Open Access Correspondence

Partnership work between Public Health and Health Psychology: introduction to a novel training programme

Alyssa S Gilinsky1*, Stephan U Dombrowski2, Hannah Dale3, Douglas Marks4, Clare Robinson3, Claire Eades5 and Despina Ouzounidou6

Author Affiliations

1 Directorate of Public Health, NHS Tayside, Kings Cross Hospital, Dundee, DD3 8EA, UK

2 Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, 2nd floor, Health Sciences Research Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK

3 Department of Psychology, NHS Fife, Stratheden Hospital, Cupar, Fife, KY15 5RR, Scotland, UK

4 School of Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, PA1 2BE, Scotland, UK

5 Pharmacy Services, NHS Forth Valley, Eurohouse, Wellgreen Place, Stirling, FK8 2DJ, Scotland, UK

6 Directorate of Public Health, Crichton Hall, Lochar North, Bankend Road, Dumfries, DG1 4TG, Scotland, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:692  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-692

Published: 11 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Public health services implement individual, community and population level interventions to change health behaviours, improve healthy life expectancy and reduce health inequalities. Understanding and changing health behaviour is complex. Integrating behaviour change theory and evidence into interventions has the potential to improve services.

Methods

Health Psychologists apply evidence and theories aimed at understanding and changing health behaviour. A Scottish programme is piloting the training of Health Psychologists within NHS contexts to address prominent public health challenges.

Results

This article outlines the details of this novel programme. Two projects are examined to illustrate the potential of partnership working between public health and health psychology.

Conclusion

In order to develop and improve behaviour change interventions and services, public health planners may want to consider developing and using the knowledge and skills of Health Psychologists. Supporting such training within public health contexts is a promising avenue to build critical NHS internal mass to tackle the major public health challenges ahead.