Gathering over 200 attendees and featuring more than 30 speakers, the Preventive Health Conference 2023 was a great success! With plenary keynote sessions, interactive breakout sessions, and lots of network opportunities, the conference proved to be a dynamic transdisciplinary hub of knowledge, collaboration, and inspiration.
Below you will find a quick recap of the day. Also, take a look at all photos, and find presentations at the end of the article.
Let’s start with a super quick video recap!
An important message to the audience
The morning commenced with a warm welcome from Martine van der Mast (programme director i4PH) and Roel Vermeulen (Scientific Director i4PH).They shared the importance of transdisciplinary collaborations to overcome persisting and increasing ‘wicked problems’ in the preventive health domain. As this theme resonated throughout the conference, their introduction created a solid foundation for the rest of the day.
Inequalities in Health
Two keynotes by Karien Stronks (Amsterdam UMC) and Patricia Heijdenrijk (Pharos) then shone a light on the enduring challenges of health inequalities. While Patricia showed us striking examples of inequalities in preventive healthcare, and pleaded for a more personalized approach, Karien showed us why the gaps keep widening. By using Chat GPT as her keynote companion, she show us how her research takes a novel approach. Through these keynotes, it became clear that a lot needs to be done to really make a change. This left the audience with a lot to discuss during the rest of the conference.
Engaging discussions with the audience
The keynotes were followed up by a fishbowl discussion in which Indre Kalinauskaite (UMCU), Ioulia Ossokina (TU/e) and Shai de la Fuente (UU) told about their respective research and experiences encompassing the approach towards the widening gap in health. The discussion than opened up to members of the audience, who were welcome to join the panel on stage. This led to a discussion in which the municipality of Wageningen and other researchers in the audience joined in.
Personal health measurement with technology
After a well deserved coffee break, Wijnand Ijsselsteijn (Tu/e) came to the stage. His insightful keynote tackled the intersection of technology and personal health measurement. With many very recognisable examples (from his own fitness level, the expectations of society towards what bodies should look like, to addressing people wearing smartwatches in the audience), he explored the nuances behind self-measurement. IJsselsteijn urged attendees to look beyond the numbers, and to be aware of the limitations of health data.
Ethical implications of using technology in preventive health
The keynote was followed up by a panel who further discussed the ethical implications of using technology in preventive health research. Emily Sullivan (UU), Patrik Hummel (TU/e), and Sam Muller (UMCU) made striking points about how every research project should have an ethics expert involved. Answering critical questions from the audience even added to their message of the need of more ‘unusual’ transdisciplinary collaborations.
Breakout sessions: Interactive transdisciplinary discussions
After lunchtime, in which the attendees were served by the wonderful Spelderholt students, time came to break out into smaller groups. Participants could attend four sessions, that were themed according to the institute 4 Preventive Health’s research lines. The sessions each started with presentations by researchers that are affiliated with the i4PH. While some received seed money to start up their projects, others are involved in nationally funded projects. They gave an important insight into what the work of the i4PH can do for researchers, and how it sparks new projects that help advancements in the preventive health realm.
After the presentations, the break out participants were asked to join various workshops, including discussing new ideas for collaborations, making poster pitches and brainstorming about specific wicked problems together. It lead to many new ideas and connections, which will for sure spark new transdisciplinary projects in future.
Do like monkeys do? Recognisable situations in collaboration
The last speaker of the day, Patrick van Veen (Apemanagement) showed the audience various examples of collaboration through the lens of the animal kingdom. With videos of his experiments with chimpanzees, he drew parallels between human and animal behaviour. And some of these were awfully close to how many of the attendees had experiences collaboration at times! With Patrick’s fun yet serious insights, we were left with a new perspective on transdisciplinary work.
A big thank you to all our speakers, attendees, poster presenters, student assistants, Jaarbeurs staff and Spelderholt staff for making this such a great conference. We are looking forward to seeing the collaborative outcomes of the conference and to welcoming you again next year!
Want to explore the presentations? Take a look at the links below:
- Het mag niet uitmaken waar je wieg heeft gestaan – Patricia Heijdenrijk
- On the perseverance of health inequalities – Karien Stronks
- Making sense of self-measurement: psychology and ethics of personal health -Wijnand Ijsselsteijn
- Monkey see, monkey do – Patrick van Veen