Knowledge for Change – Opportunities for Multi-disciplinary Placements in Global Health

Knowledge for Change (K4C) is a UK and Ugandan registered NGO that supports systems-change through capacity-building in Uganda. We run a number of high-profile projects at any one time, grounded in active relationships with Fort Portal Health Sciences University, Kabarole Health District, local schools and NGOs in Uganda. The work is constantly evolving as new interventions emerge. We are also very happy to respond to any ideas or interest students have.

Relevant projects for 2022 and beyond

Rehabilitation For People with Limb Loss and Damage: What do People with Disabilities Want and How do we meet their needs?

In February 2022 K4C will open the first Rehabilitation Centre for People with Physical Disabilities in a Ugandan public hospital. The Centre is attached to the orthopaedic workshop. We are also opening a virtual learning centre on the premises with resources to develop user-engagement and are very keen to find out what people with limb loss and damage in Uganda know about service availability and how they experience artificial limbs provided by our team at the workshop.

We have 2 staff at K4C who have direct experience of limb loss and would be keen to work with you in this area.

What is the Role of Foreigners and Foreign Aid in International Development? How do student placements benefit Uganda and Norway?

This is an underlying theme that underpins all the work K4C is involved with. It concerns the human resource dynamics of international programs including student placements. Previous work undertaken by K4C has been published (see below).

We are continuing to develop this work and a Salford University PhD students will be part of the team based in Uganda and able to support you in this area of work. Or work so far has focused on the Uganda-UK context. Maybe you would be interested to explore Norwegian policy and practice in this area?

Mobile Professional Voluntarism and International Development: Killing Me Softly? (2017 – Open Access)

The Ethics of Educational Healthcare Placements in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: First Do No Harm? (2017 – Open Access)

Healthcare, Frugal Innovation and Professional Voluntarism: A Cost-Benefit Analysis (2017 – Open Access)

Educating Girls in Uganda

Girls have always had second place when it comes to deciding who to educate in families in Uganda. COVID-19 has had a major impact on children’s education with children out of school for over 2 years; one of the longest school lock downs in the world.

What are the consequences of this for girls? In terms of their education (will many never return?)

Much of the health education in Uganda around HIV, reproductive health and cervical cancer prevention (through HPV vaccination) takes place through primary schools. What impact has lock down had on pregnancy rates, incidences of rape and disease prevention?

We are currently working with a team of colleagues on this issue including work with 2 ‘Senior Women’ – teachers with the specific responsibility for health education.

Are you interested to explore some of these impacts and ways of improving girls’ education with school and/or ways of meeting their needs outside of the formal school environment?

Attitudes to Medicines and Increasing Preferences for Intravenous Medication

K4C has done a lot of work in recent years on the growing problem of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). AMR is becoming one of the most significant global threats as overuse of antibiotics reduces their effectiveness. In the future more people will die from simple infections. Antibiotic overuse in Uganda will have an immediate impact on the health of people in Norway and the UK.

Anti-Microbial Resistance in Global Perspective | SpringerLink: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-62662-4
Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to the well-being of patients and health systems the world over. In fragile health systems so challenged, on a day-today basis, by the overwhelming burden of both infectious and non-communicable disease, it is easy to overlook the impacts of AMR.

This is not a problem just for clinicians. We need to understand why it is that people want to consume so many antibiotics? In Uganda you can simply buy them in shops. We are staring to find that the public have a preference for IV antibiotics, and many are having such treatment unnecessarily. Why is that?

You will see children playing in the streets with IV lines in their hands. Is this not a cause of infection for them?

One of our team has been working on public preferences for IV antibiotics so we can learn more about why the public in Uganda are so keen to take antibiotics and, why they prefer IV antibiotics.

Supervision and Support

Students would be supervised by actively engaged staff at the University of Salford, supported by Salford’s doctoral researchers, K4C Professional Volunteers and Ugandan professionals (including a dedicated Placement Manager) on the ground in Uganda. Students will have the option to spend 2-4 weeks in the Knowledge and Place Research Group prior to their empirical work in Uganda and/or a period with the group on their return to support data analysis and writing up.

