Reflection by Roger Kerry on N=1
Having different disciplines discuss matters of common importance is not necessarily an easy task. CauseHealth in general is all about doing this, but the N=1 conference in particular was an event where the range and contrast of disciplines was perhaps seen sharpest, so far at least. The N=1 event was, however, an exemplar of how a subject matter can be approached with intellect, genuine care, absolute respect, and challenging reactions from cross-disciplinary academics and practitioners. From philosophers, to GPs, to physiotherapists, to vets – all with a common concern of the health and wellbeing of the population and the person (and the dog!). This event brought these people together, and soon into the event, each person’s professional background suddenly seemed irrelevant. What was relevant was the subject matter – and how matters of evidence, science, and clinical practice could and would be cross-examined by all.
Only can this work in an environment which facilitates openness and respectfulness. And this is precisely what Rani and the team had cultivated. The result: progress. I am sure that the ideas emerging from this conference will serve to inform the shape of the next stage of the CauseHealth project. Much was discussed about person-centred care, and in discussion it was clear that challenges exist which neither evidence-based nor person-centred medicine movements have so far sufficiently addressed. In examining the movements themselves, signs are beginning to emerge whereby the underpinning philosophies of the movements mean that it is quite likely that, as it stands, these challenges cannot be addressed. A reconceptualised philosophical grounding for health care may well be pointed towards. This is the – now exaggerated – challenge for CauseHealth. And a healthy challenge it is.
As if this wasn’t enough, our time at NMBU gave a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends, and cement relationships with others. I for one am already looking forward to more interdisciplinary interaction!