Members of the Health Advancement Research Team (HART) in the School of Sport & Exercise Science have recently started a research study with the Lincolnshire Health Trainer Service, part of Lincolnshire District Council. A ‘health trainer’ is tasked with promoting and encouraging health behaviours, and offers practical support to people in the local community who request help with a number of health issues (smoking, physical activity, healthy eating, etc.). As an integral part of their continuing professional development activities, the Health Trainer Service visited the Human Performance Centre last week and engaged in a research study that investigates their role as part of the wider healthcare team.
Project Director, and Director of the HART, Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, Research Assistant, Rachel Williams, and Senior Lecturer, Geoff Middleton, developed the research design and led a series of focus groups with the Health Trainers to discuss their role, the current challenges and their perspectives on their occupational ‘identity work’ in a role that has been conceptualised as somewhat liminal. Senior Lecturers’ Donna Evans, Hannah Henderson and Lee Crust helped facilitate the focus groups and all of the team will be involved in data analysis, write-up and dissemination. Based on a nascent literature on the Health Trainer occupational role, the results will continue to build on the understanding of this complex community role, which has been operating across England since 2004.