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The UK Healthy Universities Self-Review Tool: whole system impact

Powell, SC and Dooris, M and Farrier, A and Doherty, S and Holt, M and Monk, R (2016) The UK Healthy Universities Self-Review Tool: whole system impact. Health Promotion International. ISSN 1460-2245

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Abstract

Over recent years, there has been growing interest in Healthy Universities, evidenced by an increased number of national networks and the participation of 375 participants from over 30 countries in the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges, which also saw the launch of the Okanagan Charter. This paper reports on research exploring the use and impact of the UK Healthy Universities Network's self review tool, specifically examining whether this has supported universities to understand and embed a whole system approach. The research study comprised two stages, the first using an online questionnaire and the second using focus groups. The findings revealed a wide range of perspectives under five overarching themes: motivations; process; outcomes/benefits; challenges/suggested improvements; and future use. In summary, the self review tool was extremely valuable and, when engaged with fully, offered significant benefits to universities seeking to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities. These benefits were felt by institutions at different stages in the journey and spanned outcome and process dimensions: not only did the tool offer an engaging and user-friendly means of undertaking internal benchmarking, generating an easy-to-understand report summarizing strengths and weaknesses; it also proved useful in building understanding of the whole system Healthy Universities approach and served as a catalyst to effective cross-university and cross-sectoral partnership working. Additionally, areas for potential enhancement were identified, offering opportunities to increase the tool's utility further whilst engaging actively in the development of a global movement for Healthy Universities.

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