Health promotion and disease prevention in the education of health professionals: a mapping of European educational programmes from 2019: a mapping of European educational programmes from 2019

Kristiina Patja, Tessa Huis in 't Veld, Dorottya Arva, Marjorie Bonello, Rana Orhan Pees, Marc Soethout, Martin van der Esch, Tessa Huis in ‘t Veld

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Background: Health professionals face barriers in carrying out effective health promotion and disease prevention. To indicate what are the needs for curriculum development in educational programmes, this study aims to provide an overview of how various health professionals are currently trained in health promotion and disease prevention at different educational levels. Methods: In 2019, a descriptive mapping exercise was performed focusing on European programmes for different health and healthcare professionals at the three levels of education (undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuous professional development [CPD]). Data were collected by a self-developed online survey that was distributed using a modified snowball method. Results: A total of 186 educational programmes of 17 different health professionals were analysed, implemented in 31 countries (60% were undergraduate, 30% postgraduate and 10% CPD programmes). Nearly all programmes indicated that expected outcomes were defined on knowledge (99%), skills (94%) and behaviours/attitudes (89%) regarding health promotion and disease prevention. A multidisciplinary approach was reported to be applied by 81% of the programmes. Traditional teaching methods such as lectures (97%) and assignments (81%) were dominant, while e-learning was less frequently used (46%). Digitalization in health promotion and digital health coaching were the least addressed topics in most programmes. Conclusions: Health promotion and disease prevention are reported at all surveyed levels of education for a broad spectrum of health professionals. Educational programmes cover contents on knowledge, skills, and behaviours. There is a need for capacity building and joint development in health promotion education. Specifically, there is a need to include digitalisation and novel teaching in the educational programmes of health promotion and disease prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number778
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Disease prevention
  • Education
  • Health professionals
  • Health promotion
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Teaching methods

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