers need to be able to work with existing community groups and to be involved in supporting new groups. This might involve networking with other agencies and organisations. Health Trainers may be assisted in their work by community members that have been trained to be Health Trainer Champions.

Health Visitor A health visitor is a qualified and registered nurse or midwife who is specially trained to assess the health needs of individuals, families and the wider community. They aim to promote good health and prevent illness in the community by offering practical help and advice. The role involves visiting people in their homes, in particular new parents and children under five, as well as working with other sections of the community. Working as a health visitor may also include tackling the impact of social inequality on health, and working closely with at-risk or deprived groups.
Senior Health Improvement Manager The emphasis of this post is on the need to take a strategic overview of health improvement needs, the ability to assess and evaluate appropriate evidence, the ability to work with and influence key partners and the ability to make health improvement interventions happen. Senior health improvement managers may have generic functions and/or provide specialist inputs into areas such as behaviour change, commissioning sexual or mental health services and promoting healthier lifestyles. Programme and project management are a critical function of the health improvement team, with increasing emphasis on the market development needed to take forward this strategic agenda.
Teenage Pregnancy Coordinator Teenage Pregnancy Coordinators are responsible for delivering the targets defined in their local Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. As such, this role positively engages with local stakeholders in the development and delivery of projects and activities particularly within the context of Sex and Relationships Education in schools and community settings. Coordinators also contribute to the development and local implementation of the Teenage Pregnancy annual work plan.

If you would like to see more roles in this area, do a role search or a career story search in Improving people's health.

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