Nuevo - Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement

This four-day course provides an overview of the methodological foundations for developing and evaluating complex interventions in public health. Facilitators from the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) will offer this course in South America for the first time.


This course provides an introduction to the socio-ecological model of health and how it can be used as a framework for developing public health improvement interventions. It also focuses on different research methods used for developing new interventions, how to develop an intervention ‘logic model’, and how to co-produce interventions with relevant stakeholders. It will also provide a working knowledge of the key frameworks and methodologies currently used to assess the feasibility, and evaluate the effectiveness of complex interventions, as well as how they change outcomes in context.

Dirigido a

The course is designed for academics, researchers, practitioners and policymakers interested in the development and evaluation of complex public health interventions.  

  • An MSc degree or equivalent research experience is needed.
  • The course will be offered in English, so participants must have an advanced level of understanding of English to enrol in the course.
Objetivo de aprendizaje

By the end of the course the participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of considering multiple socio-ecological levels of influence on health and wellbeing when developing and evaluating public health interventions
  • ·Understand how to produce intervention logic models and theories of change in collaboration with key stakeholders
  • Apply the Medical Research Council framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions, and reflect on its limitations
  • §Identify a range of methodologies for the development and evaluation of complex interventions, and understand when to use them
Desglose de cursos

Chronologic hours: 32 hrs.
Pedagogic hours: 32 hrs. (8 hours per day)
Learning results
By the end of the course the participants will be able to: 

  1. Analyse the theoretical framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions in public health.
  2. Identify and critique standardised methodologies for intervention development.
  3. Understand the questions to ask of existing evidence when developing complex public health interventions and approaches to answering them.
  4. Recognise the importance of logic models and theories of change in intervention development and evaluation
  5. Understand why feasibility and pilot studies are important, and how to use them to decide if an evaluation is worthwhile
  6. Understand when to use large scale randomised controlled trials, or natural experimental evaluation designs, to evaluate complex interventions
  7. Understand the role of process evaluation in making sense of how and why interventions work, in context

-          The theory and rationale underpinning the socio-ecological model
-          Complex systems perspectives
-          Typologies and examples of complex interventions
-          Research methods and tools for intervention development
-          Logic model development to inform the design and future evaluation of new interventions
-          Methods for involving policy makers, practitioners and the public
-          The MRC framework for evaluating complex interventions
-          MRC process evaluation guidance
-          Pilot trials and feasibility studies
-          Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), including pragmatic, “realist” and policy trials
-          Natural experiments

Teaching methodology:
-          Lectures
-          Case studies
-          Application exercises

Learning evaluation:
-          1 exam                                                           30%
-          1 case study                                                   70 %

Equipo Docente

Dr. Paulina Bravo Nurse, PhD. Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Dr. Paulina Bravo: I am Associate Professor at the School of Nursing, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. I am a mental health nurse. After obtaining my PhD at the School of Medicine in Cardiff University in 2012, I completed two postdoctoral research fellowships at Cardiff University, working on the conceptualization of patient empowerment (School of Medicine) and the development of a group motivational interview intervention for health promotion in schools (School of Social Sciences). I returned to Chile in 2014 and since then I have led and participated in several research projects focused on health promotion, patient-centred care and shared decision-making. I co-fouded the Iberoamerican Network for Shared Decision Making and I am a member of the IPDAS group. I am an Honorary Research Fellow for Cardiff University and served for four years as a member of the Faculty of Medicine Ethics Committee at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In 2018 I was appointed Director of Research for the School of Nursing. I have expertise and experience in qualitative and mixed methods studies, including action research, and approaches to actively involve participants in the research process.

Dr. Jemma Hawkins: I am a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer). I am also deputy lead for the Centre’s work on complex intervention methodology. After obtaining my BSc degree in Psychology at Cardiff University I worked as a primary care mental health practitioner in the NHS for three years before returning to Cardiff to complete a PhD in Health Psychology. After this I obtained funding for a post-doctoral position from the Welsh Government’s Social Care Research funding stream (Social Care Research Award). I then joined DECIPHer in 2013, working as a Research Associate for the Public Health Improvement Research Network for two years, before being promoted to Research Fellow in 2015. My research interests centre around methods for development and evaluation of complex population health interventions, including process evaluation methodology and co-production approaches. Linked to this, I lead the DECIPHer short course programme on evaluating complex interventions. I have a particular interest in school and community-based interventions for health improvement, with a focus on physical activity and mental health promotion. I have expertise and experience in mixed methods evaluations of complex public health interventions including trial methods, process evaluation methods and collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches to intervention design with key stakeholders.

Dr. Graham Moore: I am a Reader in Social Sciences and Health, Deputy Director of the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), and programme lead for complex intervention methodology in DECIPHer. After completing my PhD in the School of Social Sciences in 2010, I worked as a Research Associate for the Public Health Improvement Research Network, before obtaining a prestigious personal fellowship from the Medical Research Council in 2013. In 2015, I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer, before being appointed as Deputy Director of DECIPHer in 2016, achieving promotion to Reader in 2018. I have an international reputation as a specialist in methodology for evaluating complex interventions. I led the development and authorship of high impact MRC guidance for process evaluation of complex interventions.  and am joint PI on a new MRC grant to develop guidance for adaptation of social interventions for new contexts. As programme lead for DECIPHer"s complex intervention methods programme, I lead a series of established methodology short courses. Substantively, my main interests are in child and adolescent health inequalities and social intervention. I am deputy lead of the School Health Research Network with a main analytical focus on understanding mechanisms through which school social environments and school-based interventions may increase or reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health. I am a member of the NIHR Public Health Research Funding Board, CRUK Population Research Committee and a funding panel for the French National Cancer Institute. I currently chair the CRUK Prevention Expert Review Panel.

Dr. Honor Young: I joined Cardiff University"s School of Social Sciences and the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Intervention for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) in February 2014 where I am a lecturer in quantitative research methods. I am also part of the Q-Step Programme, designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training in the UK. Before joining Cardiff University, I worked as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the National University of Ireland, Galway working on the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study. Educated at Cardiff University (BSc Psychology), I am also a graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University (PhD, PgCTHE and MSc Health Psychology). My academic background is in Psychology with specific focus on Health Psychology. My PhD and Post-Doctoral research used mixed methods to explore young people"s attitudes towards sexual risk-taking and teenage pregnancy. Currently, my research interests include young people"s sexual health, sexual risk-taking behaviour and dating and relationship violence. I am also particularly interested in youth participation in research design.

Dr. GJ Melendez-Torres: G.J. is a Professor of Clinical and Social Epidemiology at the University of Exeter, where he directs a unit providing expert advice to the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of health interventions.  His major research focuses on the development of methods to support health technology assessment and systematic reviews of complex interventions.  Substantively, G.J works on the public health aspects of child and adolescent social development (specifically, schools and health) and on intimate partner violence.  He works closely with colleagues in DECIPHer, where he was previously a senior lecturer.

Requisitos de aprobación

To approve the course the student must:

  • Attend 100% of the classes.
  • Having a final mark of 4.0 or more in the evaluation tasks (1.0 to 7.0 scale).

The students who accomplished the approval requirements will receive a certification from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Proceso de Admisión

Las personas interesadas deberán completar la ficha de postulación que se encuentra en (Facultad de Medicina, Escuela de Enfermería)  y enviar los siguientes documentos a  al correo

-           Currículum vitae actualizado.
-           Copia simple de título o licenciatura (de acuerdo a cada programa).
-           Fotocopia simple del carnet de identidad por ambos lados.
-           Otros documentos que la unidad estime conveniente (de acuerdo a cada programa, solo cuando corresponda)



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