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Health Promotion Facilitators and Barriers

Robinson, K.L.; Driedger, M.S.; Elliott, S.J.; Eyles, J. “Understanding facilitators of and barriers to health promotion practice.” Health Promotion Practice 2006; 7:467-476.

The authors state that although the “field of health promotion has shifted to embrace a socioecological model of health recognizing the role of environmental and contextual factors on health promotion practice and health outcomes,” most health promotion research “continues to focus on behavioral or risk factor outcomes.” Published studies of health promotion facilitators and barriers have tended to focus on one of the three linked stages of health promotion practice: capacity building for planning and development; delivery of health promotion activities; and evaluation and/or research. Barriers to evaluation and research include: health promotion activities rarely have simple, direct cause-effect relationships to test; health interventions involve many factors and processes that cannot easily be quantified; monitoring in rural areas or at the community level poses significant logistical and financial barriers; and tension exists between “scientific rigor” and participatory evaluation processes that aim to influence practice.

The article characterizes facilitators and barriers to health promotion practice as internal (leadership, staffing, resources, priority/interest, infrastructure, and organization of teams and groups) and external (community buy-in, turnover of local contacts, partnerships or collaboration, socioeconomic/demographic/political contexts, and funding opportunities or cuts).

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