Eurest Catalunya and UIC Barcelona Create New Chair to Assess Health and Education Policy
Eurest Catalunya, a leading company in the catering industry and part of the Compass Group, has teamed up with the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC Barcelona) to create a Chair that will assess policy in the healthcare and education spheres.
The Chair of Public Finance: Healthcare and Education Policy Assessment will look at issues such as nutrition and obesity in order to study the effectiveness of the different programmes designed to halt the pandemic of excess weight affecting today's society.
The Chair represents further strengthening of Eurest Catalunya’s commitment to innovation and public health. In the words of Eva Òdena, the company’s president: “We are experts in nutrition and serve 17 million meals per year in schools, companies, hospitals and other institutions in Catalonia. We are committed to public health and nutrition and we want to contribute to the study of the public policies that represent the most efficient way to achieve these goals".
The Head of the Chair is Dr. Toni Mora, who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences and the Director of the Doctorate School at the UIC Barcelona. In recent years, Dr. Mora has focused his research efforts on the health, education and regional economies and has had a number of articles published in leading international journals.
“The majority of public spending in Catalonia goes on healthcare and education, so access to and use of microdata is key to being able to analyse the efficiency of public policy”, Dr. Mora explained. To achieve this, the Chair will establish collaboration agreements with various ministries of the Government of Catalonia and the Catalan Institute of Statistics in order to collect data that will allow it to assess different public policies.
The Chair will focus on three main areas of research: nutrition and obesity, the impact of educational levels and programme evaluation in education, and the use of healthcare resources.
Within the first area, the research team led by Dr. Mora will evaluate factors such as the effect of potential educational campaigns to reduce consumption of sugared drinks and snacks by children.
“Although our nutritionists strive to offer a balanced diet in school canteens, we believe educational and awareness-raising campaigns are very important, as once they’re outside school children may choose to buy more calorific foods that should not be abused”, remarked Òdena.
In terms of education, the Chair will also analyse the impact of various educational programmes, such as the use of laptops in secondary-school classrooms and the effect of university scholarships on academic performance and emigration away from Catalonia.
Finally, the Chair will also study the use of healthcare resources by measuring parameters such as the effect of co-payment on the consumption of medicines in Catalonia, depending on the level of education, and the presence of chronic and other diseases.