Health Promotion roles are very varied. Meet Ronan Dillon who is self-employed and works as a Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator in Temple Street Children’s Hospital as well as being the Director of Healthy Workforce.
What inspired you towards a career in health promotion?
Health Promotion was not something I had even thought about when I was doing my Leaving Cert. I had always wanted to do something in sport, so I assumed physiotherapy would be my only option. Thankfully a friend told me about Sport Science in DCU. This gave me a much broader view of what kinds of sports-related jobs were available. Through sports science I realised that the increase in non-communicable diseases was a problem. I went on to play rugby in England and France and it was here that I began to explore health promotion as a career.
What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?
Health Promotion is a very broad area, especially for a self-employed person. So, a typical day can be hard to define. I have recently started working in Temple Street Children’s Hospital as the Employee Health and Wellbeing coordinator. My role is to coordinate all the health promotion activities in the hospital. As it is a hospital there is a lot of expertise among the staff in a broad range of topics. I am currently working on the health promotion strategy for the hospital. This strategy will ensure all staff know what we as a hospital are doing to support their working lives.
In my role in Healthy Workforce Limited I am developing and coordinating strategies for companies in both the public and private sector. Each day tends to be different as each company has a different focus, culture and budget.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in a career in health promotion?
I would recommend you do three things.
1. Decide what work you want to do.
2. Make sure you have the qualifications to do it.
3. Start doing it.
Once you start to deliver something you will learn a lot about what people want and how they react to your message. Always remember health promotion is a journey for people and not about the destination.
What does AHPI membership mean for you?
Health Promotion is an evolving science. Trying to stay on top new research is a challenge. Being a member of the AHPI means I am kept up-to-date on both national and international initiatives. It saves me time which means more time spent on helping others.
What is your proudest moment working at …..
My proudest moment is when people come to me after making a few small changes, changes that seemed insignificant to them initially, and tell me about the impact they have had on their lives.
What do you find the most challenging about working in health promotion?
Health Promotion is about being consistent in the changes you make. It is a long, slow process and in today’s quick fix world people don’t always give it the time. Health Promotion is about the rest of your life, so you/they have time.
You have been given a magic wand and are able to fix one problem (related to health/ health promotion), what would you pick?
The availability and consumption of clean drinking water for everyone in the world. Water for people is like oil in a car, if you are lacking in water your body will work but you will find problems more often. If you feel poorly try drinking more water and see what happens.