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The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is an independent, multi-disciplinary charity dedicated to the improvement of the public’s health
RSPH helps inform policy and practice, working to educate, empower and support communities and individuals to live healthily. Its vision is that everyone has the opportunity to optimise their health and wellbeing.
RSPH's Chief Executive is Shirley Cramer CBE, while its current president is Professor Lord Patel of Bradford; current vice presidents are Natasha Kaplinsky OBE and Michael Sheen OBE. It has a Royal Charter, with Her Majesty the Queen as its Patron, and is governed by a Council of Trustees, all of whom are RSPH members.
RSPH was formed with the merger of the Royal Society of Health and the Royal Institute of Public Health in October 2008, under the previous Chief Executive, Professor Richard Parish, CBE.
The Royal Society of Health, also known as the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, was established in 1876 following the landmark Public Health Act of 1875. Previously known as the Sanitary Institute (1876-1904) and the Royal Sanitary Institute (1904–55), it was created during a period of great change within the areas of public health provision and sanitary reform to which it contributed significantly.
During its first fifty years, the Society became the leading public health organization both in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. It was soon renowned for events and conferences on pioneering and topical issues, and developed qualifications for people working in public health professions.
By the 1950s, the Society was a leading authority in its field, and was regularly consulted by governments and the international press on health-related issues. Since the 1970s, the Society has focused its activities on the most successful areas of its work - examinations, certification, and the journals Public Health and Perspectives in Public Health.
Today, RSPH is the longest-established public health organisation in the United Kingdom. It is incorporated by Royal Charter completely independent of government and of any special interest. Members are academics, health professionals and practitioners who share an interest in promoting health through their daily work, and come together through RSPH membership to provide cross-cutting, multi-disciplinary perspectives on current health questions.
RSPH has a membership of over 6,500 public health professionals, with representation from over 90 countries worldwide, encompassing a wide range of sectors and roles including health promotion, medicine, environmental health and food safety trainers.
Membership is open to anyone working in the area of public health or with an interest in it. It is a widely recognised mark of commitment to public health and brings real professional benefits.
There are four grades of RSPH membership, each aimed at supporting public health professionals at the different stages of their careers: Student; Associate (AMRSPH); Member (MRSPH); and Fellow (FRSPH).
RSPH provides a wide range of vocationally related qualifications that are directly relevant to the workplace and national health priorities. Around 50,000 students qualify through a network of UK-wide registered training centres in qualifications in the following subjects:
- Anatomical pathology technology
- Built environment
- Emergency planning
- Food safety
- Health and safety
- Health improvement
- Meat inspection
- Pest control
- Practice management
- Young Health Champions
Recognised and regulated to award accredited qualifications by the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual), Qualifications Wales and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), RSPH is widely acknowledged for its high level of quality assurance, stability, experience and expertise.
Conferences and training
RSPH hosts an annual programme of conferences, webinars, events and training in subjects including water hygiene, infection control, food safety and mental wellbeing. RSPH also runs a two-week intensive preparation course for the Faculty of Occupational Medicine's Diploma exam.
RSPH has been running accreditation services continuously since 1904, endorsing products, services and more recently campaigns, which contribute to improvements in hygiene, public health and safety.
It has three accreditation services: one for campaigns, one for training programmes and one for university modules, which are either in-house or provided by third sector organisations. The common theme is maintaining high standards of hygiene, public health and safety.
Public health encompasses all aspects of health protection and health promotion and this is reflected throughout RSPH's projects, policy work, reports and campaigns.
RSPH is dedicated to raising awareness of issues that affect the public's health and, through high profile campaigns, it draws attention to particular issues, calling a wide range of organisations, local authorities and government to make changes that will improve health and wellbeing for all.
Recent campaigns include:
- Health on the High Street. The objective of this campaign was to help businesses and local authorities to improve the health of their communities.
- Life on Debt Row. Backed by a report examining the effect of debt on health and wellbeing, this campaign called for action from the UK government and industry to protect the health and wellbeing of credit users.
- #StatusOfMind. Supported by a report examining the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health, this campaign called for action from government, social media companies and policy makers to help promote the positive aspects of social media for young people, whilst mitigating the potential negatives.
- Taking a New Line on Drugs. With reference to the wider ‘drugscape’ of legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, the report underpinning this campaign sets out a new vision for a holistic public health-led approach to drugs policy at a UK-wide level.
RSPH works with a range of national and regional partners to develop, support and implement programmes and initiatives aimed at supporting the public’s health and wellbeing.
RSPH's key programmes include:
- Alcohol Health Champions. RSPH has supported the implementation of the Communities In Charge of Alcohol (CICA) scheme in Manchester which trains local volunteers to become accredited ‘Alcohol Health Champions’ and provide opportunistic advice and mobilise action on alcohol availability at a community level. It is the first time that a devolved UK region has attempted to coordinate an approach to building health champion capacity, presenting an opportunity to grow its implementation and impact at scale.
- Connect 5. Connect 5 is an education programme that is designed to increase the confidence and core skills of front line staff so that they can have more effective conversations about mental health and wellbeing, help people to manage mental health problems, and increase their resilience and mental wellbeing through positive changes. RSPH has trained over 200 Connect 5 trainers across England who are currently cascading training with their colleagues, service users and communities.
- Healthy Living Pharmacies. RSPH manages the national Healthy Living Pharmacy Level 1 register which holds over 9,000 Healthy Living Pharmacies in England, as well as quality assuring the profession-led self-assessment process. Developed by the Pharmacy and Public Health Forum and Public Health England, the scheme is aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of the local population through the consistent delivery of interventions through community pharmacies.
- Young Health Champions. The Young Health Champions (YHCs) initiative is a peer-driven approach to raising public health awareness among young people, providing them with the skills and knowledge to act as health mentors in their local communities. YHCs are required to achieve the RSPH Level 2 Young Health Champion Award and there is now a national network of over 2,000 YHCs across the UK.
RSPH publishes two widely respected peer-reviewed journals on public health, Perspectives in Public Health and Public Health.
- Public Health. Public Health is one of the world’s oldest public health journals, having been in continuous publication since 1888. Public Health publishes original research papers and reviews on all aspects of public health and is aimed at public health practitioners and researchers. It has an International Editorial Board made up of a distinguished panel of public health experts from around the world.
- Perspectives in Public Health. Perspectives in Public Health combines peer-reviewed research and reviews with practice-based current topic and opinion articles, news, case studies, book reviews, and updates on our latest work. It has both an Editorial Board and an International Advisory Board.