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

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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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