Email: H.L.Ackers@Salford.ac.uk

Websites:
www.Knowledge4Change.org.uk
www.Salford.ac.uk/research/care/ research-groups/knowledge-and-place

Phone/Whatsapp: +44 (0) 161 7977409985
Twitter: ‘@K4C_Uganda’
Facebook: ‘Knowledge4Change

WEST: Sustainable societies in the 21st century: From welfare states to eco-social states, project 2: The ecological dilemma of the Norwegian welfare state

We would be pleased to supervise students who are interested in this key contemporary policy dilemma and would like to analyse the preconditions for achieving a successful reconciliation or balancing of social and ecological objectives. 

Background

On the one hand, Norway is known for its generous and inclusive welfare policies. On the other hand, as an affluent society with high levels of material consumption and with state finances supported by huge past and present revenues from oil and gas production, the country faces a strong moral obligation to do its fair share to combat global warming.

The implementation of costly measures to reduce domestic climate gas emissions and initiatives to phase-out highly profitable oil and gas-related industries would appear to threaten the financial sustainability of popular welfare policies and the material wellbeing of the population in general and, potentially, the economically weaker segments in particular. Hence, concerns for social welfare in the contemporary national context are potentially at odds with globally oriented ethical arguments and global and intergenerational ecological concerns.

Project description

WEST approaches the ecological dilemma of the Norwegian welfare state in three thematically distinct work packages that students may contribute to with their dissertations.   

  • Work Package (WP) 1 asks why an eco-social transition is justified or even a moral obligation in the Norwegian case. We will study the normative arguments around Norway’s obligation towards present and future generations domestically and abroad given its position as an affluent nation whose wealth is in part built on fossil fuel production. We discuss how – from a transnational as well as domestic perspective – the concern for future citizens’ welfare might come at the expense of opportunities for people living today, leading to tensions between current and future generations.
  • WP 2 asks what is the scope for policy change in an eco-social direction? Based on the assumption that popular attitudes matter for the possibilities of political action and that this is a crucial factor in shaping the direction of climate and social policy, we use data from Norwegian Monitor to examine the developments of public acceptance of different policy measures in the ecological and social spheres over time as well as investigate patterns of interactions and co-variation of preferences towards policies in the two spheres among individuals with different socioeconomic and political backgrounds.
  • WP3 asks how the European Union’s European Green Deal strategy and especially the idea of a ‘just transition’ (European Commission, 2019) is relevant for and could affect Norwegian social and labour market policy and the design of the Norwegian welfare state?

Methods and data:

Under both perspectives 1 and 2 described above, students will develop their dissertation topics and research designs in collaboration with the supervisor(s). Dissertations may be based on both qualitative and quantitative methods and data, depending on the chosen thematic focus. Examples of potential qualitative data include official government documents, political party programmes, stakeholder position papers, expert interviews.

Quantitative data could, for instance, be aggregate comparative statistical indicators from Eurostat, OECD, the UN and/or other international and/or national sources, cross-nationally comparative or national individual opinion survey data (including the European Social Survey, Eurobarometer, the International Social Survey Programme).

Potential supervisors (subject to availability and dissertation topic)

Mi Ah Schoyen, NOVA

Marianne Takle, NOVA

Axel West Pedersen, NOVA/SAM

Therese Dokken, NOVA

We also collaborate with researchers from CICERO in Oslo, the University of Tübingen, Germany and the University of Southampton, UK.

Contact person: We encourage potentially interested students to contact Mi Ah Schoyen (miah.schoyen@oslomet.no) as soon as possible and to submit a short outline (1-2 pages) of preliminary ideas along with a brief CV by March 15 2022.

Presentation as PDF:

WEST: Sustainable societies in the 21st century: From welfare states to eco-social states, Project 1: Cross-national comparative or supranational analyses

We offer supervision to MA students who would like to study the welfare state-climate change nexus, from a cross-national comparative and/or supranational European perspective.  

Background

Since the 1970s European societies have undergone significant transformation. Labour markets and family structures have become more instable. International economic competition associated with globalisation have intensified, and the consequences of expected demographic trends have put social protection systems and eldercare under pressure. These developments have underpinned the emergence of new kinds of social risks. Therefore, in the 1990s and the 2000s much of the comparative welfare state literature was concerned with how welfare states could and should respond to these changes. The sustainability of advanced welfare states was at stake, but this challenge was mainly couched in social and economic terms.

