Operationalising and piloting the IUHPE European accreditation system for health promotion

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The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) European Accreditation System for Health Promotion aims to promote quality assurance in health promotion practice, education and training. The System is designed to be flexible and sensitive to the different contexts for health promotion practice, education and training in Europe, while maintaining robust criteria. These competency-based criteria were developed in the CompHP Project (2009–2012) that developed core competencies, professional standards and an accreditation framework for health promotion practice, education and training in the context of workforce capacity development in Europe. This paper describes how consultations undertaken with the health promotion community informed the structure and processes of the IUHPE Accreditation System. An overview of its development, key functions and the piloting of its implementation, which was co-funded by the European Union in the context of the EU Health Programme, is presented. Feedback from consultations with key health promotion stakeholders in Europe indicated overall support for the development of an accreditation system for health promotion. However, a number of potential barriers to its implementation were noted including: absence of dedicated practitioners and professional bodies in some countries; lack of clarity about professional boundaries; lack of financial resources required to facilitate capacity building; and concerns about the costs, objectivity and transparency of the system. Feedback from the consultations shaped and informed the process of designing an operational accreditation system to ensure that it would be responsive to potential users’ needs and concerns. Based on the agreed structures and processes, a web-based application system was developed and managed at IUHPE headquarters. A governance structure was established together with agreed policies and procedures for the System. During the pilot period, applications from 20 health promotion practitioners, two health promotion education programmes and one national accreditation organisation were processed. Feedback from the piloting stage will inform further refinement of the system. While recognising the challenges, the overall positive feedback and the commitment demonstrated by the health promotion community form a constructive platform for the implementation of the IUHPE Accreditation System in Europe and internationally.




Battel-Kirk, B., Barry, M. M., van der Zanden, G., Contu, P., Gallardo, C., Martinez, A., … Debenedetti, S. (2015). Operationalising and piloting the IUHPE European accreditation system for health promotion. Global Health Promotion, 22(3), 25–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/1757975914545386

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