263.1 Professionalisation, inequity and power – The professionalization of health promotion workers in Australia

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 10:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Janette YOUNG , Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
The Health Promotion workforce, akin to a number of other health and non health work groups in Australia is seeking to gain accreditation. That is recognition of qualifications and authority to gate keep the boundaries of their “profession” via such things as industrial recognition and the ability to dictate the training requirements needed for membership in the profession, including the ability to apply for and be paid to undertake “health promoition officer” positions.

These moves can be seen as classic professional  turf development and management, and strategic pathways that many other health professions have successfully undertaken. However health promotion as a professional grouping has a particular commitment to recognising and redressing the social determinants of health. That is the social inequities and injustices that are structured into particularly modern western societies and largely hinge around the inequitable distribution of wealth, power and resources. Hence health promotion as a discipline can be seen to be seeking to establish itself within the heart of the  inequitable structures the discipline perceives as needing change in order to promote a healthier society.

This paper is an exploration of this conundrum, seeking to tease out nuances, explore complex possibilities such as whether the betterment of one social group inevitably leads to negative impacts on those with lesser power. Or does this aim to gain ground via professionalization and industrial categorisation actually provide a means of redressing some key social inequities such as gendered pay differentials?