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This site aims not only to present the UNISSAHEL program but also to bring together resources on various subjects related to universal health coverage. This is why this page presents different search fields and links and files to go further in their documentation.

Population health intervention research



Alla, F., & Cambon, L. (2017). Transformation of health systems: Contribution of population health intervention research. The Lancet Public Health, 2(12), e539.

Alla, F., & Kivits, J. (2015). La recherche interventionnelle en santé publique: Partenariat chercheurs-acteurs, interdisciplinarité et rôle social. Santé Publique, 27(3), 303–304.

Bärnighausen, T. (2017). Population health intervention research: Three important advancements. International Journal of Public Health, 62(8), 841–843.

Cambon, L., & Alla, F. (2014). Recherche interventionnelle en santé publique, transfert de connaissances et collaboration entre acteurs, décideurs et chercheurs. Les défis français de l’innovation. Institut de Recherche En Santé Publique, (27).

Hawe, P., & Potvin, L. (2009). What is population health intervention research? Can J Public Health, 100(1), 8–14.

Hawe, Penelope, Ruggiero, E. D., & Cohen, E. (2012). Frequently Asked Questions About Population Health Intervention Research. Can J Public Health, 103(6), 468–471.

INPES. (2013). Recherche interventionnelle en santé publique: Quand chercheur et acteurs de terrain travaillent ensemble. (425). Disponible sur :

Martin, J., Cheng, D., & Stranges, S. (2017). Population health intervention research: Myths and misconceptions. International Journal of Public Health, 62(8), 845–847.

Potvin, L., Petticrew, M., & Cohen, E. R. M. (2014). Population health intervention research: Developing a much needed science of solutions. Preventive Medicine, 61, 114–115.

Riley, B., Harvey, J., Di Ruggiero, E., & Potvin, L. (2015). Building the field of population health intervention research: The development and use of an initial set of competencies. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 854–857.

The UNISSAHEL program is part of a population health intervention research approach (RISP). This perspective is particularly conceptualized in Anglo-Saxon and North American research but much less in France and West Africa. This type of research consists of producing knowledge about health interventions and policies .

It is sometimes seen as a paradigm shift in that it "seek solutions" rather than focusing on problems , which are already often known.

It is about understanding what ways to intervene: what interventions to choose and how to implement them, while constantly considering the issue of inequalities.

Intervention research in population health is different from action research, evaluation and intervention research in clinical research even if some common points do exist.

This type of research has specificities, especially when the work is done in partnership between several nationalities, several sectors and several disciplines . It also involves a systemic view of public health problems and emphasizes the social determinants of health. Below is a brief presentation of a literature review carried out to identify the definition and characteristics of RISP.

Reflexivity, one of the specificities of RISP. In North-South partnerships, it invites a questioning of ways of doing and of thinking.

Pour mieux comprendre ce que la RISP recouvre : Louise Potvin (Université de Montréal) a réalisé une présentation lors d'un atelier à l'école des hautes études en santé publique.


Présentation disponible sur: 

Knowledge transfer


Knowledge transfer can be defined as "all the efforts made to contribute to publicizing and recognizing the activities and results of research in the social and human sciences, the arts and the literature with a view to their use by educational circles, practices, decision-makers and the general public, whether the process is interactive or not "(FQRSC, 2011).


This concern comes from the observation that despite an increasing amount of knowledge produced to improve the health of populations, it is only rarely used to implement effective and relevant interventions. There are several types of knowledge: explicit knowledge which is knowledge resulting from research, evaluations, administrative data and which can be formalized and transmitted; and tacit knowledge which is knowledge resulting from experience and therefore less easy to distribute.

When talking about use, it is important to distinguish three types: 1) Conceptual use which leads to a new understanding of a situation or facts, 2) Instrumental use leading to decision making or action, 3) Persuasive use which is the use of knowledge as arguments to support laws or decisions.

To go further on this subject, find the videos of the RENARD team, specialized on research on knowledge transfer


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