Activity reports

16.02.2011

2010 Report on Activities

Publisher: Mgr. Lenka Šťastná Ph.D. | Last update: 16.02.2011

The entering of the second five-year period of our Centre’s activities was marked by the sustained pace of our work. Some of the plans for the year 2010 I mentioned at the conclusion of the last year’s report may have appeared rather bold. Today I can say that every little thing has been accomplished, although it was a truly demanding year in all respects.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

The entering of the second five-year period of our Centre’s activities was marked by the sustained pace of our work. Some of the plans for the year 2010 I mentioned at the conclusion of the last year’s report may have appeared rather bold. Today I can say that every little thing has been accomplished, although it was a truly demanding year in all respects.

The finalisation of the process of accreditation and the opening of the first year of the follow-up master’s study programme in addictology probably posed the greatest challenges. Of course, the work did not stop with the successful completion of the accreditation process in 2009, as everything needed to be ready for the first year’s students starting their courses in September 2010. Thanks to the commitment and coordinated efforts of the entire teaching team this work turned out to be rather enjoyable. Nevertheless, such a scope of work within the deadlines that had been set would be inconceivable without financial support from European funds. The students had all the essentials for instruction prepared in time and no major complications occurred, except for occasional everyday organisational problems. The same can be said about the excellent work of the team as they sought to improve and further elaborate the combined format of bachelor’s studies in addictology. Our aim was to enable more students, particularly those living and working outside Prague, to pursue this field of study. We decided to enhance the standard of this programme, extend the offer of study materials, and to further increase the expertise of the teachers. Here, too, we made use of European funds, which made it possible for our students to obtain a number of interesting and innovative learning aids. In terms of instruction, thus, the Centre as a whole took huge steps forward in 2010. In addition to the task of stabilising and improving what had already been achieved (both the full-time and combined formats of studies), we crossed a significant line: launching the master’s academic programme, we have completed the cycle of undergraduate education in addictology in the Czech Republic and determined the roles of both levels in clinical and theoretical terms.

The year 2010 was also marked by two more major projects. Our Centre has coordinated one of the largest development projects on primary prevention in the post-1989 history of the Czech Republic. The VYNSPI project is not an easy one. Dozens of experts are working on its implementation around the country and several thousand education professionals are involved in its training programmes. In this respect, the Centre for Addictology has assumed a truly demanding task aiming at the proposal for a national system of training in the prevention of risk behaviour. In terms of its conceptual framework and organisation, the successful attempt at the implementation of a development project with our partners in Georgia was no less challenging. I believe that not only did we manage to fulfil all the project’s objectives, including a quite demanding three-week summer school for professionals from various parts of Georgia, but we also did a good job on the strengthening of training in addictology in the region and, in addition to contributing to the good reputation of the Czech Republic, we planted a seed of future collaboration with the entire region there. Networking with both universities and clinical facilities is not easy in this area; the reasons for some of the difficulties go far beyond the professional dimension of work. Georgia ranks among the countries of high priority for our foreign policy and, as former segments of the Eastern Bloc, we share a piece of common history.

Several lines of the development of international cooperation took place in our 2010 activities. Apart from the project mentioned above, we strove to emphasise this aspect in relation to research. Although this dimension is mainly represented by prevention-oriented research (including the investigation of the effectiveness of preventive interventions and the study of broad family factors exerting an influence on drug use), I also have to mention the initial core efforts in the domain of harm reduction and the first modest achievements in research into treatment interventions. The emphasis on international cooperation in research and development is becoming a priority to which we subordinate many of our current activities. Although it is a very difficult process, I believe that we are managing to develop it successfully and that the growing number of postgraduate students involved will also reinforce this trend. The international partnerships go hand in hand with the emphasis on improving our staff’s publication competencies and the use of the platform offered by the Adiktologie journal. This periodical has developed into an ideal “springboard” for novice researchers and I am pleased to say that third-year students are already publishing their contributions there.

I would also like to touch upon the two major areas of our work represented by the activities involving life-long education and conferences. It was a matter of fact that the conferences which have received long-term support from the Centre, “Primary Prevention of Risk Behaviour” (www.pprch.cz), “Qualitative Approach and Methods in Human Science” (www.qakonference.cz), and the “Addictology Prize” (http://adiktologie.cz/cz/articles/detail/172/1835/Cena-adiktologie-2010-nominujte-kandidaty-v-ruznych-kategoriich) took place in 2010 too. The year 2010, however, was distinct because of two significant events. The first was the 10th Annual Meeting of the ISAJE (International Association of Addiction Journal Editors), hosted by the Centre in September5, bringing together all the senior figures of the association and representatives of leading professional periodicals concerned with addiction-related issues, including the British Addiction. The other event in which we participated in the professional agenda was the conference “Urban Drug Policies in the Globalised World” (www.konference-praha.cz, www.urbandrugpolicy.com), held at the turn of September and October. Both events met with a very positive response and it was gratifying to see in Prague eminent representatives of our field, who were satisfied not only with the organisation of both events but also with the fact that the discipline is flourishing and meeting high European standards. All this, of course, would be impossible without great support from our faculty and hospital. I would therefore like to thank the senior officials of our home Department of Psychiatry and the management of the First Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague and the General University Hospital in Prague for their unwavering support and the staff of both institutions for making it possible for us to pursue our activities.

Prague, 4 February 2011
Assoc. Prof. Michal Miovský, MA, PhD.
Head, Centre for Addictology,
Department of Psychiatry, First Faculty of Medicine,
Charles University in Prague
and General University Hospital in Prague


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