Woman in Global Health Webinar Series 3: Intervention Development Research

On 28th February 2023, the Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Practice (CEBP), Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya and the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore organised the third Women in Global Health Webinar Series titled Intervention Development Research. This session was held in a hybrid session from 12.00 pm to 1.00 pm MYT/SGT at the SPM Conference Room, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.

The focus of the webinar was on developing interventions to tackle complex social issues such as human trafficking and child labour. The discussion centred on the fact that few interventions addressing such problems are developed using robust research to inform their designs before prototypes are proposed and evaluations are commissioned. Additionally, little time and money are invested in research and development (R&D) for complex social interventions when compared to pharmaceutical or medical technology.

The webinar addressed the question of what R&D methods should be used to generate evidence to design complex interventions for specific populations in particular contexts. The organiser has invited an expert in intervention development research who shared her experiences and insights on the topic. The guest speaker for the webinar was Professor Cathy Zimmerman, a behavioural and social scientist and co-founder of the Gender Violence & Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Professor Zimmerman specializes in research on migration, health and gender-based violence. She has produced some of the first findings on the health of trafficking survivors in Europe and led the largest study to date on the health of trafficking survivors in the Mekong. Her current work focuses on intervention development to address child domestic work and studies on labour exploitation and working conditions.

The webinar was moderated by Dr Tharani Loganathan, Public Health Medicine Specialist from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya and was attended by students, academicians and professionals in the field of public health. During the event, the attendees were able to actively participate by asking questions and engaging in discussions, thereby creating a valuable learning experience. Overall, the webinar was a success and provided insights into emphasizing the need for investing in research and development to develop effective interventions to address complex social issues.

This write-up was written by Nur Haizrina Anis Md Mokhtar, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Practice, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.

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