Using community-university partnerships to implement WHO’s Intersectoral Global Action Plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders (IGAP) 2022-2031: an example focusing on mental health in children with epilepsy and their parents
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Western University, Paediatrics and Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Children’s Hospital, LHSC, 800 Commissioner’s Road East, London ON, N6A 5W9, Canada
Western University
Western University, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, 1465 Richmond Street, London, ON, N6G 2M1, Canada
Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario, International Bureau for Epilepsy, 797 York St, Unit 3, London, ON, N5W 6A8, Canada
Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario
Western University, Psychology, 1465 Richmond St, London, ON, N6G 2M1, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A990
In 2022, WHO’s Member States approved The Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and other Neurological Disorders (IGAP), endorsing a comprehensive, coordinated, intersectoral response to reduce gaps in epilepsy knowledge and treatment. Given the importance of IGAP implementation, we aim to illustrate how partnerships between community agencies and academic researchers can accelerate uptake of evidence-based programming to enhance quality of life in people with epilepsy.

Academic researchers were approached by a community epilepsy agency about the need for a new approach to reduce stress and manage emotions and behaviors among children with epilepsy and parents. Together we delivered and evaluated a mindfulness-based parent and child program designed to improve mental health. We assessed feasibility of interactive online delivery by agency staff to enable scaling up delivery across our region and beyond.

We executed a randomized controlled feasibility trial with 73 child-parent dyads. Benefits and challenges were documented from the perspectives of community agency and researchers. We identified two key mutual benefits: our research directly addresses a community-identified need to foster mental health in children with epilepsy and parents, and funding is easier to secure due to our effective partnership. Challenges for the community partner include time required to learn and execute research processes. Challenges for researchers include innovation and flexibility required to design interventions for integration into agency operations given limited resources. We will present specific lessons regarding key facilitators for success.

This intersectoral partnership between a community epilepsy agency and an interdisciplinary team of researchers demonstrates one example of implementing the IGAP’s Strategic Objective 5: Strengthen the public health approach to epilepsy. We articulate specific facilitators to overcome barriers to achieve IGAP’s “148 (d) conduct implementation research, including the dissemination of lessons learned to accelerate the scale-up of successful strategies to strengthen epilepsy services”.