Evolution of ‘whole institution’ approaches to improving health in tertiary education settings: a critical scoping review

Sweeting, H. , Thomson, H. , Wells, V. and Flowers, P. (2021) Evolution of ‘whole institution’ approaches to improving health in tertiary education settings: a critical scoping review. Research Papers in Education, (doi: 10.1080/02671522.2021.1961302) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

In recent decades, ‘whole school’ approaches to improving health have gained traction, based on settings-based health promotion understandings which view a setting, its actors and processes as an integrated ‘whole’ system with multiple intervention opportunities. Much less is known about ‘whole institution’ approaches to improving health in tertiary education settings. We conducted a scoping review to describe both empirical and non-empirical (e.g. websites) publications relating to ‘whole settings’, ‘complex systems’ and ‘participatory’/‘action’ approaches to improving the health of students and staff within tertiary education settings. English-language publications were identified by searching five academic and four grey literature databases and via the reference lists of studies read for eligibility. We identified 101 publications with marked UK over-representation. Since the 1970s, publications have increased, spanning a gradual shift in focus from ‘aspirational’ to ‘conceptual’ to ‘evaluative’. Terminology is geographically siloed (e.g., ‘healthy university’ (UK), ‘healthy campus’ (USA)). Publications tend to focus on ‘health’ generally rather than specific health dimensions (e.g. diet). Policies, arguably crucial for cascading systemic change, were not the most frequently implemented intervention elements. We conclude that, despite the field’s evolution, key questions (e.g., insights into who needs to do what, with whom, where and when; or efficacy) remain unanswered.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Thomson, Dr Hilary and Flowers, Professor Paul and Wells, Ms Valerie and Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Sweeting, H., Thomson, H., Wells, V., and Flowers, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Research Papers in Education
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0267-1522
ISSN (Online):1470-1146
Published Online:25 August 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Research Papers in Education 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU12
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU15