What does a Health Promotion Specialist do?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

A health promotion specialist is a somewhat amorphous job that might entail working directly with specific clients or might involve developing community-wide health initiatives. In some cases, a health promotion specialist might be hired to work on a national level developing programs for an entire country. Usually, training for this position involves a degree in public health or a related field. The actual job duties depend on the position and its scale, but it is reasonable to expect that planning and offering health advice will be major components of all health promotion specialist positions.

In many cases, a health promotion specialist may be hired to work with a specific group of people offering individual advice. Usually, a target group is involved, which may be defined by culture or self-identification. The health promotion specialist typically is in charge of designing programs to promote health among these communities, which usually includes drawing them to the program and providing ways in which health can be improved.

On a community level, a health promotion specialist might be involved in improving a city or state's overall health. Plans that could be designed might target smoking, poor nutrition, or lack of exercise, or they might address a specific and unique health problem in the community. In areas where diabetes is a common problem, for example, the specialist might work to prevent new cases from developing and to change social eating habits.

Nationally, health promotion specialists must typically have the ability to implement programs on an extremely large scale. An understanding of sociology or statistics is very helpful in this task, although these disciplines are usually covered in public health degree programs. The actual duties of a specialist working on the national scale may not be any different from one working on the city or state level, but the level of prestige associated with the position and its responsibilities is often much greater.

The actual day-to-day work involved as a health promotion specialist usually includes more than just planning and thinking about health initiatives. Compiling reports, filing, and other office work are all common job duties for this type of professional. Managing multiple programs, working with the media, and making presentations can also constitute major parts of this job. In some cases, lower level employees can be assigned the majority of this type of work, but this depends on the company or institution. It is, therefore, a good idea to look at the job description in order to get a better idea of what the expectations will be.

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