Experts from Portugal, Norway, and the United States of America (USA) met last week at the Nursing School of Coimbra (ESEnfC), to discuss the possibility of creating an international b-learning course on participatory health research (PHR), involving several institutions and countries and providing opportunities for shared learning, exchange of ideas, and job shadowing.
The proposal results from the experience of training in this field which has been acquired within the scope of the Internal Collaboration for Participatory Health Research (ICPHR) consortium. An example of this is the PHR course which is already available in several countries and follows the same methodology. This is happening at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle (UK), the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Berlin (Germany), the University of Alberta (Canada), and ESEnfC (Portugal).
According to ESEnfC Professor Irma Brito, who is a member of ICPHR and responsible for PHR training within the consortium, this research paradigm “is increasingly useful in the social, health, and education areas”.
On 27 September 2017, at the Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing (UICISA: E), the meeting was attended by Márcia Cruz (Nursing School of Porto), Anne-Martha Utne Øygarden (Department of Nursing and Health Promotion in Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Irma Brito (ESEnfC), Payam Sheikhattari (Morgan State University, School of Community Health and Policy, Baltimore, USA), Ray Baylor (Ground Root Inc), Heidi M. Kvalvaag (Akershus University College, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, Oslo, Norway), and Fernando Wagner (University of Maryland, School of Social Work, Baltimore, USA) (all in the photo). Manuel Alves Rodrigues (scientific coordinator of UICISA: E), António Amaral (coordinator of the ESEnfC National and International Relations Office), and Fernando Mendes (psychologist and president of IREFREA Portugal) were also present.
Participatory Health Research (PHR) “aims to maximize the participation of people whose life, health/disease processes or work are the topic of research, at all stages of the research process”, says Irma Brito. That is, from the formulation of the research question and objective, the development of a research project, the selection of appropriate data collection and analysis methods to the implementation of the research, interpretation, and dissemination of results.
According to Irma Brito, “In health practices, we believe that it is important to engage people in the research process so as to facilitate the focus on the needs felt by the patients, but also on the real needs that are not experienced, which are two very important dimensions especially when it comes to health promotion”.