Concrete Implementation of the Healthy Society Strategy in Focus During Retreat

Friday, September 1, 2023

Representatives from various disciplines and institutions of the LDE universities, university medical centers, and colleges collaborating within Medical Delta came together on August 24 for a retreat. The objective was to concretize the already presented Healthy Society strategy and formulate proposals for a joint work and investment agenda in collaboration with the province of South Holland.

With five overarching themes that are interconnected and contribute to a flourishing, healthier society, this strategy plays a crucial role in the future of the Healthy Society program.

The afternoon began with a warm welcome from representatives of colleges, universities, medical centers, and various stakeholders in South Holland by coordinators Prof. Dr. Andrea Evers and Dr. Sandra van Dijk.

Concretizing the Healthy Society Strategy

With an informative presentation on the goals of Healthy Society, the strategy, and proposals for a new structure, Professor Evers kicked off the retreat. This structure places a broad representation of various institutions and locations in South Holland at its core. Within the themes, representatives from different scientific institutes will independently organize activities and events. These leaders play a crucial role in forming partnerships, facilitating collaborations between projects, and developing activities within South Holland.

Following the presentation, Dr. Van Dijk invited attendees to share their insights on the themes. Ideas were exchanged in groups about the themes that resonated most with each group. Spontaneously formed groups reflected the interdisciplinary approach of Healthy Society. The diversity of expertise within the groups provided unique perspectives. Amidst ideas, discussions, and new viewpoints, the coffee break provided a good opportunity for experts from diverse backgrounds to get to know each other better. Renewed energy drove the meeting into the next phase: the work and investment agenda of Healthy Society.

Proposals for the Work and Investment Agenda

Policy, practice, and knowledge institutions are not always well-connected, successful collaborations may lack continuity, and the comprehensive approach that can promote health is often missing. Healthy Society aims to increase the well-being of South Holland residents and reduce health disparities by building a connecting knowledge infrastructure, as reflected in the goals of the work and investment agenda.

The first goal of the work and investment agenda emphasizes the importance of strengthened and structural partnerships between knowledge institutions, policymakers, practice experts, and citizens. The abundance of complementary knowledge institutions in South Holland offers opportunities for sustainable partnerships. Colleges, universities, and medical centers possess a wealth of knowledge that can be utilized through structural collaborations. Sustainable and structural partnerships can, in the long term, lead to a knowledge infrastructure that connects successful projects and enables scaling up.

The second goal focuses on connecting and scaling up successful initiatives through a robust knowledge infrastructure closely intertwined with governments and other relevant stakeholders. This allows existing initiatives to be connected and scaled up in living labs. By making successful health initiatives widely available through sustainable implementation and adaptation to local contexts, the aim is to provide comprehensive long-term solutions for a healthier South Holland.

With these principles in mind, the attendees were then divided into five thematic groups, where they further developed their ideas about the work and investment agenda on posters. Involved parties, ongoing initiatives, potential improvements, and plans were central to this process. Despite the diversity in groups and themes, notable common aspects emerged, such as co-creation with citizens and a comprehensive approach. After completing the posters, the representatives shared their insights, further strengthening the synergy between disciplines.

At the end of the day, the attendees were filled with new inspiration and insights, and the atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, and dedication remained. The gathering brought together strengths, and combined expertise, and led to plans for a healthier society. Healthy Society continues to work towards a future where South Holland is characterized by health and well-being.

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