9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Public Health, Health Promotion and Risk I Building I, 1E2

Reporting on public health education and research capacity: a pilot

Background
Due to complex transformations and reforms in health care systems, it is important to be capable to manage new arising public health challenges. In some countries (like Austria) public health capacity - as described by the Australian New South Wales Health Department (NSW, 2001) ? is considered to be low. Consequently it is important to provide policy makers with information on capacity to encourage actions. Since public health reporting is supposed to be the basis for policy decisions, public health reports should also include information on public health capacity. Therefore the aim was to identify and test indicators to be used in public health reporting to describe public health capacity with a main focus on education and research on a provincial level.

Method
Based on the concept for capacity mapping of Mittelmark et al adequate indicators from the Health Research System Analysis Initiative were chosen and adapted to reflect public health education and research capacity. In a second step relevant institutions were identified via an internet based research. Telephone based interviews with representatives of the selected institutions were conducted. The data was finally analysed in qualitative and quantitative ways.

Results
To describe public health educational capacity indicators like the number of educational organisations, the number of lecturers and their qualification and number of students were used. In terms of research capacity following indicators were identified and adapted: the number of research institutions, of employed researchers, of publications and ways of financing research.

Conclusion
An extensive mapping analysis is according to Mittelmark et al ? especially in public health reporting - not possible. The method used in our study enabled us to give a rough indication of the public health capacity. For instance it was shown, that public health capacity is limited, since there was only one lecturer and researcher trained in public health identified in the analysed education and research institutions. However, the final quantity and quality of public health education and research capacity remains to be clearified. Indicators need further development and testing, especially in terms of getting a more complex insight into the contents of the curricula.