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Open Access Promoting health through personal change in social networks: A German–Danish partnership

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The project Healthy in Everyday Life is a German–Danish partnership between local health promoters and researchers from the European University of Flensburg, Germany. The objective was to promote health opportunities at the local level by qualifying citizens as health mediators, who then become active in their neighbourhoods. It was implemented in the Danish municipalities of S√łnderborg and Aabenraa and the German city of Flensburg. The project processes were evaluated using participatory research methods. The project partners worked together transnationally on all stages of the project, from the recruitment of participants, to training, the development of the evaluation design and the appraisal of evaluation results. The evaluation consisted of three levels: (1) health changes on an individual level for participants; (2) impact on social environments and neighbourhoods; and (3) the transnational collaboration. This paper presents selected results. Positive developments in the health-related behaviour of the training participants were recorded. Primary networks, such as family relationships, were shown to be supportive resources. It was not possible to determine any impact on the neighbourhoods. The transnational collaboration was perceived as enriching. At the same time, there were challenges in involving the health professionals in the evaluation process, such as restricted time for joint reflection and a lack of research skills in the community practitioners. In conclusion, the project was successful in developing a health-promoting approach that received a strong response in the German and Danish municipalities involved.

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Keywords: COMMUNITY; HEALTH PROMOTION; PARTICIPATION; PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH; SOCIAL NETWORK PROMOTION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Engagement with research goes further than participation in it. Engaged individuals and communities initiate research, advise, challenge or collaborate with researchers. Their involvement is always active and they have a crucial influence on the conduct of the research.

    Research for All is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together. Contributors and readers are from both inside and outside of higher education. They include researchers, policymakers, managers, practitioners, community-based organizations, schools, businesses and the intermediaries who bring these people together. The journal highlights the potential in active public engagement for robust academic study, for the development of involved communities, and for the impact of research. It explores engagement with different groups and their cultures, and features theoretical and empirical analysis alongside authoritative commentary to explore a range of themes that are key to engaged research including the development of reciprocal relationships, sector-specific communication and participatory action research. The journal is co-sponsored by the UCL Institute of Education and the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

    The journal welcomes relevant articles. See the publication homepage for details, or contact [email protected]

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