In September 2017, the HPPHN hosted a workshop on ‘Integrating Health Psychology with Health Education Training’ at the University of Bedfordshire, Bedford campus. The HPPHN provided a very warm welcome to over forty delegates from numerous backgrounds including academia, health education, public health and the NHS. A key aim of the event was to explore the role of Health Psychology in public health, including health education and training from numerous workshops. The audience encountered an impressive heterogeneous and kaleidoscopic range of health training delivered in the UK, and internationally, along with examples of training in Public Health, the NHS and wider settings.
The event enriched understanding of training by incorporating workshops across diverse populations. The event integrated lively engaging discussions incorporating traditional didactic teaching methods, role plays, group activities and discussions, which perhaps mirrors the vibrancy of Health Psychology contributions to education and training. The event presented many questions and current challenges in the discipline; while also presenting intriguing research activity within public health. The diverse teaching styles perhaps encouraged collaborative working.
Presenters utilised engaging colourful presentations by integrating prose, shapes, pictures and photos, which perhaps enhanced attention and memory. In some talks, applying cartoons to illustrate behavioural change models conveyed creative approaches, converting complex behavioural change models into forms accessible across diverse audiences.
I learnt about research currently being carried out around training and also had opportunities to reflect on training methodologies, new skills and interesting ways of presenting research. I was inspired by the avid commitment and dedication of Health Psychologists to apply high quality research around training across numerous settings into practice.
My workshop highlight was discussions on the challenges associated with interventions integrating mental and physical health, which appealed to my interests in supporting people living with complex multi-morbidities. I was also particularly interested in discussions on Health Psychology work and training opportunities in Scotland, which illustrated fascinating work prioritising health improvement and addressing health inequalities.
After a networking event lunch, all attendees were invited for a guided group walk across impressive sport science and physical activity laboratories at the University of Bedfordshire. This was a simple approach to practising what we encourage the public to do, to improve or maintain their health through cleverly designed interventions and health messages. Many attendees appeared to enjoy the walk, particularly as the September air and mild physical activity perhaps stimulated and revived attendees before closing talks. The HPPHN also hosted an evening ‘networking session’ where all attendees were invited along to meet other colleagues in a relaxed and informal environment.
It has been very refreshing and reassuring to see professional honesty and constructive criticism of the discipline. I was very impressed and inspired by the interesting and diverse people at the HPPHN event and I look forward to learning more and contributing to our fascinating psychology profession.
Dr. Jan Smith, PhD, Trainee Health Psychologist, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Education for Scotland