Two decades into the new millennium the mentioned challenges of population ageing, instable labour markets and family structures have not disappeared. Nonetheless, the question of sustainability in the context of European welfare states can no longer be reduced to a matter of balancing long-term fiscal and social concerns. In the 21st century it should be commonplace for social policy scholarship to include the ecological dimension when discussing the sustainability of modern welfare states.

Project

Examples of questions and themes that could be further developed in a thesis include (but are not limited to):

  • The politics of eco-social policy: What social, ecological and economic interests and associated actor constellations are mobilised in the political struggles over the ‘green’ transition at national and/or European level? How and why do these differ across countries and with what consequences for policy output?
  • The political potential for reforms that push welfare states in a ‘sustainable’ direction, including studies of popular attitudes, political party/electoral manifestos or elite discourses.
  • Are some welfare models or varieties of capitalism better at balancing long-term ecological and contemporary social concerns. If so, what are the mechanisms driving differential policy performances?
  • What is the significance of factors like inequality and distribution in different types of welfare states? Under which institutional conditions do they hamper or facilitate the development of balanced eco-social policy agendas? 
  • There is a knowledge gap regarding the implications of climate change and mitigation for the social risks against which traditional welfare states are designed to protect, such as poverty. Related to this, are the ‘old’ tools and institutions of social protection sufficient to meet the social challenges linked to climate change/climate policy? What implications do climate change have for the funding of future welfare programmes?

Methods and data:

Students will develop their dissertation topics and research designs in collaboration with the supervisor(s). Dissertations may be based on both qualitative and quantitative methods and data, depending on the chosen thematic focus. Examples of potential qualitative data include official government documents, political party programmes, stakeholder position papers, expert interviews.

Quantitative data could, for instance, be aggregate comparative statistical indicators from Eurostat, OECD, the UN and/or other international and/or national sources, cross-nationally comparative or national individual opinion survey data (including the European Social Survey, Eurobarometer, the International Social Survey Programme).

Potential supervisors (subject to availability and dissertation topic)

Mi Ah Schoyen, NOVA

Marianne Takle, NOVA

Axel West Pedersen, NOVA/SAM

Therese Dokken, NOVA

We also collaborate with researchers from CICERO in Oslo, the University of Tübingen, Germany and the University of Southampton, UK.

Contact person: We encourage potentially interested students to contact Mi Ah Schoyen (miah.schoyen@oslomet.no) as soon as possible and to submit a short outline (1-2 pages) of preliminary ideas along with a brief CV by March 15 2022.

Download the presentation as pdf here:

CEDIC: ‘Homebound’ children and their use of technology to reconnect with school

Are you interested in social, ethical, political or legal issues concerning digital citizenship and the digitalization of the public sector?

CEDIC is an Excellent Academic Environment at OsloMet with the mission to produce groundbreaking research, provide training and advancement of mid- and early-stage researchers, and provide a fertile student environment for PhD and MA students. MA students who work on projects for CEDIC will be members of and participate in a multidisciplinary research team.

Research Centre for Digitalisation of Public Services and Citizenship (CEDIC) – OsloMet

Background

The welfare state is undergoing an unprecedented structural transformation with increasing digitization of public services. These technological transformations have the potential to relocate life chances in ways that are likely to be asymmetrical in terms of who are able to benefit from them, raising concerns of access, de-humanization, effectiveness, equity, service provision and precision.

CEDIC aims to produce new knowledge about how the digitalization of public services impact different groups, such as the elderly, ethnic minority groups, persons with disabilities, and claimants and beneficiaries of means-tested social assistance. We combine sociological, psychological, philosophical, technical, legal and human rights perspectives, and are interested in how the provision of digital social services across the different welfare regimes of Europe.

Project description

Recent decades have seen increased interest in ‘homebound’ children, who are unable to attend school because of symptoms, treatments or recovery from illness. In becoming homebound, a child is removed from a social context that constitutes four to six hours of their daily lives. This can lead to both educational and social setbacks, with the child becoming likely to fall behind in instruction, feel isolated from their peers, and experience loneliness and depression.

