UHealth is the cooperative platform of UH faculties, research centres and networks in the area of health and well-being research. The UHealth platform was established as one of the three profile building areas funded by the Academy of Finland in 2021.
Ageing societies with increasingly limited resources and governance capacities struggle to cope with costly diseases, such as cancer, and the growing behavioural and environmental health challenges brought by contemporary lifestyles. Real-world feasibility, viability and sustainability is required from all new health solutions. Identifying the root causes of emerging health problems and finding ways to solve local and global health challenges effectively and sustainably requires extensive multidisciplinary collaboration.
The societal conditions for health research are rapidly changing. Medical, pharmaceutical and health scientists regularly discover new treatments for disease and develop technologies and creative interventions for disease prevention and health promotion in clinical and translational research. While researchers have wider access to real-world data sources, they often lack the capacity and/or access to test the wider feasibility, viability and sustainability of their solutions in real-life conditions.
In order to combine scientific excellence and high levels of societal impact, a new approach to health and well-being research is needed. This approach necessitates
- wide multidisciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary dialogue in basic research
- broad access to clinical research in healthcare and social services and key cites of prevention (e.g., individual and group health behaviours, early childhood education, nutrition) for all scientific disciplines, and
- systematic research co-creation with citizens, professionals and decision-makers in translational research and uses of research knowledge in real-world contexts.
The purpose of the UHealth platform is to systematize this approach at UH. The platform assembles researchers in medicine, pharmacy, health sciences, social sciences, food sciences and linguistics from seven faculties (Medicine, Social Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Educational Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, and Arts). UHealth
- supports multidisciplinary basic research through tailored support for multidisciplinary research groups, facilitation of interdisciplinary dialogue, and development of multidisciplinary researcher training
- broadens clinical researchers access to previously under-utilized research contexts of nursing, hosiptal pharmacy, integrated social and health services, and primary health care
- develops ways to widen opportunities for clinical research (and other forms of research in real-world conditions) from clinical medicine and pharmacy to all disciplines, including social sciences and humanities
- develops ways to widen and deepen research collaboration in the health and well-being research ecosystem that involves other higher education institutions, social and health sector organizations, practitioners, and decision-makers
In the PROFI6 profile-building period of 2021-26, UHealth strengthens leadership and top-level research around two main research themes: 1) Health services and 2) Prevention. It expands real-world research capacity through strategic collaborations with HUS Nursing Research Center, HUS Pharmacy, and Keusote – Joint Municipal Authority for Social and Healthcare in Central Uusimaa.
UHealth belongs to the UH strategic research theme A meaningful life, human wellbeing and a healthy environment in the 2021–2030 strategy period. UHealth connects and facilicates collaboration between various profile-building areas and other UH initiatives on strategic research. It builds on the previous work of the iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship, PROFI4 Helsinki One Health and PROFI5 FinPharma.
UHealth is a key element of the University’s strategy to respond to the societal demand for knowledge and improve knowledge-based decision-making in the 2021–2030 strategy period. UHealth develops ways to advance societal uses of research knowledge in the specific area of health and well-being research.
UHealth funds six Principal Investigator positions as part of its profile-building actions to strengthen adacemic leadership in the following areas of multidisciplinary research:
- Medical sociology (Faculty of Medicine)
- Healthcare operations management (Faculty of Medicine)
- Social and health services (Faculty of Social Sciences)
- Social and health research and management (Faculty of Social Sciences)
- Early childhood education (Faculty of Educational Sciences)
- Nutrition (Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry)
In addition, UHealth funds junior researcher positions (postdocs and/or doctoral researchers) in all of its seven member faculties.
In the year 2021, UHealth will
- collect from other profile-building areas best practices for advancing multi- ja interdisciplinary collaboration and platform management
- plan the support functions and other means for advancing collaboration between the UHealth PIs
- create strategic plans for advancing collaboration between HUS Nursing Research Center, HUS Pharmacy and Keusote
- map out the existing forms of research collaboration in the research areas and interests for deepening collaboration with the universities of applied sciences in the Helsinki area
- plan its public launch for 2022
- create a communications plan for the profile-building area