Circulation profiles The George Institute’s Chief Scientist in special edition
The American Heart Association’s renowned journal Circulation has interviewed The George Institute for Global Health’s Chief Scientist, Professor Anushka Patel, in a special edition focusing on women and heart disease.
In the profile, Prof Patel discussed the challenges of improving cardiovascular health in diverse populations, particularly in areas with limited resources.
She told Circulation: “Combatting chronic diseases is now recognised as a leading challenge facing most of the world, with the brunt of the burden being borne by low- and middle-income countries. To achieve affordable and effective health care, the local social, cultural, physical (institutions, workforce, and resources), and political environment all have to be evaluated and navigated.
“What we are really doing (at The George Institute) is identifying strategies to change behavior. How people will respond is generally informed by their own experiences, values, norms, and learning. We try to incorporate an understanding of these factors as part of the process of developing healthcare interventions and evaluating their outcomes.”
A key focus of the interview was how health researchers could take their findings and implement them globally with the right local adaptations, in order to best benefit the people there.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving health across diverse populations, but our research suggests that, although certain aspects of our approach are generalizable, the solutions require adaptation to the local context,” she said.
“Through our own work we have quickly learned that the delivery of health care in different countries and systems is complex. Insufficient understanding of how broader system components interact with a particular healthcare delivery innovation or therapy, and vice versa, will seriously impede the impact of care, and the scalability and sustainability, as well.
“Implementation science is still in its relative infancy but is increasingly used by those who plan and fund healthcare delivery. Implementation research is hard work, characterised by using many different methods to study new ideas in complex, messy, real-world environments, but the potential payback for underserved populations is definitely worth the effort!”