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Comparing public-health research priorities in Europe

DOI: 10.1186/1478-4505-7-17

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Abstract:

Public-health research includes population-level and health-system research, but not clinical or biomedical research. The study drew on data from three surveys undertaken through collaboration in SPHERE (Strengthening Public Health Research in Europe). There was participation of ministries in 18 of 28 (64% response) European countries, from 22 of 39 (56% response) member national associations of the European Public Health Association, and from 80 civil society health organisations (53% of members of the European Public Health Alliance)Public-health research fields included disease control, health promotion and health services. Ministries of health, rather than ministries of science or education, mostly took responsibility for public-health research: they reported varied but well-defined areas for research in relation to national health plans and programmes. National public health associations reported research priorities across most fields of public health, although with some European regional differences. Civil society health organisations prioritised health promotion research nationally, but also health services research internationally. There was less research reported on methods, such as modelling and economic analysis, wider determinants of health, and public-health interventions.Systematic collaboration between stakeholders across European countries would enhance knowledge and promote innovation to address contemporary public-health challenges.The contemporary goals for public health in Europe are to improve health through more effective programmes and to understand better the causes of continuing disease and disability [1]. Health in Europe is better than ever before, yet there remain substantial challenges of premature disease – with variations geographically, between social groups and for minorities – and care for an ageing population. And while cardiovascular disease, cancer and injuries are not overcome, new diseases of behaviour such as HIV/AIDS and obes

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