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Behavioural sciences strategy for public health


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The opening presentation for a national conversation on behavioural sciences and their contribution to public health in England

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Behavioural sciences strategy for public health

  1. 1. Toward a behavioural sciences strategy for public health and wellbeing in England A prospectus for conversation and development February 2017, Version 6 Conversation Event – Fri 17th March 2017
  2. 2. Proposal • develop a framework strategy for maximising the contribution of behavioural science to the protection and improvement of the public’s health and wellbeing in England; • with a particular focus on enhancing the effectiveness of public health interventions and reducing health inequalities through better application of behavioural science.
  3. 3. Clarification • First iteration of the conversation • Need to include other disciplines and partners • Expectation that others will augment
  4. 4. Recommendation This stakeholder conversation informs a task group to draft a strategy
  5. 5. Context • Great potential of behavioural science to deliver insights, tools and interventions • Need for a coherent and systematic framework • To enable behavioural sciences to make a more effective contribution • Protect and improve the public’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities • Reduced public funding
  6. 6. Integrated population health approach • Downstream - individual level interventions • Upstream - population level before risks or exposures arise
  7. 7. Academy of Medical Sciences Health of the Public 2040 (i) We have a “limited understanding of which aspects of our environments – singly and together – are most important in driving unhealthy behaviours, often without awareness. We know even less about how to create environments –physical, economic, social and digital – to enable healthier behaviours”
  8. 8. Academy of Medical Sciences Health of the Public 2040 (ii) Call for “greater focus on developing interventions that may act at a level other than the individual (e.g. at group, community or population level), or at more than one level”
  9. 9. Academy of Medical Sciences Health of the Public 2040 (iii) “We need to better review and monitor interventions as they are implemented… …to ensure they are effective and to inform future decision-making”
  10. 10. Academy of Medical Sciences Health of the Public 2040: recommendations 1. Identify research needs and co-ordinate activities 2. Higher education - foster transdisciplinary approaches 3. Education and training of practitioners – drivers and interventions – research, and evaluate and use evidence 4. Regional hubs between practitioners and researchers 5. Strengthen mechanisms for independent evidence 6. explore joint working with the commercial sector 7. Strengthen engagement and communication with public
  11. 11. ‘Fifth wave’ of public health Defined by a ‘culture of health’: health and incentives for healthy behaviour are maximised, healthy choices are promoted by default, and factors that create a culture and environment which promote unhealthy behaviour are minimised” Davies SC, et al. (2014). For debate: a new wave in public health improvement. The Lancet 384(9957), 1889-1995.
  12. 12. Workforce and skills • CFWI Public Health Workforce review – Website not accessible at the moment • Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework – Empower communities – Create environments that facilitate and enable – Facilitate change (behavioural and/or cultural) – Use different policy options (BCW) – Use social marketing and behavioural science
  13. 13. Which social/behavioural sciences?
  14. 14. What are we doing/might we do? 1. Mainstream behavioural science: – schema for behavioural science – practical knowledge, skills, tools and frameworks 2. Enable practitioners to interpret behavioural science 3. More interventions with explicit mechanism of action informed by behavioural science 4. Access to expert advice 5. Quick wins
  15. 15. Potential outputs 1. Enhanced pre-service curricula 2. Strengthened in-service training 3. Guidance on approaches and frameworks 4. Inclusion in governance processes 5. Improving access to evidence 6. Capacity through networks and procurement 7. Community of evidence and practice 8. Advise on research priorities