The University of New England and Naresuan University have marked five years of collaboration with an intensive research workshop at Naresuan University in Phitsanulok, Thailand.
The workshop involved doctoral public health students from the Faculty of Public Health at Naresuan University, who investigated maternal and child health services as possible topics for their PhD research. They were assisted by visits to the Din Thong Health Care Centre, Wangthong District hospital, and the Buddhachinaraj Hospital, where the students met with senior maternal and child health staff to discuss existing services.
These visits were followed by a series of lectures by Prof Mary Cruickshank from UNE on research methodology and sessions to develop the students’ research projects. The students then presented their draft proposals to the research team and to Dr Thavatchai Kamoltham of the Ministry of Public Health and Dr Veerachai Sittipiyasakul, the Director of Regional Health Promotion, Phitsanulok Province, Ministry of Public Health. Feedback from this session will allow the students to further refine their research proposal for their PhD studies.
Dr Prawit Taytiwat, dean of the Faculty of Public Health at Naresuan University, said the week-long workshop had been “an invaluable experience for students and academics alike to work closely with international colleagues.”
Dr Taytiwat, who is also an adjunct associate professor in the schools of Health and Rural Medicine at UNE went on: “This approach demonstrates the commitment of Naresuan University to develop the capacity of both its academics and students in research methods and to access international perspectives about health care delivery.”
Speaking on behalf of the UNE research team, Dr David Briggs noted that the Thai health system had made significant progress towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals in Maternal and Child Health.
“This provides the public health doctoral students and the research team with the opportunity to explore the organisation and management of health services with a view to how the system might be strengthened,” Dr Briggs said.
“This approach allowed students to consider how the concepts of health management delivery knowledge might be applied to traditional public health perspectives of these students and academic staff.”
Staff from the two universities will next meet at an international conference on health management service delivery in Phitsanulok in October 2009.