Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam: a valuable advisory board meeting.

On March 25-27 I attended a meeting between the external advisory board of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) with the LASA researchers to discuss progress, opportunities and challenges related to LASA and to advise on LASA’s future.
The LASA meeting started on Wednesday late afternoon with a dinner and post-dinner poster presentations, showing the width and depth of the LASA-related research projects. On Thursday the different general themes within LASA were presented, i.e. physical functioning, cognitive functioning, emotional functioning and social functioning. Presentations of the senior staff of LASA were followed by brief discussions. At the end of the day, the Advosry Board, chaired by Cornelius Katona, Honorary Professor at the Department of Mental Health Sciences of University College London, prepared their preliminary report that was presented and discussed on Friday morning.
In their preliminary report, the advisory board expressed great enthusiasm about the focus, scientific output and societal impact of the LASA study, and provided some strong first recommendations to further enhance the project. One of the main recommendations to the LASA team was to make as much use of the Interdisciplinary nature and possibilities of the LASA study and data, i.e. to encourage collaboration and mutual enrichment between the different research themes. An important recommendation to the LASA 'paymasters', i.e. the Ministry of Health and the VU University and the VU University Medical Center, is to start regarding LASA as crucial infrastructure in stead of 'just' a project.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

An expert meeting to help to define a research agenda for midwifery research

On Friday March 19 the Science Advisory Committee of the Netherlands Royal Society of Midwifes organised an expert meeting as an important step in defining a research agenda for midwifery research. Approximately 50 midwifes, leaders of the midwifery schools in the Netherlands, and other key stakeholders met in Utrecht. Based on the results of a inventory made before the meeting, and chaired by professor Koos van der Velden, professor and head of the department of Public health at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, a three phased discussion was held. Six preliminary research priorities were indentified. These research themes will now be further explored and defined by the Science Advisory Committee.
The meeting in Utrecht once more made clear that there is a great need for research in the field of midwifery to build a stronger evidence base for present midwifery practice and for further innovation of the field.
The Deliver study, a national midwifery study that is now being launched by the The Professional Midwifery Education Foundation in conjunction with NIVEL (Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research) and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research.