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Public Health vs. Health Promotion Management

Advancements in science, technology and healthcare have made at least one thing crystal clear, it will take everyone’s best efforts to improve health in communities all over the world.

This far-flung realization has led to a wealth of career opportunities for people who are passionate about health. There are many exciting professional paths that center on the singular goal of better health, opening up a broad variety of options.

Understanding the nuances of public health vs. health promotion management helps prospective practitioners expedite and enhance their professional journey.

 

Defining Public Health vs. Health Promotion Management

Public Health

From the ever-increasing life expectancy to childhood obesity, global pandemics and even the environment, public health is a concept that touches everyone. It’s a hotbed issue that’s deeply ingrained at the political, organizational and personal level.

“Public health systems are commonly defined as ‘all public, private, and voluntary entities that contribute to the delivery of essential public health services within a jurisdiction, ” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes:

  • Public health agencies at state and local levels
  • Healthcare providers
  • Public safety agencies
  • Human service and charity organizations
  • Education and youth development organizations
  • Recreation and arts-related organizations
  • Economic and philanthropic organizations
  • Environmental agencies and organizations

SOURCE: The CDC

Health Promotion Management

Health promotion is the science and art of helping people, organizations, and communities change lifestyle behaviors to move toward a state of improved health, resulting in decreases in chronic disease and health care costs.

University-level health promotion management programs focus on the development of managerial skills with knowledge in subjects such as exercise physiology, human biochemistry, behavioral psychology and nutrition. Students can pursue an emphasis in areas including:

  • Corporate health
  • Health communication
  • Health policy
  • Global health
  • Nutrition education

 

Discovering the Right Career For You

Public Health Career Opportunities

Virtually anyone within the broad spectrum of the health field could reap benefits from a public health degree program.

While a public health degree certainly can prove useful in private sector positions, it’s particularly applicable in the nonprofit, government and medical sectors.

Health Promotion Management Job Opportunities

For students who foresee a career spent leading and educating people and groups to make better, fact-based decisions to improve their quality of life, a health promotion management (HPM) program often is the best choice. At American University in Washington, D.C., HPM alumni are impacting communities locally, nationally and globally at organizations such as:

  • Wellness Corporate Solutions
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Pan American Health Organization
  • Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living
  • Mindfulness Center National
  • WIC Association
  • American Heart Association
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • US Department of Health and Human Services

 

Emphasis on Care vs. Innovation in Education

Addressing Public Danger

The CDC Foundation calls the CDC, “our nation’s premier public health agency.” Most public health degree programs prepare students for careers that are in step with the CDC’s mission: “CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.”

In other words, earning a degree in public health is an important step toward protecting people from a wide variety of health concerns.

Innovative Engagement Through Health Promotion Management

When American University started the first U.S. degree program combining the concepts of health and wellness with the principles of business and management, it put a new spin on public health. HPM students learn about everything from individual decision-making and corporate America to government policy in an effort to promote healthy behaviors and improve quality of life.

Whether serving in a Fortune 500 company’s health and wellness department or as a leading decision-maker at a think-tank, an HPM graduate has the tools to improve health and well-being from the ground up.

 

If you are interested in the multi-sector impact of a degree in Health Promotion Management, learn more about American University’s Master’s in HPM Program.

 

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Healthy Schools Act in DC Gives Grad Students Hands-On Training

In some communities, 100 percent of a grad student’s research is done online. But in a metro area—especially Washington, DC—much of that research can be gathered, observed, and analyzed in the field, where firsthand experience with the “real world” can teach us valuable lessons.

For five years, students in American University’s MS in health promotion management program have helped measure fruit and vegetable consumption for the local Healthy Schools Act, a 2010 directive requiring the availability of healthier foods in DC school cafeterias.

The program also features courses that empower students to visit Capitol Hill and chat with congressional leaders about vital health issues. “Health policy is so important and totally interesting, and it’s happening right here,” said Hannah Hutton, a master’s student in the program.

Watch the video to learn more about how hands-on work in the field of health promotion management is helping master’s students create generational change.

To learn more about what students and professionals are saying about the MS in health promotion management program at American University, click here.

Health promotion at American University

Master’s Students Unify Around Art, Science, and Passion to Promote Health

No university program should use long history and rich tradition as an excuse to settle for the status quo. American University has the oldest master’s in health promotion management program in the U.S. — but also some of the most advantageous, hands-on education activities anywhere.

Some students have been able to dive into data collection for Washington DC’s Healthy Schools Act, many have found exceptional internships, and other take advantage of nearby access to U.S. congressional leaders.

Opportunities such as these draw students from various undergraduate backgrounds — ranging from public health and exercise science to English and history. Together, their tactics and professionals aspirations may differ, but they’re unified around an important goal: for people throughout the world to experience healthier lives through better decisions and instrumental policies.

“We need to go further upstream to help people prevent these kinds of chronic conditions that we see in today’s society,” said Anastasia Snelling, chair of AU’s Department of Health Studies.

Watch the video to hear students talk about the unique benefits of seeking a master’s degree in health promotion management in Washington DC.

To learn more about what students and professionals are saying about the MS in health promotion management program at American University, click here.

Health facilities

AhealthyU: How Health and Wellness Programs Make a Positive Impact on Campus

AhealthyU, American University’s faculty and staff wellness program, is celebrating its 10th year. While its scope and goals have grown, the program’s inception was driven by both necessity and a deep desire to see its team flourish.

“We discovered that many of our faculty and staff were being treated for health conditions that could lead to heart disease and other serious illnesses,” said Andie Rowe, director of employee wellness and work-life at AU.

The university implemented AhealthyU to improve employee medical conditions and better manage ballooning healthcare costs. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, which is consistent with the trend toward proactive health that is gaining ground in offices, campuses, and schools throughout the world.

For organizations, the effects include happier, healthier, more productive faculty and staff and reduced healthcare expenditures. For individuals, it simply means a better life.

“Programs like AhealthyU are important because they provide opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in healthy activities, learn about important health issues, and understand that their employer is interested in their overall well-being,” Rowe said.

What makes a good wellness program?

Much of AhealthyU’s success—about 500 people are participating—revolves around convenience. By offering many types of activities appealing to a wide variety of interests at convenient times and locations, AU makes it simple to get plugged in. The most popular opportunities include:

  • Fitness classes (on and off site)
  • Brown bag wellness workshops
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Pedometer and weight challenges.

What makes the program such a success?

As is the case in most successful wellness programs, buy-in for AhealthyU is consistent throughout the organization, said Leah Tasman, wellness program manager at AU. Leaders from HR, administration, and a wellness council composed of faculty and staff provide support and feedback, which helps drive future decisions about AhealthyU.

Incentives are a driving factor, too. Motivators for AhealthyU activities include:

  • A $50 incentive for participating in a health assessment survey
  • A monetary reward for winning a team challenge
  • Cool fitness-related items such as wicking T-shirts or yoga mats, earned by achieving predetermined goals.

Do students have a role?

For students working toward an MS in Health Promotion Management (HPM), AhealthyU is a valuable asset. The program employs a part-time graduate assistant and draws support from many other HPM students through class projects. In fact, Tasman herself served as a graduate assistant with AhealthyU while earning her own HPM master’s degree.

“It’s important to get HPM students involved because it exposes them to real-world worksite health promotion and helps to re-enforce what they’re learning in class,” she said.

 

To learn more about AhealthyU and the MS in Health Promotion Management at American University, visit the program webpage or follow along in Facebook.