|9 | "3 questions to" Lieve Janssens, Advisor at Province of Antwerp, Departement of Environment
1. How is the relation between nature & human health part of your work?
am working as a case officer for a project on nature & health with a focus on primary health. Together with the Department of Primary & Interdisciplinary Care of the University of Antwerp we are investigating how we can better integrate the knowledge on the nature-health link in primary health care practice.
Within a multidisciplinary network we are developing an integrated agenda for research and practice, entailing initiatives on action research, education and networking (2016-2018). Implementation of the agenda is also integrated and will be hosted by a Chair at the University of Antwerp (2019-2021).
2. How important is collaboration between different groups in the work on nature - health linkages?
Bringing together different expertise, views, knowledge enriches the process. In our project we work with experts in both nature and health care from policy, science and practice (general practitioners, walking/health coaches, mental institutions (psychiatry), insurance companies, residential care center for elderly people, nature organizations, ...).
Better understanding of and insight in different disciplines and its goals helps discovering common interests, blind spots and opportunities. It broadens the view on a complex matter and stimulates creativity and resourcefulness. It leads to sharing a common ambition, stronger goals, more benefits and more efficiency. Participating in a process creates support and willingness to adopt visions, goals and actions.
3. Where would you like the work on nature - health linkages to be in a few years?
Despite the challenges of dealing with the complexity and uncertainty that comes with the nature-health linkages, we experience in our collaborations a certain positivity and a willingness to accept this. We are optimistic about the progress in understanding, cross-sectoral collaboration, the willingness to further investigate this together, even adopting the nature-health concept. This context gives us also confidence in a strong collaborative base for further research and practice, as well as integration in policy. We’d also like to see our network getting stronger, intensifying in quality and quantity, stimulating each other to even more interaction and common action. We hope our work will also contribute, nationally as well as internationally, to pushing the research a step forward, by building proof and practice regarding nature – health linkages.
Feel free to contactLieve Janssens
for additional information.