Nearly 80 students and practitioners explored strategies for improving the health of Americans and examined trends in the emerging field of health promotion at an October conference at AU.
“This is a time for us to reflect on the importance of the field we’re in, and discuss ways to improve it,” said Stacey Snelling, professor of health and event organizer.
At the kick-off panel on promoting health through health plans representatives from three top health providers—Shannon Hines, Kaiser Permanente; Nancy Lesch, BlueCross BlueShield; and Andrea Rowe, United Health Care—drove home the importance of preventative care in lowering soaring national rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. Also under discussion were new and innovative ways to deliver that care, from personalized text messages to telephone and e-mail health counseling.
Lesch said employers are increasingly interested in creating a healthy work environment, and are examining how health plans impact employee retention, recruitment, and employer issues like productivity and absenteeism. She also noted the host of opportunities that are available to students, including data analysis, lobbying, marketing, screening, coaching, and consulting.
“I suggest you figure out what you’re good at and parlay that into your career in health promotion,” she said, “It’s a great time to be in the industry because you have the opportunity to help shape the field.”
The event, cosponsored by AU’s School of Education, Teaching and Health and L&T Health and Fitness, covered e-health programs, mind-body therapy, and liability issues for health promotion professionals.