By Dr. Abraham Rudnick, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.
How does health research contribute to a healthier, wealthier, smarter Ontario?
Health research contributes to a healthier, wealthier, smarter Ontario in many ways. Health research advances beneficial health-related innovations that are implemented in practice and have an impact on policy. Health research improves health across the age span in the general population and for particular populations, and reduces negative consequences of ill-health, such as disability related unemployment, so that individuals, organizations, communities and society at large benefit. Thus, health research optimizes individual and collective satisfaction and success, leading to happier and more productive people and societies. Health research helps both current and future generations, so that in addition to benefiting them directly, it can generate intra- and trans-generational solidarity within and across nations, which is a social end in itself. Health research also contributes to the personal growth of health researchers and of lay and other consumers of health research knowledge exchange, as health research is a social process and cultural product in itself, in addition to its health related benefits.
What does health research mean to you?
Health research is the study of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention related to health and related challenges, addressing individuals, organizations, communities, populations and other relevant units of reference. Health research involves basic science from all academic disciplines (exact sciences, life sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts and more), applied research across all systems (physical, chemical, psychological, social, and more), interested disciplines from health professions and many other occupations, and input from people with health challenges, their social supports, health care funders and policy makers, as well as many other stakeholders. Health research aims to prolong life expectancy when possible and acceptable, reduce suffering and dysfunction related to health challenges, improve health care effectiveness, safety, person-centeredness, efficiency and sustainability, promote health awareness across all constituents and address social and other determinants of health. Health research uses various theoretical frameworks and paradigms, such as deductive, participatory, action-oriented and other approaches, and many established, promising and emerging methods, such as experimental, quantitative, qualitative, normative and other means of inquiry.
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