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The Role of Schools of Public Health: Training, research, advocacy and policy. OSI Seminar - Varna, Bulgaria Presenter: Don McVinney Lecturer, Columbia University School of Social Work, U.S. National Director of Education and Training, Harm Reduction Coalition, U.S. [email protected]

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the role of schools of public health training research advocacy and policy

The Role of Schools of Public Health: Training, research, advocacy and policy

OSI Seminar - Varna, Bulgaria

Presenter: Don McVinney

Lecturer, Columbia University School of Social Work, U.S.

National Director of Education and Training, Harm Reduction Coalition, U.S.

[email protected]

education and training
Education and Training
  • Teaching– Adult learning (androgogy) versus childhood learning (pedagogy);
    • Adults have life experience to draw upon: their own resources and experiences
education
Education
  • Involves critical thinking
  • “Opening out” of the mind
  • Understand the meanings behind social problems
  • The process of thinking is an end in itself
  • Connections may not be made about what one is learning until years later
  • More unpredictable outcome than training
  • Sometimes students initially feel less skilled because the educator calls into question what they presume to know (unlearning then learning)
  • More future-oriented
  • Setting: Classrooms in schools of higher education, such as universities
training
Training
  • Providing practical skills that one can employ readily and immediately in one’s work
  • More factual
  • More rigid approach to learning
  • “Narrowing in” of information that is most relevant and useful
  • More present-focused
  • Settings: In the community: in-service workshops; community-based organizations
types of training
Types of Training
  • Professional, para-professional or “staff” (volunteer or paid) training and development
    • Goals:
      • Give participants new knowledge and information
      • Provide or enhance skills for professionals to be or to become more effective in their work
      • Clarification of values (example: attitudes about drug users)
  • “Popular education” (Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed)
    • Providing knowledge and skills to clients and consumers; empowerment approach
types of knowledge
Types of Knowledge
  • Specialized knowledge – For example: licit and illicit drugs
    • Goal: Increase competence related to vulnerable populations or to individuals
  • “Tacit knowledge” – intuitive and intangible approach
    • “Professional use of self” (social work)
    • Postmodern perspective: Many ways of knowing
    • Philosophically, is intervention an art or a science? (logical positivist versus postmodern debate)
the need to impart knowledge the gap between research and practice
The Need to Impart Knowledge: The gap between research and practice
  • On the one hand, practice approaches may be several years behind research
    • Costs of implementation may be prohibitive
    • There may be political rather than scientific motives for not promoting an effective intervention (example: syringe exchange to reduce HIV infection)
  • On the other hand, effective clinical interventions may be widely used in the community years before a research grant is written, funded, intervention studied, data analyzed, and disseminated (often to a limited audience)
the gap between research and practice
The Gap Between Research and Practice
  • Scientific advances are not being incorporated into practice interventions (Conclusion of report, 1998, Institute of Medicine, U.S., Bridging the Gap Between Practice and Research)
  • Hypotheses:
    • Lack of ability to communicate to community stakeholders effectively
      • Few partnerships between academic researchers and policy makers to help communities see the benefits
    • Political barriers: Politicians may not be scientists
    • Science is increasing debunked because it is a threat to people of faith who may have political capital
research practice disconnection
Research-Practice Disconnection
  • Researchers/academics and practitioners in the community both have vast amounts of knowledge
    • Knowledge “explosion” and access to information through the internet
  • Often impossible for practitioners to keep up, even in their own field
  • Little research is being done to study how information can be disseminated: so-called “technology transfer”
research and practice a two way street
Research and Practice: A Two Way Street
  • Greater understanding is needed about the different cultures that exist:
    • Often a separate knowledge base from which we work (scientific versus personal or experiential) can be bridged
    • Terminology (scientific or vernacular) can be adapted
  • Academics need to get out into the field more
  • Community stakeholders need to be invited into the academy to share perspectives
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