One promising development for homebound children is the recent advances in communication technologies. A key example is the piloting of telepresence robots in an increasing number of schools. Telepresence robots are video conferencing devices fitted onto remote-controlled robots, allowing homebound children to communicate with peers and navigate a remote environment autonomously.

We invite MA students to explore what telepresence robots and similar technologies can – and cannot – offer students who are homebound for illness-related reasons. Possible projects can include:

  1. Reanalysis of interviews with AV1 users: We have already conducted 160 interviews with homebound children, teachers, healthcare workers and other stakeholders of the telepresence robot AV1. These data are rich in details on various user experiences with AV1 and can easily be used for a qualitative MA thesis.
  2. Different experiences by different groups: One pressing issue is how AV1 (and similar technologies) offers different benefits and challenges for different user groups. For instance, while we know relatively much about how the robot is used by children with cancer or chronic fatigue syndrome, studies have only begun to look at how telepresence robots are used by children who suffer from ‘school avoidance’ (skolevegring) in relation to social anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, or similar disabilities. The few interviews we have done on school avoidance suggests that telepresence robots can be particularly useful for this user group; however, we need more knowledge on exactly how, for whom, and to what extent the robot can be beneficial for these users.
  3. How telepresence technology is regulated: Telepresence robots have yet to be fully recognized by the public services. Their legal status is often unclear, and authorities have yet to decide on how the use of telepresence robots relates to issues such as privacy, rights to participation, etc. Moreover, as telepresence robots have yet to be recognized as part of any formal public support scheme, their use is limited to those individuals who have the funds to acquire one privately (or through charities or similar organizations). We need more knowledge on how such political, legal and bureaucratic issues impact on the use and non-use of telepresence technologies.

Data sources: We can provide access to some of the 160 interviews with users, teachers, healthcare workers and other stakeholders of AV1. We are also interested in students who can gather new material, either through reviewing existing research, studying political documents, or interviewing health- and social care workers. Other suggestions are of course welcome.

Number of students: 1-3 students

Contact persons:

Research assistant Maria Lokna: marialok@oslomet.no

Professor Rune Halvorsen: rune.halvorsen@oslomet.no

Professor Marit Haldar: marit.haldar@oslomet.no

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CEDIC: Implementation of web accessibility regulations in the EU member states

Are you interested in social, ethical, political or legal issues concerning digital citizenship and the digitalization of the public sector?

CEDIC is an Excellent Academic Environment at OsloMet with the mission to produce groundbreaking research, provide training and advancement of mid- and early-stage researchers, and provide a fertile student environment for PhD and MA students. MA students who work on projects for CEDIC will be members of and participate in a multidisciplinary research team.

Research Centre for Digitalisation of Public Services and Citizenship (CEDIC) – OsloMet

Background

The welfare state is undergoing an unprecedented structural transformation with increasing digitization of public services. These technological transformations have the potential to relocate life chances in ways that are likely to be asymmetrical in terms of who are able to benefit from them, raising concerns of access, de-humanization, effectiveness, equity, service provision and precision.

CEDIC aims to produce new knowledge about how the digitalization of public services impact different groups, such as the elderly, ethnic minority groups, persons with disabilities, and claimants and beneficiaries of means-tested social assistance. We combine sociological, psychological, philosophical, technical, legal and human rights perspectives, and are interested in how the provision of digital social services across the different welfare regimes of Europe.

Project description

The Web Accessibility Directive was adopted by the European Union in 2016.  The directive provides persons with disabilities with better access to websites and mobile apps of public services. How has the directive been implemented in Norway (or a different European country)? What have been the issues at stake? Which mechanisms and processes (“factors”) have influences on how the directive has been implemented? What do we know about the output or outcomes of the directive? Which enforcement mechanisms are in place? How effective has the directive been in promoting web accessibility in Norway (or a different European country)?

Possible data sources: policy documents and position papers from national public authorities, the parliament, and stakeholders (e.g. Digitaliseringsdirektoratet, LDO, NHO and organisations persons with disabilities in Norway). Expert or stakeholder interviews are also relevant data sources. 1-2 students (the student studying the case of Norway should be fluent in Norwegian)

Number of students: 1-2 students (the student studying the case of Norway should be fluent in Norwegian)

Contact persons:

Research assistant Maria Lokna: marialok@oslomet.no

Professor Rune Halvorsen: rune.halvorsen@oslomet.no

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CEDIC: Social regulation of web accessibility in the EU

Are you interested in social, ethical, political or legal issues concerning digital citizenship and the digitalization of the public sector?

