Saturday, May 21, 2011

From the Editors' desk: Welcome Svante Lifvergren to the Associate Editor board at ARJ

I am pleased to announce that Svante Lifvergren, MD., who leads the Centre for Healthcare Improvement (CHI), Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg in Sweden has agreed to join us at ARJ. Svante will be part of the ARJ journal's associate editor board. He will lead the growing healthcare domain. I speak for all of my colleagues on the AE board -- Drs. Mary Brydon-Miller, Victor Friedman, Patricia Gaya Wicks, Davydd Greenwood, Meghna Guhathakurta, Marianne Kristiansen and Ernie Stringer-- in offering welcome to Svante.
Svante is both a scholar and practitioner. In leading CHI, he says the main idea behind the Center is to enhance quality improvement work in healthcare from a patient point of view, by facilitating learning about improvement across boundaries. In this way the action is toward a creative rather than reactive approach to health and wellbeing. Healthcare PAR is therefore very much alive and thriving in this arena. A large measure of the work is also educational - with Masters level courses offered to Healthcare leaders. Svante’s background as a physician and hospital administrator allows him bring practice and scholarship together. The education is designed to help these specialists think beyond technical excellence and toward greater systems alignment. That this all happening with strong government support in Sweden, one of the world's most advanced countries in terms of quality of life, women's activity in society and with little healthcare disparity across social and ethnic lines. Doesn’t that make us silently wonder if it's even relevant to other countries whose deep struggles with healthcare are only increasing? In fact to write of there being so little healthcare disparity across class and ethnicities makes me wonder if Sweden is somehow in a parallel universe! Nonetheless there too people who are living so long and using costly therapies pose problems. Problems like these have not really been addressed by healthcare and it seems that a more behavioral, humanistic approach is well placed to address resource allocation in an ethical way –action researchers working with health care consumers to acknowledge our human fear of death and even greater fear of incapacitation in old, old age. What does the future portend for all of us?! But I digress – even as I encourage action researchers to consider study designs on these complex issues…”dying well, dying participatively,” anyone? Besides where best to pose the difficult questions than in places that resource intelligent systems approaches to change.
Like all good action researchers Svante takes a networking approach to learning among hospital leaders across nations and continents. This is important given our commitment to being in dialogue with our colleagues in the developing world. We are lucky to have Svante join us. We also look forward to some more health focused special issues in the future. Welcome Svante.

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