Competency focused versus philosophically grounded health promotion practice: Impacts on innovation and addressing inequities


The professionalization of the fields of health education and health promotion has largely coincided with the completion of job task analysis conducted by major organizations in the field (e.g., the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Society for Public Health Education). The proess through which these job task analyses and skill-based competencies are implemented in professional preparation programs poses a risk to stifle advancement and innovation in health education and promotion. In this perspective, we discuss Competency Focused Practice (the current state of the field) to a goal of Philosophically Grounded Practice. We provide comparisons of the implications of these two schools of thought with respect to ethics, social determinants of health, and practical methods in health education and promotion.

Pedagogy in Health Promotion


  • Is this paper peer reviewed? This paper is published in the journal Pedagogy in Health Promotion. This journal uses double-blind peer review, where the authors and the reviewers do not know each other’s identities.
  • Who paid for this project? This paper received no funding.
  • Are there any conflicts of interest? There are no financial conflicts of interest. Tyler G. James and Heather Henderson are on the Editorial Board of the journal Pedagogy in Health Promotion. Julia R. Varnes serves on the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing’s Division Board for Certification of Health Education Specialists (DBCHES), which develops the CHES and MCHES exams. TGJ also served as a Subject Matter Expert for DBCHES. The perspectives and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not intend to represent the positions of Pedagogy in Health Promotion, the Society for Public Health Education, or the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.