CEDIC is an Excellent Academic Environment at OsloMet with the mission to produce groundbreaking research, provide training and advancement of mid- and early-stage researchers, and provide a fertile student environment for PhD and MA students. MA students who work on projects for CEDIC will be members of and participate in a multidisciplinary research team.

Background

The welfare state is undergoing an unprecedented structural transformation with increasing digitization of public services. These technological transformations have the potential to relocate life chances in ways that are likely to be asymmetrical in terms of who are able to benefit from them, raising concerns of access, de-humanization, effectiveness, equity, service provision and precision.

CEDIC aims to produce new knowledge about how the digitalization of public services impact different groups, such as the elderly, ethnic minority groups, persons with disabilities, and claimants and beneficiaries of means-tested social assistance. We combine sociological, psychological, philosophical, technical, legal and human rights perspectives, and are interested in how the provision of digital social services across the different welfare regimes of Europe.

Project description

The Web Accessibility Directive was adopted by the European Union in 2016.  The directive provides persons with disabilities with better access to websites and mobile apps of public services. It took more than a decade to negotiate the content of the directive. What was the original position of the Commission and how did the negotiations influence on the final directive?

Possible data sources

Policy documents and position papers from the Commission services, the European Parliament, stakeholders such as Business Europe and the European Disability Forum, and the member states. Expert or stakeholder interviews are also relevant data sources.

Number of students: 1 student

Contact person: Professor Rune Halvorsen: rune.halvorsen@oslomet.no

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CEDIC: Digitale familieliv / Digital Family Life

English description below

En av flere overordnede satsninger ved Institutt for sosialfag er området digitalisering av velferdstjenester. Miljøet CEDIC (Research Centre for Digitalisation of Public Services and Citizenship) har i dag mange prosjekter på gang, og flere tema i arbeid. Et av de brede områdene vi jobber med å utvikle problemstillinger på, er digitalisering og familie. Foreløpig er paraplyen av prosjekter på dette feltet ganske stor og dekker mange spørsmål. Så her kan en student bidra med å stake ut kursen for videre forskning på digitale familieliv med en god masteroppgave.

Randi Wærdahl, er professor ved Institutt for sosialfag, med interesse for mellom annet familie og oppvekst, foreldreskap, kjønn, sosial ulikhet, migrasjon og velferd.  Randi er først og fremst interessert i noen som kan utvikle en problemstilling innenfor en forståelse av familie som praksis, for eksempel framsyning (display: Finch 2009) og representasjoner av familier i sosiale medier, digitale foreldrepraksiser og forhandling om foreldreskap online (i blogger, diskusjonsforum e.l.). Andre problemstillinger innenfor nye digitale intimiteter (se f.eks. Jamieson 1998) eller nye familiekonfigurasjoner, overganger og transformasjoner (se f.eks. Widmer 2010) gjennom det digitale, er også aktuelt.

Jeg er også åpen for å diskutere problemstillinger knyttet til pågående diskusjoner om å publisere eller ikke publisere bilder av barn på sosiale medier. 

Studenten må selv samle sammen empiri og søke NSD om bruken av denne, men med god støtte fra veileder. I et slikt prosjekt kan det brukes datamateriale tilgjengelig fra nettet, og vil sammen ha grundige diskusjoner rundt hva som kan brukes som empiri og hvordan studenten får tilgang til foreliggende data på en forskningsmessig forsvarlig måte.

Prosjektet er aktuelt for alle studieretningene: Sosialt arbeid, barnevern, familiebehandling eller ‘international social welfare and health policy’, men problemstillingene vil sannsynligvis være litt ulike gitt den studieretning en har valgt. Det beste ville være om 2-3 studenter var interessert i denne type problemstillinger, slik at de kunne utgjøre en liten forskergruppe sammen, ledet av meg, men med støtte i hverandre.

