Health Promotion Careers

The health promotion sector is very varied, with a wide range of careers and roles. In Ireland, Health Promotion practitioners work in a variety of settings, including the HSE, non-governmental and community organisations, in research and academia. Health Promotion practitioners work on policy development, planning and delivery of health promotion programmes and training, building health promoting partnerships, and working to reduce health inequalities. Read more for more information on health promotion careers/training.

Meet Dr Ailsa Lyons who is Head of Department, Preventive Medicine and Health Promotion in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin. Here Ailsa share’s her health promotion journey.

Ailsa Careers

What inspired you towards a career in health promotion?

It was whilst I was working as a nurse that I became interested in prevention, behaviour change, and health promotion. Many of the patients I would see each day may not have required hospitalisation or surgery had they received health promotion interventions and preventive health information and advice earlier. Studying Health Promotion and Psychology at graduate level was the obvious next step.

We are starting off 2019 with our latest health promotion profile from Cáit Donnelly who is a Health & Wellbeing Coordinator at Special Olympics Ireland


What inspired you towards a career in health promotion?

I have always had an interested in the human body, nutrition and health, and I am passionate sportsperson so the undergraduate course in Health Science & Physiology in Sligo I.T. was a perfect fit. This was a great foundation and it’s where I first learned about Health Promotion and the possibility of a career in this area. I continued studying in Sligo I.T. and completed the add-on Honours Degree in Public Health and Health Promotion. I was lucky enough to start working in Health Promotion straight away and started as a Health Promotion Assistant in Diabetes Ireland. It was here I got the opportunity to put my Degree into practice and really experience working in Health Promotion.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

I currently work with Special Olympics Ireland as the National lead for Health & Wellbeing programmes and initiatives. This is a role I really enjoy, I get to combine my interest and educational background in health & wellbeing with my passion for sport.

In our latest AHPI careers profile, meet the inspirational Rosemary Scott who works as a Health Promotion Officer with the HSE  

rosemary scott picWhat inspired you towards a career in health promotion?

My career has taken a ‘long and windy road’. At its core is a passion for empowering people to live a healthy and meaningful life - whether during my time as a nurse, a complimentary therapist or indeed a horticulturist. In the 90’s I worked as the first Smoking Cessation Officer in Beaumont Hospital. At the time smoking was still permitted on campus. It was then that I appreciated the need to look beyond the individual to the factors that influence choices people made in relation to their health and wellbeing.   Studying health promotion in NUI Galway was the obvious next step. I have never regretted going down that road!

Meet Marita who is currently undertaking a PhD in Health Promotion 2017 08 11 1807

What inspired you towards a career in health promotion?

I graduated with a degree in Nutritional Sciences from UCC in 2001. Our final year module on public health nutrition really struck a chord with me; up until then we had very much been focused on more basic science areas. While I initially toyed with the idea of undertaking a Masters in Health Promotion at NUI Galway, I found myself accepting an offer of a place on a graduate recruitment programme in the food industry. To be honest, I felt I needed to start working, and earning! After four years in this sector, I knew it wasn’t for me (though, on reflection, the insider experience was invaluable) and I set out on my health promotion path. I started working with safefood, and during that time I did a part-time Masters in Health Promotion at the University of Limerick. It was life-changing. Learning more about the social determinants of health and health inequalities, I knew that I had found my tribe. I have several contract research posts over my career; after safefood, I worked in the National Children’s Research Centre in Trinity, the National Cancer Registry, and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). While the projects I have worked on have been quite different in their focus, e.g. the nutrition needs of young people in alternative education and training, and men’s experiences of prostate cancer care, I have always loved research, and translating this into policy and practice to make a meaningful difference – or at least trying to anyway! My last job before starting the PhD was as a Research Officer for National Funding In WIT. I loved the role, and interacting with staff and students with really varied and exiting research interests, but I missed doing actual research so I got my act together and applied for a full-time PhD on the SPHeRE Programme. Thankfully I was successful!

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