Wellness: Promoting Health and Preventing Illness

Introduction

a group of health care professionals

The most effective way to overcome the effects of illness is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. In focusing on wellness, nursing science seeks to promote health and prevent illness across health conditions, settings, the lifespan, and in minority and underserved populations. NINR supports research to understand the physical, behavioral, and environmental causes of illness, assess behaviors that lead to healthy lifestyle choices, and develop evidence-based interventions to promote wellness. On January 15, 2014, NINR convened a workshop of experts in the field of wellness. These experts were asked to propose and discuss a series of research questions that could point the way forward for nursing science in wellness research and inform future NINR efforts in this area.

Innovative Questions in Wellness

2-1 – What study designs (e.g., pragmatic, adaptive, social network analysis, comparative effectiveness) and analytical techniques (e.g., propensity modeling, data visualization) can be used to implement cost-effective, sustainable wellness interventions across communities and populations?

2-2 – What factors moderate and mediate the effects of lifestyle interventions designed to promote healthy behaviors among family members (e.g., intergenerational) while considering the environmental context (e.g., social, structural, and demographic)?

2-3 – What are the most accessible, effective, and affordable technologies (e.g., multimedia, mobile) to deliver personalized interventions that improve wellness outcomes across populations and settings (e.g., patient monitoring; shared decision making; skill building; communication; care transitions) that are minimally obtrusive, secure, and promote comfort for end users?

2-4 – What are the variables (e.g., biological, behavioral, economic, cultural, genetic, environmental) that interact to influence family member wellness and what interventions are most effective in promoting health outcomes?

2-5 – What interventions (individual or group) can care providers deliver that are effective in developing health promoting and risk reducing behaviors in early childhood and how can individual characteristics be matched to interventions that provide benefit over the lifespan?

2-6 – What are the etiological pathways (e.g., biological, psychological, environmental, genetic)  and how can these pathways be used to prevent chronic illnesses with known risk factors (e.g., obesity, health literacy) in childhood and across the lifespan?

2-7 – What innovative methods (e.g., trajectory science, longitudinal case-studies, agent based, and computation science) and data sources (e.g., electronic health records, existing longitudinal studies) can be used to explore characteristics (e.g., physiological, biologicial, behavioral) and their interrelationships that are associated with maintenance of healthy behaviors over time?

2-8 – How can we capitalize on natural experiments, community-based efforts and community/academic partnerships to promote healthy behaviors, decrease risk, and promote wellness?