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Health Promotion Ethics Project

The issue: To support health promotion practitioners to practice ethically, the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA) initiated the Health Promotion Ethics Project (HPEP). HPEP aims to advance the evidence-base for ethical health promotion practice in Australia. Research indicates that health promotion practitioners in Australia require a better understanding of what is meant by ethical practice; professional development opportunities on ethical practice; access to guidelines on ethical practice; and access to a specialised human research ethics committee (HREC).

Project summary: HPEP aims to develop a model for community health ethics that will build understanding of ethics for health promotion practice and support the obtaining of ethics approvals and the development of ethical informed practices within government and non-government health and community based organisations in Australia.


The project consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Needs assessment and review of community health ethics boards, ethical practices within key health and community-based organisations, and barriers and enablers to obtaining ethics approval.

  • Phase 2: Development of a model to increase access to ethical oversight for health promotion organisations, and PD strategies to support enhanced ethical practice among practitioners.

  • Phase 3: Evaluation of the ethics model. 

Relevance for practice: This project recognises the need for increased dialogue about the ethical foundations of health promotion. The development of a health promotion ethics framework can better support the development of ethical practice in the Australian health promotion discipline and profession. The HPEP Working Group is focusing on two areas:

  • Providing opportunities to build AHPA’s capacity to lead conversations about ethical health promotion practice.

  • Facilitation of access to formal Human Research Ethics support for health promotion evaluation and research.


Project progress: Phase 1 findings suggested the need for an ethical health promotion practice framework and resources for practitioners and organisations throughout Australia, and a framework comprising two pillars was proposed:

  1. Developing critical practice; and

  2. Building the evidence-base for health promotion.

To develop critical practice, PD and resources have been made available to AHPA members via the AHPA website and specialised events. Phase 3 is underway to evaluate an approach for increasing access to a specialised HREC for health promotion organisations.

Who is involved? 

  • Working Group: Dr Krysten Blackford (Chair), Prof Sharyn Burns, Dr Gemma Crawford, Francene Leaversuch, Tara Gamble (USC), A/Prof Jane Taylor (USC)

Ethics approval: The Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee approved the study (HRE2018-0523).

Project website:

Project outputs:


  • Jancey, J., Crawford, C., Leavy, J., & Blackford, K. Community Health Ethics Board (CHEB) for health promoters - What is it? What’s the best fit? 23rd World Conference on Health Promotion, 7-11 April 2019. Rotorua, New Zealand, Australia (workshop).

  • Jancey, J., Crawford, C., Leavy, J., & Blackford, K. Community Health Ethics Board (CHEB) for health promoters - What is it? What’s the best fit? AHPA Health Promotion Symposium, 23-24 August 2018. Canberra (workshop).


  • Blackford, K., Leavy, J., Taylor, J., Connor, E., & Crawford, G. (2022). Towards an ethics framework for Australian health promotion practitioners: An exploratory mixed methods study. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 33(1): 71-82.


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