Her finner du mer om Randi Wærdahl:  https://www.oslomet.no/om/ansatt/randwa/

Og her finner du CEDIC:  https://www.oslomet.no/en/cedic

Kontaktperson: Randi Wærdahl randwa@oslomet.no

——————————-

One of the areas that our department has paid special attention to over the last years, is digitalisation of welfare services. CEDIC is an umbrella for many projects in the field. Now we are trying to strengthen the research portfolio with projects in the area of digitalisation and the family- As this is still a broad area, a student can here have a chance to influence the ways we will narrow down the field for research in our group through a good master thesis. 

My name is Randi Wærdahl, and I am a professor at the department, with an interest in families, parenting, childhood, gender, social inequalities, migration and social welfare among other things. I also have a particular interest in innovative methods.

For this project I am interested in someone who can develop a research question within a framework of understanding family as a practice, e.g. as family display (Janet Finch) representations of family life on social media, digital parenting practices and negotiation of parenting online through parenting fora, blogs etc.  I will also welcome project that draw on theories of new digital intimacies (see e.g. Jamieson 1998) in forming and sustaining families and family relations, from dating and mating, to digital childcare. Last, but not least, projects that explore new family configurations (see e.g. Widmer), transitions and transformations of the family through digital practices, is welcomed. Or, if you have a project cutting across all the above ideas. Your academic fantasy is the limit, so if you can argue that your project relates to digital family life, I will take it into consideration.

There is no collected or limited material present for this project (yet), but lots of it is available online. We will indeed discuss what can be used as data, how to access them in an ethical and researchable way. The students will decide on their own data and apply NSD for the use of them, with support from the supervisor. I supervise on all master specialisations in the Department, including ‘international social welfare and health policy’. Ideally 2-3 students with similar interest could form a research group, supported by me, and with access to recourses such as meetings and lectures on the CEDIC platform. But individual students are welcome, if a group is not possible.

This is me:  https://www.oslomet.no/om/ansatt/randwa/

This is CEDIC:  https://www.oslomet.no/en/cedic

Contact person: Randi Wærdahl randwa@oslomet.no

CEDIC: Understanding the rollout of digital social services

Are you interested in social, ethical, political or legal issues concerning digital citizenship and the digitalization of the public sector?

CEDIC is an Excellent Academic Environment at OsloMet with the mission to produce groundbreaking research, provide training and advancement of mid- and early-stage researchers, and provide a fertile student environment for PhD and MA students. MA students who work on projects for CEDIC will be members of and participate in a multidisciplinary research team.

Research Centre for Digitalisation of Public Services and Citizenship (CEDIC) – OsloMet

Background

The welfare state is undergoing an unprecedented structural transformation with increasing digitization of public services. These technological transformations have the potential to relocate life chances in ways that are likely to be asymmetrical in terms of who are able to benefit from them, raising concerns of access, de-humanization, effectiveness, equity, service provision and precision.

CEDIC aims to produce new knowledge about how the digitalization of public services impact different groups, such as the elderly, ethnic minority groups, persons with disabilities, and claimants and beneficiaries of means-tested social assistance. We combine sociological, psychological, philosophical, technical, legal and human rights perspectives, and are interested in how the provision of digital social services across the different welfare regimes of Europe.

Project description

The rollout of digital social services differs widely across Europe. Some countries with more fragile social infrastructure, for example Spain, or Estonia, are the leaders in this rollout, whereas other countries that have previously been held in high esteem for their coordinated form of capitalism, such as Germany, are lagging behind.

Why do we find these variations across Europe? How have the digital social services been rolled out in Norway (or a different country you are more familiar with)? Who are the political actors involved in the rollout of digital services? Who are the actors implementing these changes? How do different communities respond?

We are looking for MA students with an interest in understanding the purpose and effects of the digital transformation of welfare state services, e.g. for socio-economic, generational or regional inequalities. We welcome MA theses analyzing these developments at the EU, national or local (municipality) level. Analysis of policy developments in non-European countries are also welcome

Possible data sources: policy documents, expert interviews, The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), UK Consumer Digital Index 2021

Number of students: 1-2 students

Contact persons:

Research assistant Maria Lokna: marialok@oslomet.no

Professor Rune Halvorsen: rune.halvorsen@oslomet.no

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Arts therapies for chronic pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Considering that arts therapies are used in a diverse range of types, for different age and gender groups, and settings (individual, family, group, society), and the fact that chronic pain is a multidimensional disease with physical, mental, and societal aspects, this master project is relevant for students with interests in mental health work, social work, and family therapy.

