Welcome to Health Services Research: Evidence Based Practice 2014!

Guest bloggers Jay Shaw and Anita Kothari kick off the 2014 Health Services Research conference with some conversation starters.

HSR logoLeading up to this conference, Jay Shaw wrote about the importance of connecting with new colleagues for a better understanding of how various disciplines conceptualize problems to health services issues. He also wrote about the need for a globalized perspective regardless of where you actually conduct your research – global forces influence local trends, and vice versa. This perspective involves looking to places you might not typically turn to in the face of complex health challenges. Jay’s arguments for more cross-disciplinarity in our global context was done in the hopes that you might be inspired to reach out and meet new people at this conference.

Easier said than done, right?  That first day at a conference is usually the worst. Your friends haven’t arrived yet.  You can’t spot anyone familiar to talk to as you stand in the corner, balancing your coffee, muffin, phone and conference bag before the opening remarks. Maybe you’re also jet-lagged. You are so not ready to meet someone.  But here I am, encouraging you to seize the moment and strike up a conversation with that person adding sugar to their tea.

Some evidence-based conversation starters:

1) Have you been following the soccer games? (or anything sports-related)
2) How far did you have to travel to get here?
3) Happy Canada Day (July 1st) – do you have any connections to Canada?
4) Have you seen that latest cat video on Facebook? The one where the kitten chases the bear?
5) Do you tweet, blog, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, post on Pinterest or have a Tumblr page?
6) Some say that blogging will gain greater prominence in the academic world as a way to speak to society – whaddya  think?
7) So what’s the relationship between innovation and evidence-based approaches anyway?  Aren’t they at opposite ends of the spectrum?
8) And of course, the old standbys: What do you work on? Where do you see that going? What are your students working on?

Hopefully after talking about cats on the internet you’ll transition into a meaningful conversation about diverse methodologies, potential solutions and theoretical challenges. But if not – even if you keep talking about your love of Pinterest – remember that seemingly unrelated conversations can still spark that little fire for you to advance your own work. (And don’t forget to follow up by sending that paper/abstract/document you promised to forward along).

Jay and I plan to ignite future conversations through tweeting and blogging alongside the conference activities. Follow us using #HSRconf2014. We want to hear from you!


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