The Health Communication Division organized one of the Etmaal 2017 pre-conferences. This year’s theme was “Challenges in Health Communication Research.” Three of our researchers introduced their projects and led a discussion on how to optimize research methods.

Violette Jitomirskaya (Ghent University) talked us through her research on the health-related information behavior of young and senior elderly in Flanders. A challenge in her qualitative research is to keep the right balance between staying objective and showing enough empathy to retrieve valuable information from the elder interviewee.

Rena Zendedel (UVA) led a discussion about accessing medical populations for research purposes. Nowadays, while more and more research is conducted, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit general practitioners. Two of the several solutions that were suggested were: involving the practitioner while writing the research proposal, and making sure that the practitioner personally feels that your research topic is important.

Our third speaker Nadine Bol (UVA) led a discussion on motivating and involving practitioners in the implementation of evidence-based health interventions. To the opinion of several attendees, it is effective to prove the importance of the intervention to the practitioner. Also, organizing consensus meetings and the practitioner’s potential retrieval of accreditation points for participation were named as possible solutions. At the end of the pre-conference, it was concluded that in health communication research many researchers face similar challenges and peer discussing them is efficient and inspiring.