WHO Collaborating Centre for International Child & Adolescent Health Policy

Ongoing partnerships with WHO Collaborating Centre for International Child & Adolescent Health Policy, University of St Andrews' School of Medicine, and Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children study, to increase policy impact and knowledge exchange in child & adolescent health. 

The partnership has been in place since 2015 and is the first of its kind to bring together the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, the Excellence in Pediatrics Institute and the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Child and Adolescent Health Policy to build knowledge, foster dialogue and progress innovation in research and practice within the field of children and adolescent health.

About Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study

The World Health Organisation (WHO) designated the University of St Andrews' School of Medicine as its Collaborating Centre for International Child and Adolescent Health Policy (WHO CC) in October 2013. This prestigious appointment endorses the international research and policy-influencing work of the School's leading researchers in the field of population and behavioural health sciences. The WHO CC has several strands of work related to social determinants of health and prevention of health inequalities, reduction of youth violence, and prevention of risk behaviours such as drug use. Additionally, it seeks to use research to inform policy and practice aimed at improving young people's health, well-being, health behaviours, and supportive social contexts. In this regard, the WHO CC works closely with key stakeholders including the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study to increase its policy impact and knowledge exchange efforts.

The HBSC is an international alliance of researchers that collaborate on the WHO collaborative cross-national survey of school students, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children. Initiated in the early 1980's, the study collects data every four years on 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys' and girls' health and well-being, social environments and health behaviours. The research venture dates back to 1982 and shortly thereafter it was adopted by the WHO Regional Office for Europe as a collaborative study. HBSC now includes 44 countries and regions across Europe and North America. This collaboration brings in individuals with a wide range of expertise in areas such as clinical medicine, epidemiology, biology, pediatrics, pedagogy, psychology, public health, public policy, and sociology. The study has therefore involved cross-fertilization of a range of perspectives that has resulted in an innovative scientific framework which captures the contextual environment in which young people live thus allowing us to gain an insight into determinants and possible mediators and moderators of young people's health. As such, HBSC has earned a reputation as a unique provider of key internationally comparable statistics of the health and health-related behaviours of young people.

This conference is the first of its kind to bring together the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, the Excellence in Pediatrics Institute and the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Child and Adolescent Health Policy to build knowledge, foster dialogue and progress innovation in research and practice within the field of children and adolescent health. The HBSC study provides secular trends across countries for a wide variety of key measures within adolescent health. Pediatricians are in a unique position to critically examine this data, contextualise it, and use it to support and promote healthy behaviours in the young people they care for. The WHO CC can foster advocacy efforts to prioritise adolescent health issues and implement policy recommendations for national and international bodies. All in all, it will be an excellent opportunity to make research and data relevant to practitioners, as well as to better familiarise researchers with the challenges and opportunities of pediatric clinical practice. This event will provide a unique collaborative opportunity for key players in the adolescent health field to access and discuss international research findings on adolescent health, to consider current challenges and opportunities within pediatric clinical practice, and to find solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing young people today.

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