Higher Executive Officer (AMPHORA Project), Department for Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen
1. Could you give a brief sketch of what your current project is and how you started it?
I am currently working in an EC-funded research project called Alcohol Public Health Research Alliance (AMPHORA). My tasks include administration and coordination of one of the work packages in the project as well as research activities on the topic “Infrastructure for alcohol policy”. I started some years ago in another EC-funded project on alcohol policy, at that time I was a Master student in Health Promotion. I was lucky to be able to continue and extend the work to other upcoming projects around this topic during the next years.
2. What major challenges in planning the project did you face?
The AMPHORA Project only started last year, but I could draw from my experiences from previous projects, which also build the basis for the current project. In our study, we will collect data on alcohol policy infrastructure in European countries building on expert knowledge, i.e. data will be collected through experts all over Europe. The success of the study and the knowledge we gain, therefore will depend on the contribution of a great number of people and it may be a challenge to motivate people to dedicate their often scarce time to complete our questionnaires or interviews in order to contribute to our study.
3. What have you accomplished so far?
As I already indicated, we are only at the beginning of the project. So far we have focused on researching the theoretical basis of the study and developing the data collection instruments. We have submitted an article describing our study and discussing the impact of infrastructures on alcohol policy. Reviewing existing scientific literature on public health and alcohol policy infrastructure, we have identified a variety of infrastructure elements important to alcohol policy(-making), i.e. policies and priorities, laws and regulations, governmental bodies and departments, politicians, the alcohol industry, civil society organisations and ‘voice’, science and research based organisations, monitoring and surveillance systems, professional workforce and funding basis.
4. How do you see your research impacting the lives of those you worked with (or the lives of those impacted by the issue you were researching)?
I hope my research is able to contribute to a better understanding and expand the knowledge base on the role and influence of infrastructure on alcohol policy and practice, on the alcohol policy-making process and the impact of stakeholders involved. This in turn may contribute to policy development, necessary to implement effective alcohol policy from a public health perspective.
5. How do you see your research impacting the field of health promotion?
I like to think of an impact of health promotion to the field of alcohol policy. Research suggests the necessity to implement a variety of complementary alcohol policy strategies including both preventive (education, drinking environment) and regulatory (taxation, availability) strategies, which is in line with health promotion principles. From a health promotion perspective, it may be important to consider all sectors at all levels to build healthy public policy, support intersectoral collaboration between governmental sectors and strengthen advocacy in order to overcome structural barriers to public health goals.
6. What are your plans for future work/research?
The AMPHORA project started last year and will last until 2012, so most of the project is still ahead of me. But also beyond this project I could imagine continuing research on alcohol policy and possibly expand my expertise to other areas of addiction. It has shown to be very important to having built a network and contacts to practitioners and researchers in many European countries, which will hopefully result in prospective work opportunities.
7. Is there anything else you would like to share with us about yourself?
I enjoy rock climbing/ bouldering and yoga.