On the 14th of November 2023, the establishment of Greece’s Community of Practice (CoP) was discussed as part of PREVENT’s initiatives and marked a significant collaborative effort among various stakeholders. Comprising paediatricians, oncologists, obesity and endocrinology associations, guardians, scholar units, educators, nutritionists, and representatives from ministries of Health and Education, these stakeholders pooled their knowledge and expertise together to set up the groundwork for the pivotal first milestone of PREVENT. 

But what is a CoP? A CoP is a group of people united by a shared passion for something they are skilled at, regularly engaging to enhance their expertise in the field. CoPs form multidisciplinary committees to monitor, supervise, advise, and modify the research implementation processes of PREVENT ranging from the identification of the barriers in implementing existing intervention policies, especially at large-scale, to the proposal of the new PREVENT intervention/engagement strategies, addressing the current barriers, along with the respective actions for upscaling. 

Similar to the efforts of the other two CoPs in Spain and Sweden, the Greek CoP plays a crucial part in determining how successful PREVENT will be. Bringing together a range of perspectives and contributions from different groups, it’s set to play a key role in achieving the main goals and steps of the project. 

The first meeting of the Greek CoP was online and covered a comprehensive variety of discussions, centering around crucial aspects that are pivotal for addressing childhood obesity. The members were introduced to each other and gained an initial understanding of the project along with their respective roles in it.  

The coordinator and chair of the meeting, Prof. Vana Papaevangelou, gave a short presentation of PREVENT’s mission, described the work packages, and gave the stakeholders a definition of what a CoP is, along with the role it will have throughout the project. 

More specifically, the core themes of this meeting surrounded the strategic dissemination of the project on a national level and an evaluation of existing national engagement policies aimed at preventing childhood obesity. Furthermore, gaps and barriers within the Greek reality were identified and the key stakeholders that are essential for facilitating the realisation of the project’s objectives were pictured. 

The valuable suggestions and expert opinions expressed during this discussion will significantly influence the upcoming plans. Their proposals will be taken into consideration by the project’s partners responsible for designing the new PREVENT multi-actor and context-aware interventions to face the current barriers and limitations. 

One of the pivotal roles assumed by the Greek CoP involves overseeing the current existing intervention policies. Furthermore, the CoP will formulate the objective criteria essential for assessing these interventions, considering different variables including medical, genetic, cultural, ethnic, regional, and socio-economic aspects. Lastly, they will also engage in the design phase, tailoring PREVENT’s interventions to meet the demands and conditions of today. 

After the end of this first fruitful meeting, the stakeholders agreed that they reconvene every three to four times per year. The next meeting is envisioned to take place in February 2024 in order to discuss the progress and next steps of the CoP. If you want to stay up to date and get informed about PREVENT’s achievements, sign up to our newsletter here!