Pioneering holistic wellbeing innovations

The Challenge

At present, key societal systems, including healthcare, education and community-based organizations, often operate in isolation. These systems tend to prioritize their specific, narrow objectives over a more integrated approach to wellbeing. For instance, healthcare may focus on symptom relief, education on job readiness, and community-based organizations on localized projects, exacerbated by a generalized failure to engage in partnership working. In essence, this narrow focus jeopardizes our collective potential for creating sustainable, healthy futures in a post-growth world.

The Method

Guided by our theoretical framework of individual, collective and planetary wellbeing and supported by competitive funding from Health and Care Research Wales, we are working toward holistic, action-based solutions to complex, systemic issues, that serve to promote human flourishing across multiple scales.

We adopt an action-based research approach, facilitating a dynamic, self-reinforcing cycle where theory and real-world interventions mutually inform each other.

In healthcare, we've introduced a targeted positive psychotherapy intervention for ABI patients across three health boards in South Wales.

These developments have informed developments in the education sector, leading to an innovative wellbeing course for undergraduate students.

Working closely alongside community-based partners has allowed us to harness available local resources, leading to unimagined opportunities, such as our surf therapy intervention for people living with acquired brain injury, and our community supported agriculture project for the wider community.

The Impact

The transformative impact of our theoretical framework is palpable, serving as a catalyst for systemic change across healthcare, education, and community-based organizations.

In healthcare, our initiatives have led to a significant overhaul in service delivery and design. This work has garnered several awards, including the Commitment to Research & Development Award from Swansea Bay University Health Board in 2018 and 2023. It has also received commendations from key policy-makers like Baroness Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Health and Social Services, Welsh Government (2019), and Dr Chris Jones, the Deputy Medical Officer for Wales (2017).

In the educational sector, our work has influenced systemic educational practices, recognized through the Guardian University Award for Community and Societal Impact in 2018 and a Research and Innovation Award for Outstanding Impact on Health and Wellbeing from Swansea University in the same year. More recently, our work has featured in the Advance HE Compendium on Embedding Health and Wellbeing in the Curriculum (2023) and is influencing educational approaches in over 400 institutions.

The scope of our impact is both localized and global, with international accolades from academic peers who have praised our work as standing "at the forefront of true applied transdisciplinarity."

Research lead

Zoe Fisher

Zoe Fisher
The text reads United Nations Sustainable Development Themes
UN Sustainable goal - health
Text reads Swansea University Research Themes