When you think about working as a health promoter with or within a workplace, it's important to first clarify something for yourself. Do you fundamentally see the workplace as a setting in which to deliver health promotion programs? Or, do you see the workplace, and its related working conditions, as a determinant of health?
If you see the workplace as a setting in which to deliver programs, it means you are approaching workplaces and offering programs because you believe this process to be an avenue to reach people. This approach is similar to viewing schools as a setting to reach children and their families.
On the other hand, if you see the workplace as a determinant of health, it means you believe that the conditions under which people work have a direct impact on their health. This means that you approach and treat the workplace as a whole, working with the workplace to recognize and respond to the factors within the workplace that affect employee health.
Before going further with this course, it's important to understand that the comprehensive approach described and explained is aligned with the belief that the workplace itself affects employee health. As declared by both The Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization, working conditions are in and of themselves a determinant of health. What this means is that the approach we are sharing is built on the knowledge that the very way in which employees are treated within the workplace has an impact on their health.
This is not to say that the historically more common health promotion programs will not be a part of your CWHP approach. But, as you will see as you proceed through this course, these programs represent only one component of the overall comprehensive approach. The key issue is that you help an organization identify and address the priority issues and needs. This means doing so without coming in with pre-conceived notions about what the organization's needs are and the programs you hope to deliver. In the very least, be prepared to suggest organizations opt out of your program and service if it does not fit with their priorities.