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More About Health Promotion

What is Health Promotion?
Studying Health Promotion
Working in Health Promotion
Useful Links

What is Health Promotion?

One of the most widely accepted definitions of Health Promotion is given in the Ottawa Charter for Health. The Charter was presented at the first International Conference on Health Promotion held in Ottawa in November 1986 and it states:

"Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health."

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization in 1948, is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

As stated in the Ottawa Charter, a health promotion approach views health as a resource for everyday life, with fundamental requirements. These requirements include peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable eco-system, sustainable resources, social justice and equity.

There are five key strategies in the promotion of optimal health, as laid out in the Ottawa Charter for Health. These are building healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills and reorienting health services.

Health promotion initiatives focus on assisting communities or populations to gain greater control over their environment and the conditions that affect their lives, and are designed to include these groups in the strategies for change. The goal of health promotion is to empower individuals and communities to achieve the highest possible levels of well-being available to them.

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Studying Health Promotion

Most entry level Health Promotion positions require an undergraduate or graduate degree in health promotion, health sciences or social sciences from a recognized university. Below is a list of post-secondary institutions offering programs in the area of health promotion.

Undergraduate Programs

Brock University
BA in Community Health

Dalhousie University
BSc in Health Promotion, School of Health and Human Performance

First Nations Technical Institute
Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program Enionkwatakariteke

Laurentian University
BPHE in Health Promotion

University of Waterloo
Bachelor of Health Science Degree offers a specialization in Health Promotion

University of Western Ontario
BHSc with a Specialization in Health Promotion, Faculty of Health Sciences

Graduate Programs

Athabasca University (distance education)
Masters of Health Studies, Centre for Nursing and Health Studies

Centennial College
Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion (32 week post-graduate program)

Dalhousie University
MSc in Community Health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine
MA in Health Promotion

Memorial University of Newfoundland
Graduate Diploma in Community Health, Faculty of Medicine
MSc in Community Health, Faculty of Medicine

Queen's University
MA in Community Health and Epidemiology, School of Medicine

University of Alberta
MSc and Diploma in Health Promotion, Centre for Health Promotion Studies

Universite Laval
MSc and PhD in Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine
MSc and PhD in Community Health, Faculty of Medicine

University of Manitoba
MSc and PhD in Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

University of Northern British Columbia
MSc in Community Health Sciences, School of Graduate Studies

University of Saskatchewan
MSc in Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Graduate Studies and Research

University of Toronto
MHSc in Health Promotion, Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
PhD in Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

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Working in Health Promotion

Health promotion practitioners work in a variety of settings which include public health offices, community health centres, provincial resource centres, and hospitals. Positions are also available within the private sector in promoting health in the workplace. Additionally, health promotion professionals work in project planning, workshop facilitation, community development, and policy development.

The following are links to sites that have information on career opportunities in health promotion, or related fields, within Canada.

Charity Village advertises positions available within the not-for-profit sector, including positions in the area of health care and health promotion. New jobs are posted every business day.

Community Health Promotion Network Atlantic has an employment section online for Health Promotion jobs available in the Atlantic region.

Health in Action (Alberta Clearinghouse) provides a list of positions available in Alberta in the area of health promotion.

Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin (OHPE) is an excellent resource for positions in health promotion. The OHPE produced by the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse and The Health Communication Unit at the Centre for Health Promotion.

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Useful Links

Canadian Consortium on Health Promotion Research

Canadian Health Network

Canadian Institute for Child Health

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Canadian Public Health Association

Canadian Society for International Health

Health Canada

International Union for Health Promotion and Education

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse

Ontario Public Health Association

Ontario's Health Promotion Resource System

Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion

Pan-American Health Organization

World Health Organization

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Last Updated: 26-Oct-2007

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