WHO receives British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Book Awards

The Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report published last year, entitled “Cultural contexts of health: the use of narrative research in the health sector”, received the 2017 BMA Medical Book Awards’ “Highly commended” recognition in the public health category.

This was announced at a ceremony on 11 September 2017 in London, United Kingdom. The prestigious BMA Medical Book Awards recognize significant work and contributions to medical literature. A total of over 630 books competed this year for awards in 20 categories.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab shared the news with delegates in her opening speech at the 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.

The HEN report demonstrates the importance of narrative in public health research. By focusing on storytelling and conveying the individual experience of illness and well-being, narrative research becomes an important tool for reporting on the cultural contexts of health.

The report summarizes the existing literature on narrative methods, offers some quality criteria for appraising it and gives 3 detailed case studies on diet and nutrition, well-being, and mental health in refugees and asylum seekers. Based on these findings, it presents policy options and suggests ways in which narrative research can be incorporated into health decision-making.

This is the first in a series of themed reports that explore how cultural contexts affect a variety of health issues. This work is part of WHO/Europe’s cultural contexts of health project.

The author, Professor Trisha Greenhalgh of the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, is a prominent academic in the field of narrative research. The Wellcome Trust financially contributed to the production of this HEN report.

“It is encouraging to see important research we have supported receiving such recognition. This is a testament to the dedication and scholarship of Trisha Greenhalgh and her fellow collaborators, and to a successful collaboration with WHO,” commented Dr Jack Harrington, Portfolio development manager at the Wellcome Trust, who attended the BMA Medical Book Awards ceremony.

Top prize and high commendation

Graphics for a WHO report, “State of inequality: child immunization”, won the top prize in the digital and online resources category.

In the health and social care category, the book “Strengthening health system governance: better policies, stronger performance”, produced by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, in collaboration with the Division of policy and governance for health and well-being, received high commendation.