The BDA has a network of Public Health Champions across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The network has several aims. To:-
1) have at least one BDA Public Health Champion per NHS organization in the UK.
2) bring together dietitians from all sectors who have an interest in prevention and public health.
3) to share experiences, ideas and resources
4) develop resources/training for dietitians
So what is a BDA public health champion?
To become a BDA Public Health Champion (PHC) all you need to do is have an interest in prevention and public health. You may be a student dietitian, a qualified NHS dietitian, a dietetic manager, a freelance dietitian, a dietitian working in academia or in industry. If you work in the NHS you may specialise in any sector including the acute, adult, paediatric, community or mental health sectors.
The BDA Public Health Champion will:-
1) help members of their dietetic team to adopt healthy conversations.
2) develop and deliver training for colleagues on prevention, public health and healthy conversations
3) evaluate the impact of healthy conversations
4) get involved in their own projetcs which may include: holding work based health fairs in the work place, collaborating with local community groups that help to improve health, improving the uptake of flu vaccines in their work place
A 'healthy conversation' is one in which a person is encouraged to make healthier choices so as to achieve positive long term behaviour change. (Making Every Contact Count is about 'healthy conversations' and is already mandatory in some NHS Trusts.) 'Healthy conversations' can be about health issues such as:
- Smoking cessation.
- Alcohol problems.
- Physical activity.
- Mental health.
- Healthy eating.
- Falls prevention.
- Social isolation / loneliness.
- Substance misuse.
- Environmental and housing issues.
Specifically, the PHCs will assist with:
- overcoming the barriers to adopting healthy conversations in the individual workplaces
- training dietetic staff.
- collating information about local patients support groups and resources so that dietitians can signpost people to them.
- auditing and evidencing the success of healthy conversations.
- keeping up to date with research and policy e.g. NICE etc.
- work with other AHP public health champions in the same workplace where they exist.
In the future it may be possible to extend the role of the PHC to include Work Ready! (the BDA programme that tackles nutrition and health in the work place) - watch this space for more news.
If you fancy becoming a Public Health Champion read on:
The benefits to you of becoming a public health champion
- You will develop new skills and knowledge.
- It is an easy way to develop your career and broaden your horizons.
- You will expand your network of contacts in your NHS Trust.
- It is an excellent way to demonstrate the value of dietitians to the wider organization as well as to patient care and the 'patient experience.'
- Contributes to your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for your HCPC registration.
If you are a dietetic team leader or manager read on:
The benefits to your dietetic team of having a public health champion
- The team will be better able to take opportunities to have healthy conversations with people.
- The team will be able to audit and evidence that it is having healthy conversations and provide this information to the NHS organisation.
- The team will have up to date information on the local services that support people to make healthy changes to their lives.
- The team will be seen as a forward thinking team by fellow healthcare professionals and senior managers in their NHS organisation.
- The general public and patients will see dietitians as providing holistic care and advice.
The benefits to your NHS organization of having a BDA public health champion
- The NHS organization will be able to demonstrate that it is promoting health and preventing ill health – one of its mandatory duties in England.
Convinced that you want to become a Public Health Champion then:
How do you sign up?
Below is step by step guide on how to sign up:
- Discuss and agree your ambition to be a Public Health Champion for your team with your manager.
- Register yourself with the Public Health Champion Register by emailing PHChampions@bda.uk.com and providing your name and contact details.
- Join the AHP4PH Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AHP4PH/.
- Agree what activities you want to do and when with your manager.
- Regularly visit these webpages for updates and further information.