Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an essential element of all disciplines working within public health. However, the plethora of conferences, workshops, webinars, events, training etc., though rich and diverse in their content, require a framework that provides cohesion.
The roles of those working within the field of health psychology and public health, are diverse and varied; academic researcher, consultant in public health, health economist, health promotion/health improvement officer, health psychologist, health trainer, public health analyst, health education, public health nurse, to name but a few, but all working towards a shared goal of improving the health of the public. With this in mind, the skill-set required of the varied roles and positons we fill is diverse and far-reaching.
It could be said that health psychology provides the evidence base for effective public health interventions and health promotions, however in its current form, collaboration between health psychology and public health is amorphous. This does not negate the benefits of current joint working, and this is not an implication that there is a divide between health psychology and public health. There is certainly no lack of experience, expertise, qualifications, specialism, passion, enthusiasm and drive; but what there is, is a lack of meta-knowledge i.e. of the skills that exist between us. How do we know what each other knows? And how do we know what each other doesn’t know? How do we fill in the gaps of what we don’t know? How do we pool our skills towards a shared goal and compliment what each other doesn’t know? And how do we share in this meta-knowledge of those we work and collaborate with?
The HPPHN believes that one way toward creating a more robust, collaborative and effective working relationship, is under the umbrella of CPD within our community of practice. HPPHN is ideally suited to positioning itself as the “network”, the web that connects the different disciplines, signposts relevant activities, workshops, conferences and courses, shares good practice, and collaborates with all professionals working in public health.
The HPPHN is striving to provide a framework for CPD that ensures cohesion, keeps its’ members up to date with events, providing links and information regardless of provider, in a user-friendly format. By collating all CPD events and activities in one place, all professionals working across behavioural science and public health are provided with a point of reference, ensuring they don’t miss anything, whilst exposing professionals from different disciplines, to a wealth of knowledge and opportunity, that they may previously have been unaware of.
How do we achieve this? If we consider the CPD activities aligned with the 5 competencies that make up the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology, this provides a user-friendly format which includes the plethora of essential skills for healthcare professionals working in public health.
We have produced the following CPD Chart, that we envisage to be presented on the website in this format, that would provide hyperlinks to each activity, and take the service user directly to their chosen page.
The aim of the HPPHN is to be the linchpin for CPD activities, to work together for a common goal, improving population health. This structured approach, provides a framework and sense of cohesion, bringing professionals together in one place, and by doing so, creating a structure that allows public health and health psychology to create a symbiotic, scientist-practitioner relationship.
If you have any suggestions, comments, improvements, brainwaves…please get in touch and share your ideas to make this a truly collaborative project.
Tiffany Palmer, MBPsS, Health Psychologist in Training, London Metropolitan University