Virtual Course on Health Promotion


This course was designed to contribute to renovate and integrate Health Promotion as an essential means to improve health, well-being and equity in the 21st century.

Lessons learned from the impact and response to the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of Health Promotion and its fundamental principles: the social origin of health and the need to systematically address health inequities; the imperativeness of an intersectoral, multilevel and participatory approach to health challenges in an interconnected world in which health is a main driver in social development; and the need to improve the resilience of individuals, communities and systems to health stressors by enhancing positive protective factors and health assets (the so-called salutogenic approach).

These principles were already included in the current health promotion mandate for the region of the Americas, the Strategy and Plan of Action on Health Promotion in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals 2019-2030, approved at the 57th Directing Council (2019), whose objective is to renew health promotion through social, political and technical actions, addressing the sustainable development goals in order to improve health and reduce health inequities within the context of the 2030 Agenda.

It is therefore especially relevant and timely to renew, maintain and expand the health promotion capacities of countries and integrate them into the daily lives of health technicians and decision-makers. This course addresses key elements and concepts intrinsically related to health promotion from a comprehensive perspective. To this end, the course aims to update and reinforce the key foundations that underpin health promotion through the contents, activities and resources included in the different modules.

Purpose and Objectives of the Course

This course aims to:

  1. Raise awareness about the importance of health promotion, a key public health strategy for improving health, well-being and equity.

  2. Review the pillars of health promotion adapted to meet the current challenges of the 21st century.

  3. Disseminate and socialize the strategic lines of action prioritized by the countries in the current regional framework for Health Promotion.

Specific Objectives

  • To contribute to consolidate a more holistic, social and positive vision of health and well-being.

  • To strengthen health promotion capacity at the local, national, and subnational levels with the aim of improving health, well-being and health equity in the Americas.

  • To describe how health promotion concepts, tools and perspectives can be used and integrated into the daily work of the health sector and other sectors whose policies have an impact on health.

Competency Profile

The course provides opportunities for the development of the following skills:

  • Understanding the origin of health and its relationship to contexts and living conditions.

  • Explaining the theory, values and principles of Health Promotion, including:

    • The human rights and health equity approach.

    • The conceptual bases of salutogenesis and the social determinants of health.

  • Describing the main lines of action of Health Promotion: promoting healthy environments, facilitating community participation and empowerment, fostering governance for health and intersectoral action to improve health and well-being, and strengthening health systems and services by integrating health promotion.

  • Reflecting on the causes of health and disease as well as on the need to broaden the traditional biomedical approach and incorporate a social, positive and comprehensive approach to address them.

Course Structure

  • Module 0 – Introduction

  • Module 1 - Understanding Health

  • Module 2 - Concepts and Values of Health Promotion

  • Module 3 - Health Promotion Strategy and Plan of Action

Target Audience

  • Individuals engaged in the local, subnational, national and international public health levels that are interested in health promotion.

  • Individuals who work in health promotion and wish to consolidate or update key concepts and tools.

  • Individuals who are going to work in health promotion or who wish to gain a better understanding of health promotion approaches and their application.

  • Individuals working in Health Services, particularly those working in Primary Health Care and Community Health centers.

  • Policy makers and technical officers of all public administration levels, particularly those involved in the Healthy Municipalities, Cities and Communities Movement.

This course is also aimed at all those in the health sector or other sectors who are committed to a more holistic, social and positive vision of health and well-being.

Course Modality

This is a free, self-learning open access course with no deadlines for completion.

Course Duration

The estimated time to complete all modules and the final assessment is 12 hours.

As it is a self-paced learning course, participants can manage their own time and schedule.

Last update: 13/Mar/2024