Published on June 13, 2013

New project: Learning Together for Better Health Outcomes

By Edward Andersson

Edward Andersson is European Associate for Involve and an established expert on methods of participatory decision making. He set up Participationcompass.org – one of Europe’s leading public engagement sites, and has advised a number of organisations on public engagement strategies, including the Home Office, the European Commission, the OECD, WHO Europe, UNDP Turkey and numerous Local Authorities and Health Trusts.

stethoscopeInvolve and the Professional Support Unit (PSU) (part of Shared Services of Health Education England)  have come together as partners to develop a programme of work around improving health and engagement practices, with a strong focus on developing the role and voice of service users (includes patients, the public, carers and other community-based groups). Public and patient involvement has a considerable history in the UK and beyond. For Involve, the project marks an interesting exploration of the role of co-production in changing professional education, research, and services.  It also highlights the importance of arts based approaches in participation. For PSU, the interest is in developing more creative approaches to improving communication and the use of information through dialogue between professionals, service user communities and organisations, to achieve better health outcomes that are more meaningful for the service users.

This joint project is targeted at professionals and teams working in health related organisations and projects (including their patients, carers, and service users) to address health issues. This project is about helping people work together to improve the quality of communication and information. We will do so through creative dialogue driven approaches to learning for changing health provision, policy, research and, or  professional practices, delivered through a series of participatory workshops.

Co-productive learning has been a growing field of practice over the last few years. As an ‘asset-based approach’ it works on the assumption that we all bring a set of valuable experiences, expertise and skills which can be developed and built upon to help improve our health, and the health of others. Such learning recognises all forms of expertise, but the process of creating meaningful dialogue between people with these different types of expertise can be challenging, for example where issues of power relationships need to be recognised.

Our project “Developing and Learning Together for Achieving Better Health through Dialogue” will use workshop sessions to explore and demonstrate innovative ways of co-producing learning together. It will draw on theory and practices from applied theatre, community development and adult education to make it easy and fun and in ways that mean you can start to make changes sooner, and not just later.

Involve’s  role will be to lead on the development of an online resource based on these workshops, working with its other partners,  workshop participants and wider network members, who will also provide substantive input. The resource will contain:

  • Stories of working together: challenging each other to improve experiences and outcomes
  • Information on:
    • Arts based approaches to creating dialogue, including applied theatre techniques
    • Group facilitation techniques
    • Participative enquiry and evaluation
    • Adult learning, community development and co-production models

If you are interested in finding out more about this project, its aims, and workshops please contact Edward@involve.org.uk and, or hament@ocp-ltd.com.

Image by ernstl

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