PROMEQ 2016–2019

PROMEQ – Inclusive Promotion of Health and Wellbeing


Health inequalities are difficult to reduce and current methods seem not to reach the population groups with greatest needs. The central idea of the PROMEQ project is to develop and demonstrate novel models of promotion of health and wellbeing that are able to talk to and assimilate vulnerable groups and motivate and empower positive transitions in their health and wellbeing. Four groups are selected for interventions: (1) young people (NEET’s, i.e. not in education, not in employment, not in training); (2) persons receiving basic unemployment benefit; (3) adult refugees, and (4) multi-users of social and health care. While the focus is on the groups at the disadvantaged end of the scale, the results also inform universal application.

In the study, health inequities are considered as resulting from the complex interplay between individual, cultural and societal factors, taking expression as deficits in physical, cognitive, mental, social, environmental and material resources of quality of life. A holistic and systematic approach to the health and welfare promotion is developed that meets these deficits and aims at improving people’s own resources and capabilities for positive transitions.

Project aims

  • new knowledge of health inequalities and their interconnections with individual, socio-economic and societal factors;
  • effective models for HWP to reach vulnerable groups;
  • validated indicators for use in decision making to support evidence based policies and better informed decisions;
  • policy recommendations, policy briefs and strategies of HWP with SM;
  • scientific and other publications.

Methods, data management and ethical guidelines

The PROMEQ-research employs a mixed-method design, combining quantitative and qualitative research methods, register and survey data, and RCT and quasi-experimental trials employing also Social Marketing. Social Marketing (SM) has been used internationally and extensively in health promotion but also applied to wide range of social issues. The lesson is that communication is not enough and actions have to be targeted to modify the conditions in which people live, and the target groups have to be involved in the planning and design of the efforts. We employ several real-life interventions to develop novel and inclusive methods for HWP, engage both the target groups and relevant other stakeholders in co-creation and co-design of the efforts, deliver the tailored interventions with support of social and health care, and investigate with valid scales and methods whether positive changes occur. Actions will also be targeted to change professional practices toward more inclusive, integrated and cost-effective ways of HWP. The data is obtained from registers and project research. The data management plan follows the data protection regulations and the open science guidelines of the Finnish Academy. Ethical guidelines will be followed in all parts of the study.

Work packages (WPs)

The research is organized in four main phases constituting a progressive process of 9 interlinked work packages.

WP1: Co-ordination of the project’s activities and consolidation of research findings
WP2: Health inequalities over the life course
WP3: Intervention 1: young people not in education, training or work
WP4: Intervention 2: long-term unemployed persons
WP5: Intervention 3: adults granted asylum at early resettlement
WP6: Intervention 4: 65+ aged multi-users of social and health care living at home
WP7: Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of the interventions
WP 8: Development of policy recommendations and future strategies of HWP
WP 9: Societal interaction and communication

Scientific and social impact

The potential for scientific and social impact is high as the research is both well positioned and timely with current international discussion, and will contribute to several reforms under execution in Finland. The comprehensive approach to health and wellbeing, together with innovative research design with theoretical, method and data triangulation will bring about new insights and evidence in the discussion. Also the CEA are highly desired by the decision makers and offer opportunities for scientific breakthroughs. The project will actively disseminate results in scientific and professional journals, congresses and seminars, and the suitable data will be stored in the FSD after the project.

Research group

Professor Marja Vaarama, consortium PI, University of Eastern Finland (UEF)
Professor Sari Rissanen, consortium deputy PI and WP4, UEF
Research director Tomi Mäki-Opas, WP1, UEF
Research Advisor Tarmo Valkonen, WP2, Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA)
Professor Pekka Martikainen, WP2, Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA)
Adjunct Professor Sanna Aaltonen, WP3, Finnish Youth Research Society (FYRS)
Professor Kati Närhi, WP4, University of Jyväskylä (JyU)
Professor Janet Anand, WP5, UEF
Professor Mikko Mäntysaari, WP6, JyU
Professor Pekka Rissanen, WP7, University of Tampere (UTA)
Professor Antti Syväjärvi, WP8, University of Lapland (ULapland)
Professor Riitta Brusila, WP9, ULapland
Interaction Silja Nikula, WP9, ULapland

The study is funded by the Academy of Finland Strategic Research Council (#303615).