The Health Promotion Research and Development Research Unit
Director: Prof Priscilla Reddy
Assistant to Director: Sharon Felix
To conduct innovative research to develop, evaluate and disseminate effective behavioural, social, environmental and economic interventions to prevent disease and illness by reducing behaviours that place people at risk and by increasing protective behaviours. Interventions should address the social and cultural contexts within which risks occur (e.g. social class, gender, race, culture, age, education, ethnicity, disadvantage and exposure to prejudice).
The National Health Promotion Research and Development Office was formed in 1993/6. Because health promotion as a science was in its infancy in South Africa at the time, it was appropriate to establish an "office" instead of a research programme. The mandate of the office soon extended beyond research to include advocacy for research; advocacy for research-based intervention development; advocacy for policy; advocacy for evidence-based practice in health promotion; and advocacy for capacity development in health promotion and behavioural sciences.
In 2001 this office evolved into the National Health Promotion Research and Development Unit. Initially, the Unit Director was the only doctoral level scientist until March 2006. Since then, however, Health Promotion has grown from an office consisting of two fulltime staff members to a recognised research group and unit, operating out of both KZN and the WC. Staff compliments have also grown, with all members working on PhD and Masters level degrees - according to increased research outputs. Furthermore, the Health Promotion group trained staff members in behavioural sciences, which has resulted in the proliferation of health promotion at tertiary and other research institutions.
The MRC continues to enjoy strong international collaboration, e.g. with Maastricht University, which results in continued growth of high calibre doctoral-level scientists. The work of the group has resulted in its further evolution in 2005 to become the Health Promotion and Behavioural Interventions Research Unit.
- The research conducted by the unit is informed by founding documents of health promotion, the Alma Ata declaration, the Ottawa Charter, WHO documents on Essential National Health Research (ENHR), the MRC’s research thrusts, the South African Reconstruction and Development Plan, the National Health Plan and the Millennium Development Plan (UN).
The office was charged with the following aims
The work of the Health Promotion and Behavioural Interventions Research Unit encompasses