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Between research and teaching: identifying new competencies for Healthy Cities



Healthy Cities is one of the central themes addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals. The World Health Organization's new Urban Health Initiative creates a paradigm shift in health systems approaches by focusing on the urban environment as a prerequisite for healthy lifestyles-and disease prevention. In Europe, the Zagreb declaration pointed out its attention to strengthen and champion action on health through healthy cities networks. Architects and engineers play a strategic role in building this future and activating actions in key development sectors, like housing and transport, as well as in the settings where people live and work. This requires new professional figures with the hard and soft skills that stimulate urban transformation for healthier built environments. The paper discusses a methodological approach to identify the competencies to be acquired by future practitioners. It is developed within an ongoing Erasmus+ project 1 that represents the contextual field for testing the method in three Bosnian Universities. The article describes the methodology and its application. It starts with designing analysis' grids to evaluate how the topic is currently addressed, and it builds questionnaires to evaluate the students' awareness. Moreover, the research investigates stakeholders through organized seminars and surveys to understand the labor market and social needs. The paper suggests a strategy for setting up new courses for future architects, urban planners, and engineers, experts of the healthy urban environment. Testing the method in the Bosnian context, one of the main indications are the importance of innovative teaching methodologies integrated with the use of practical experience and laboratories. The method proposed is replicable for curriculum development in Higher Education, and it highlights how the research is a fundamental base for designing and teaching academic courses.
... This method is replicable for curriculum development in other higher education institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and any other country. It highlighted the importance of using research as a fundamental base for designing and teaching academic courses [8]. ...
This paper describes the results of the international Erasmus + project “HURBE: Healthy URBan Environment Developing Higher Education in Architecture and Construction in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The project consortium developed the curricula in Higher Education Institutions dealing with the field of healthy urban environment in the Faculties of Architecture and Construction in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project involves six universities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria. The main results include modernisation of the curriculum by developing new and innovative courses and installing new laboratories.
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Over the past decades, scientific medicine has realized tremendous advances. Yet, it is felt that the quality, costs, and equity of medicine and public health have not improved correspondingly and, both inside and outside the USA, may even have changed for the worse. An initiative for improving this situation is value-based healthcare, in which value is defined as health outcomes relative to the cost of achieving them. Value-based healthcare was advocated in order to stimulate competition among healthcare providers and thereby reduce costs. The approach may be well grounded economically, but in the care of patients, “value” has ethical and philosophical connotations. The restriction of value to an economic meaning ignores the importance of health and, thus, leads to misunderstandings. We postulate that a new understanding of the nature of health is necessary. We present the Meikirch model, a conceptual framework for health and disease that views health as a complex adaptive system. We describe this model and analyze some important consequences of its application to healthcare. The resources each person needs to meet the demands of life are both biological and personal, and both function together. While scientific advances in healthcare are hailed, these advances focus mainly on the biologically given potential (BGP) and tend to neglect the personally acquired potential (PAP) of an individual person. Personal growth to improve the PAP strongly contributes to meeting the demands of life. Therefore, in individual and public health care, personal growth deserves as much attention as the BGP. The conceptual framework of the Meikirch model supports a unified understanding of healthcare and serves to develop common goals, thereby rendering interprofessional and intersectoral cooperation more successful. The Meikirch model can be used as an effective tool to stimulate health literacy and improve health-supporting behavior. If individuals and groups of people involved in healthcare interact based on the model, mutual understanding of and adherence to treatments and preventive measures will improve. In healthcare, the Meikirch model also makes it plain that neither pay-for-performance nor value-based payment is an adequate response to improve person-centered healthcare. The Meikirch model is not only a unifying theoretical framework for health and disease but also a scaffold for the practice of medicine and public health. It is fully in line with the theory and practice of evidence-based medicine, person-centered healthcare, and integrative medicine. The model offers opportunities to self-motivate people to improve their health-supporting behavior, thereby making preventive approaches and overall healthcare more effective. We believe that the Meikirch model could induce a paradigm shift in healthcare. The healthcare community is hereby invited to acquaint themselves with this model and to consider its potential ramifications.
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Learner-centered environments effectively implement multiple teaching techniques to enhance students' higher education experience and provide them with greater control over their academic learning. This qualitative study involves an exploration of the eight reasons for learner-centered teaching found in Terry Doyle's 2008 book, Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment. Doyle's principles were investigated through the use of surveys, student focus group interviews, and faculty discussions to discover a deeper understanding of the effects a "learner-centered" teaching environment has on long term learning in comparison to a "teacher-centered" learning environment. These data revealed five primary themes pertaining to student resistance to learner-centered environments. The results assisted in the development of strategies educators can adopt for creating a successful learner-centered classroom.
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