Evaluating the impact of interdisciplinary networking in environmental geochemistry and health: reviewing SEGH conferences and workshops

Alex Stewart, Ann Worsley, Vanessa Holden, Andrew Hursthouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH) is a forum for multidisciplinary interaction relating the geochemical environment to health. With national funding, SEGH identified collaborative opportunities through the MULTITUDE series of workshops (2007–2011). We reviewed the meetings by electronic questionnaire (39% response). Smaller meetings saw most returning delegates, suggesting networking and personal interaction is a key positive feature of SEGH; 31 % of practitioners and 25 % of academics participated in more than one meeting. Collaboration between SEGH participants resulted in joint funding (13 academics, 4 practitioners, 1 other) and joint papers (19, 5, 3). Evidence of behavioural change was seen in comments in five themes regarding the impacts of the conferences: support for current direction; impact on education practice (academics); new approaches; networking; multidisciplinary work. Multidisciplinary meetings and resulting networking were seen as having real value by many respondents, who encouraged further active pursuit of these activities. SEGH is eager to continue these activities which transform research, education and practice, resulting in a better understanding of the structure and processes comprising the broad geochemical environment on health. Comments showed the value and strength of small, well-organised conferences, bringing together a mixed group of disciplines, both research and applied, in a relaxed atmosphere. The absence of serious negative critique along with clear, positive comments suggests that there is a substantial level of support for, and even pleasure in, SEGH multidisciplinary conferences and workshops over the past years. It is encouraging that annual European conferences are viewed as such a positive achievement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-664
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health Special Issue: The Geochemical Environment and Human Health
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

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