We are delighted to have David Bergin (IUHPE Registered Health Promotion Practitioner) discuss his Health Promotion career.
What inspired you towards a career in health promotion?
My journey in health promotion started in IT Sligo in 2013 when I started a BSc in Health Science & Physiology. What started as an interest in nutrition and fitness on a personal level, quickly grew to an interest in population health. My time in IT Sligo was an excellent mix of practical and theoretical learning across a broad range of health-related topics. I left IT Sligo with a degree in Public Health & Health Promotion and a passion for practicing health promotion competencies to improve health outcomes.
On a personal level, during my studies I experienced bereavement of close relatives. With both bereavements stemming from lifestyle-related illnesses, this further added to my desire to pursue a career in promoting health and empowering individuals to not only avoid health-risk behaviours, but to reach their health and wellbeing potential.
What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?
I am a Workplace Health Promotion Officer with Spectrum.Life, Ireland’s largest provider and Laya Healthcare’s exclusive provider of health and wellbeing services. I work onsite with two of our clients, Microsoft and Citibank. It’s a very broad role but on a high level I design, implement and evaluate the health and wellbeing programme in each company.
Data collation and analysis, stakeholder engagement, event management and meeting with employees are some of the main tasks you will find me working on a day to day basis. At the minute, I’m reviewing the various data sets to build the 2020 programme. Everything we do must have rationale that is backed up with data – blending both raw data with qualitative feedback from employees. As backed up by the evidence, employee input is vital for successful engagement.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in a career in health promotion?
It’s a cliché but get experience wherever you can and try not to just focus on the one health topic you’re most interested in. Opportunities will come up but only if you pursue the leads. Your dream role might not be titled “health promotion” so broaden your search words when looking for a position.
Finally, network! I recently saw a great quote, “Your network is your net-worth”. It’s very true and a great way to meet like-minded professionals who might just introduce you to your next role. Use social media to become familiar with those in the health promotion community.
What does AHPI membership mean for you?
Joining the APHI during my final year in college really opened my horizon to what type of roles were out there in health promotion. I also got to network with fellow professionals in my first year out of college by attending the AHPI training days. This helped me understand the multitude of pathways that can be followed.
What does being a IUHPE Registered Health Promotion Practitioner mean for you?
I was one of the lucky cohort that, through my degree, got awarded the title of IUHPE Registered Health Promotion Practitioner immediately after graduation! A recognised professional accreditation provides me with confidence when speaking to a group at an event or introducing myself to business leaders. It shows that I am the expert in this area and builds trust from the outset.
What is your proudest moment working at Spectrum.Life?
Every time an employee reaches out to me to say thank you for helping them, I feel very proud of the role I have with Spectrum.Life.
I feel there is currently a shift in paradigm in the workplace with regards to employee health and wellbeing. Through my role with Spectrum.Life, I have a front-row seat at the changes happening in the workforce that will embed a better place for all to work. There’s no longer the feeling of “leave your problems at the door” and I’m incredibly proud to be part of this.