Trans disciplinary research and population health and wellbeing

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Complex public health problems require systems-wide solutions based on trans-disciplinary research and effective knowledge translation

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Trans disciplinary research and population health and wellbeing

  1. 1. Some personal reflections on trans-disciplinary research for better population health & wellbeing Kevin P Balanda Institute of Public Health in Ireland www.publichealth.ie Creative Connections in Horizon 2012 Workshop 11 February 2014
  2. 2. About my work • Pure mathematics (infinite cardinals) • Applied Statistics • Epidemiologist in state health department • Biostatistician in applied behavioural intervention research • Population health, health inequalities and the social determinants of health
  3. 3. Population health & wellbeing & Horizon 2020 Horizon 2020: • “Research and Innovation to boost growth & jobs … ” • "Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing" societal challenge” • “Science with and for Society” programme HRB’s mission is “to improve people’s health, patient care and health service delivery by … “ Healthy Ireland’s vision: An Ireland “where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential, …”
  4. 4. Complex public health issues require System-wide solutions based on Trans-disciplinary research
  5. 5. Some trans-disciplinary research studies Economic cost of obesity (led by HRB’s CHDR): • Descriptive study involving clinicians, epidemiologists, health service managers, economists, mathematicians and statisticians , demographers • Working together to combine a wide range of inputs into an agreed economic model and interpret results Food choice workshop (with HRB’s CHDR & CoEfPH (NI)): • Social scientists and econometricians in UCC & QUB What determines the food choices we make? Lessons from health economics and life stories perspectives • Different methodologies from two research traditions • Possible collaborative research projects Using “big data” for non-communicable disease surveillance
  6. 6. Research to population health outcomes Many disciplinary, professional, personal, organisational, financial, cultural, social and political barriers "Systems models" of knowledge translation with knowledge co-coproduction integrated into organisations and systems Dissemination and Implementation Requiring genuine engagement with policy makers, practitioners, industry and the community For example; • IPH funded by the two departments of health on the island • IPH is a formal partner in HRB’s CHDR and CoEfPH (NI) • Joint Knowledge Translation Officers • Building research and evaluation capacity in the community and voluntary sector
  7. 7. 1. More systematic support for collaboration Need to understand connections between the determinants of health and wellbeing, and mobilise them into effective systems-wide solutions This requires meaningful engagement and collaboration with others who bring different perspectives We are not necessarily good at this nor are our institutions necessarily set up to support such engagement Direct support is needed: • Address significant barriers • Training / facilitation in effective collaboration • Build research and evaluation capacity amongst policy makers, practitioners and the community
  8. 8. 2. More accessible “integrated” information Trans-disciplinary research involves working with different types of knowledge: • From research, routine data, experience • Quantitative and qualitative methods • Academic and “grey” literature • Tacit (unwritten) Useful to bring these knowledge/information resources together. Such integrated” information can: • Place research in its policy & practice context • Support cross-disciplinary learning and engagement • Facilitate knowledge co-production Websites with “integrated” information www.thehealthwell.info
  9. 9. 3. Further population health / health services research • Population health impacts and equity implications of new technologies • Development of effective community and policy trials interventions • Management of multi-morbidities • Dissemination and Implementation Sciences • • “Systems” thinkers • Knowledge synthesis techniques • Techniques for trans-disciplinary collaboration Exciting opportunities for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  10. 10. Conclusion “Health and wellbeing” important inHorizon 2020 Complex public health issues Require systems-wide solutions Based on trans-disciplinary research Population impacts also require a focus of knowledge translation Amongst other things, I believe this: • • • Focus on more systematically supporting collaboration More accessible “integrated” information New population health / health services research Trans-disciplinary research is the cornerstone of population health; it’s rewarding, challenging and sometimes frustrating.
  11. 11. Thank you for your attention kevin.balanda@publichealth.ie www.publichealth.ie

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