Newswise — Two University of Kansas professors were prime movers behind an internet-based health promotion initiative launched by the Pan American Health Organization (PAH0), the regional arm of the United Nations World Health Organization (WH0), on November 7 in Washington, D.C.
That’s because the group of researchers led by Stephen Fawcett, Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Professor of Professor of Applied Behavioral Science, and Jerry Schultz, assistant research professor, is a designated WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, one of only a dozen in the Americas.
The KU researchers helped develop the PAHO/WHO Guide for Documenting Health Promotion Initiatives, the framework for the organization’s Virtual Community on Health Promotion. This online system will collect, organize and disseminate how people – from individuals to national health agencies - are promoting health locally, regionally and nationally in the Americas.
“The goal is to expand the evidence base for how communities create conditions for health and health equity in the Americas,” said Fawcett. “The resulting database will also be invaluable for research since it will make more visible such efforts from Latin America.”
This effort draws from the KU group’s 16-year experience developing the Community Tool Box (CTB), a free global resource for building healthy communities with more than 350,000 unique users and more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance..
The CTB site houses the Guidelines in English and Spanish to the PAHO/WHO Guide developed by the KU group when pilot testing suggested that very concrete instructions would help more people from grassroots groups participate in the initiative.
Fawcett, Schultz, and colleagues also helped build the Virtual Course on Health Promotion, a mandatory course on health promotion for all PAHO staff in headquarters and country offices that has multiple links to CTB resources.
“As a WHO Collaborating Centre, we have the privilege of learning and contributing with others about how to build healthy communities, locally and globally,” said Fawcett.