VLAG Masterclass: Public Health Research in Practice

In the past ten years, Academic Collaborative Centres(ACC) have been established to bridge the gap between the fields of policy, practice and research. These ACCs are consortia of Community Health Services and Universities in the Netherlands. At present there are eleven ACCs in the field of public health.

The aim of this master class is to share acquired knowledge and experiences in these ACC’s with professionals and researchers working in the domain of public health.

Participants can join all four days, or participate in either the evaluation (day 1-2) or the adaptation (day 3-4) sessions.

Day 1-2: The role of context in evaluation

Research in real-world settings differs from research in academic-controlled settings. Many researchers and professionals experience a gap between the research methodology used for research in practice and research in academia. Distinctive for public health interventions conducted in areal-world setting is that these are implemented by public health professionals, who integrate the activities in their daily work. These interventions ideally fit in participants’ daily lives, which has implications for the intervention itself, as well as for the evaluation design.
In the course, the nature of the gap between research in real-world versus academic settings will be explained, and the implications for the intervention and evaluation design will be discussed. In particular the role of context will be studied, ranging from contextual factors on the individual, interpersonal, organisational, sociocultural, political and economic level. This course will clarify how contextual factors can be taken into account in the evaluation of public health programmes, and how they can be incorporated in the analysis in order to support the evidence-base of the programme.

Day 3-4: The role of context in adaptation

A large number of public health interventions has been systematically developed, implemented, documented and evaluated. To prevent reinvention of the wheel and repetition of similar mistakes, planners are advised to use these so-called evidence-based interventions (EBIs) as a startingpoint for their own programmes. A systematic approach to making these EBIs fit with the new context and population is provided by the Intervention Mapping framework, a step-wise approach for the design and adaptation of health and lifestyle interventions.
The central question in this masterclass is: how can we adapt EBIs to a new context and population, retaining the effective intervention elements, ánd at the same time making the programme fit with the new setting. On the first day, participants will learn about the steps to adapt an existing EBIs to a new context and population. Examples from practice will illustrate adaptation experiences. On the second day, participants will learn about theoretical methods (or active intervention elements) that target individual behaviours and change towards a supportive environment.

Target group

The master classes are especially developed for public health researchers and professionals from policy or practice, working in the field of population health, health promotion, epidemiology, nutrition and health sciences, infectious diseases, primary health care, youth health care, health policy and communication sciences.