ProtoPolicyAsia Public Seminar on ‘Design in Healthcare’ and ‘Social Cognition in Malaysia’s Elderly’

ProtoPolicyAsia’s Lead PI, Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves and Malaysia PI, Dr Yong Min Hooi recently presented a public seminar at the United Nations University – International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) on Thursday, 4th July 2019. The seminar was attended by approximately 25 attendees from various academic institutions in Malaysia.

Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves presented on design in healthcare whereby he introduced a range of international case studies about the role of design in shaping the relationship between health, wellbeing and urban environments for now and in the future. With the rising number of older persons in the population, the number of people living with long-term conditions and diminishing resources to support healthcare has led to a significant shift in where and how healthcare is delivered. One challenge is how to reduce the cost and burden of disease, particularly of non-communicable disease, by focusing more research work around prevention and looking at how design can be useful in such causes. Dr Emmanuel also related his presentation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal #3 on “Good Health and Well-Being” and discussed well-being in relation to density, deprivation and walkability. Another interesting study shared by Dr Emmanuel was the Dust Bunny which aims at exploring hygiene practices in different home environments in Ghana to understand the home as a source of infection of AMR bacteria carried by dust. Lastly, Dr Emmanuel included the topic on Speculative Design and the ProtoPolicyAsia project.

Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves

The next speaker in the public seminar was Dr Yong Min Hooi, who presented empirical evidence collected from the Malaysian and UK populations comparing age and culture differences on Theory-of-Mind (ToM) tasks. The first study shared by Dr Yong was the “Theory-of-Mind in Malaysia: A Behavioural and Eye Gaze study on Age-Related Differences”, a study funded by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. The study examined the affective and cognitive ToM in older and young adults using Movie for Assessing Social Cognition (MASC) in an Asian population. The second study shared by Dr Yong was the “Social cognition and Executive Function among Older Adults in the UK and Malaysia: Links to Socioeconomic Factors”, which was funded by the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund, British Council UK and MIGHT Malaysia. In her presentation, they investigated the effects of age (young vs. old adults) and culture (Western vs. Asian) on the interpretation of social cues across a range of different measures of social cognition, and executive function across different cognitive measurements.

Dr Yong Min Hooi

Both speakers commented about the challenges faced by older persons and how we can promote healthy ageing practices, either through design or awareness on specific deficits associated with ageing. Further, these challenges have a wide ranging impact from policy-makers to individuals caring for their aged parents. Overall, the seminar attendees were very engaged and provided good feedback during the presentations, suggesting that these topics are easily relatable to their home/work environment.

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