Behavioural Sciences at CARPHA focuses on improving the health of the Caribbean population by informing the development, adaptation and monitoring of the impact of public health programming. The focus is on providing decision-makers, clinical staff, health promotion/education specialists and civil society (non-governmental, faith-based, and grass roots organizations) with tools that support evidence-based interventions and initiatives that aim to improve the health of the region’s populations.
In the past, the focus of initiatives, interventions and programmes that sought to change behaviours to obtain improved health outcomes was on the individual level. However, research has proven that improvement of a population’s health requires changes by the individual as influenced by formal and informal social networks, social institutions and organizations, communal relationships and public policy (Moore, et al, 2011; Mukoma & Fisher, 2004; Glasgow, 1999; Powson, 1997). Thus, a shift is needed in the manner in which decision-makers at the policy, community and organizational levels define and understand public health and the factors that influence behaviour change. Ultimately, factors that seek to improve population health by modifying behaviours at all levels of the socio-ecological model (see Figure 1) must be addressed. Behavioural science provides the foundation for understanding factors that influence behaviour change for positive health outcomes.
Figure 1. Socio-Ecological Model for health (McElroy et Al, 1988)
Theories from behavioural sciences (i.e. sociology, anthropology, economics, psychology and political science) are used to inform the design, adaptation, implementation and assessment of interventions, initiatives and related programme evaluations. Successful interventions, initiatives and programmes will address behaviour change at all levels of society as reflected by the socio-ecological model shown in Figure 1.
The areas of focus at CARPHA include:
- Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
- Vector borne diseases (VBD)
- Public health emergencies (disasters and outbreaks)
Generally, CARPHA has many opportunities to reduce incidence of many health conditions and improve the health of the population. Currently the main activities associated with Disease Prevention and Health Promotion are the following:
- Conducting VBD-related knowledge attitudes and practices (KAP) studies in 8 CMS.
- Developing, implementing and monitoring a public education campaign (PEC) for the prevention of VBD in one CMS.
- Providing technical support to a feasibility study for the development of a framework for implementing, Caribbean Moves, which is focused on the prevention of NCDs by promoting physical activity and healthy eating through exciting, fun and supportive programmes where people live, work, study and play; and the integration of culturally-sensitive community-specific health promotion activities and screening for NCDs and their risk factors.
- enhance health seeking behaviour of Caribbean populations.
- Implementing interventions and initiatives to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in CMS.
- Provide technical support to CMS and other regional partners.
- Conduct a rapid assessment of regional needs in Dissemination and Implementation Science with a twofold objective:
- to determine if data and information are being adequately disseminated through acceptable vehicles of communication. The areas most impacted are:
- Evidence-based communiques for policy development
- Health Promotion and Education Communications
- To determine short-term and long-term impact of regional Capacity building activities in laboratory services/operations and surveillance
- OECS Diabetes Prevention Campaign/Materials
- Trinidad and Tobago's Directory of Psycho-social Services for Sexual Health
Vector Borne Diseases
- Caribbean Cost Effectiveness Analysis Toolkit User’s Guide
- Trinidad and Tobago’s Directory of Psycho-social Services for Sexual Health
Public health emergencies (disasters and outbreaks)