Background and purpose:

Chronic pain is a prevalent, complex, and distressing health problem that affects 20% of the population and is ranked among the top 10 causes of disability. Chronic pain not only influences the patient’s daily personal and professional activities and quality of life, but also the family and social circle. Lack of productivity and sick leave due to chronic pain is common and result in excessive economic burden. Chronic pain is often comorbid with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, draining health care resources.

Treatment of chronic pain is challenging and remains an unmet medical need. This has been partly explained by a lack of understanding of chronic pain mechanisms and the fact that it is influenced by numerous factors, such as biological, psychological, and societal factors. Current treatments for chronic pain include strategies using pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches. A trend of growing interest is seen towards the use of latter methods, including art therapies that can deliver individually, in a group format, together with family, in private or public.

Several types of arts therapies exist, for example, visual art therapy, dance-movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, and bibliotherapy. The literature presents the effects of arts therapies in the improvement of physical, psychosocial, and societal aspects of chronic pain. However, some studies fail to present beneficial effects. Controversies may stem from different methods applied for investigation (qualitative, quantitative), type of intervention (active, passive), study population (children, adults, elderly), and specific pain conditions (dominant in females or males). In addition, underlying mechanisms for effect or lack of effect remain poorly understood.

Some studies have only included patients, and families, while others have taken into account the role of therapists and researchers’ perspectives. Our group is interested in initiating new research in arts therapies for chronic pain. However, to justify and design proper evidence-based research, the first step is to gain an existing overview. Therefore, the purpose of this master project is to perform a systematic review, followed by a meta-analysis to be published later.

Methods:

Students who join this project will attain a deep methodological insight. To fulfill the aim of this master project these steps are followed: 1) a study protocol will be formulated to guide the execution of the systematic review and meta-analysis. The protocol will be registered at PROSPERO. 2) the Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines will be used to conduct the systematic review. 3) Data extraction will be performed and summary tables of the primary and secondary outcomes will be presented. A meta-analysis will be completed and results will be discussed. Person and sensitive data will not be used at any stage of data collection, analysis, or presentation process, hence, this study does not require ethical approval.

Maximum number of students: 2

Contact information: Parisa Gazerani, Pharm D, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Life Sciences and Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University https://www.oslomet.no/en/about/employee/parisaga/ and https://vbn.aau.dk/en/persons/106148

Please also note the project team: Kristin Benedicte Svendsen, Kåre Rønn Richardsen, Mimmu Rankanen, Hans Lund, Parisa Gazerani.

Consent: Human Rights and Child Protection (OsloMet / University of Cluj)

What the project is about

Human rights and child protection will be a sub-project to a large research-project named CONSENT: Cosmopolitan Turn and Democratic Sentiments. It is a bilateral project between Romania and Norway that investigates to what extent and in what way child protection services are rights-based in the two respective countries. We ask what policy-makers think, legislators, professionals working in child protection and the population, and explore how they reflect on the meaning of rights. The aim is to acquire a richer understanding of what human rights entail and what it does not entail.

Suggestions for MA-students

The focus is on child protection services and the rights that children carry. How are they enforced in Romania and Norway respectively? How are children included in decision-making? How is the child´s interests a central focal point of decision-making and so on. The list is long.

Access to data

Interview-reports of policy-makers and stakeholders in both Romania and Norway, Nation-wide surveys, and access to document data.

It is relevant for Social Work, Child Welfare, and International Social welfare and Health Policy.

Supervision will be done in groups, but with individual feedback. One English group and one Norwegian group. Students must commit to write article-based masters.  

The project group has one team in Norway and one in Romania. The team in Romania is situated at the University of Cluj, whereas the Norwegian team is both at OsloMet and University of Bergen. Contact asgerer@oslomet.no  – https://consent-project.org/en

Contact person: Asgeir Falch-Eriksen: asgerer@oslomet.no

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