LUCERNE INITIATIVE FOR FUNCTIONING, HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Welcome to LIFE, the Lucerne Initiative for Functioning, Health, and Well-being - a global initiative driven by the University of Lucerne. At LIFE, we embrace one of the greatest societal challenges of the 21st century: optimizing functioning, health , and well-being in the face of acute or chronic diseases, injuries, and aging. Our mission at LIFE is to promote a new understanding of health as functioning within society and to implement this understanding in healthcare systems, research, education, and practice.
The 21st century challenge: optimizing Functioning
In the 19th century, monumental advancements in public health, such as clean water, improved sanitation, nutrition, and remarkable progress in curative medicine during the 20th century, led to a doubling of life expectancy in developed countries.
Today, our challenge is to experience the gained years of life in the best possible health and with a high quality of life. Our well-being is closely intertwined with our health, shaping how we live our lives and contribute to society. We aspire to lead lives that align with our visions and enable us to actively participate in all aspects of society. This comprehensive perspective on health is what the World Health Organization (WHO) named ‘functioning’ in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (2021).
Functioning a new understanding of health
At the core of LIFE is the new concept of functioning developed by the World Health Organization. Functioning comprises all of the abilities and physical and mental assets that people need to do what they wish to do, become what they aspire to be, and flourish in the human community. Functioning, indeed, is the bridge linking health and well-being.
Our focus on this powerful notion of functioning gives us the basis for the understanding of what is needed to redesign the health system in order to address what ultimately matters to people about their health – namely their ability to live their fullest and best life. It opens the door to a fundamentally new approach to researching the full 360 degrees of a person's life, extending beyond biomedical to the psychological and social dimension of human life.
Utilizing functioning as a keystone concept entails the revolutionary move from the current healthcare system and research that focuses on mortality and morbidity, to one that also includes the person's own perspective on their complete lived experience of health – that is, their functioning.
With LIFE we are redefining health and well-being through transformative initiatives across these core areas
Integrated Health Systems: By collaborating with healthcare institutions and policymakers, we drive the integration of functioning concepts into health systems. This involves developing guidelines that empower healthcare professionals to assess and address patients' functioning needs within their treatment plans. Our focus on person-centered care models places functioning at the forefront for enhanced well-being.
Cutting-Edge Research: Our research projects explore the intricate interplay between biological, social, and environmental factors that shape functioning and health outcomes. Through these initiatives, we're contributing to evidence-based practices that pave the way for improved health systems.
Data Excellence: At LIFE we're leading the charge in establishing standardized tools and methodologies for collecting and analyzing functioning data.
Innovative Education: We work closely with key-stakeholders to infuse the concept of functioning across various curricula, spanning a range of disciplines. Our unique degree programs at the University of Lucerne, centered on the principle of functioning, offer students a holistic understanding of health that extends beyond traditional boundaries.
Empowerment and Engagement: LIFE is at the forefront of fostering empowerment and engagement through multidisciplinary events such as workshops, symposia, and conferences that delve into functioning, health, and well-being. Our community engagement initiatives are designed to address local health needs and contribute positively to broader societal well-being. Additionally, we aim to actively influencing policies at regional, national, and international levels with evidence-based recommendations.
LIFE works to shape a future where health transcends the mere absence of disease, and well-being thrives through optimal functioning. Join our group and follow our initiatives. Together, we can empower individuals, communities, and societies to unlock their fullest potential and lead lives of true fulfillment.
LIFE can collaborate with healthcare institutions and policymakers to integrate the concept of functioning into health systems. This may involve developing guidelines and protocols for healthcare professionals to assess and address patients' functioning needs in their treatment plans.
LIFE can support research projects that explore the interactions between biological, social, and environmental factors that influence functioning and health outcomes. These research initiatives can contribute to evidence-based practices and inform policies for improved health systems.
LIFE can lead efforts to establish standardized tools and methodologies for collecting and analyzing functioning data. This could include creating databases and registries to track functioning outcomes and measure the impact of interventions on patients' well-being.
LIFE can collaborate with rehabilitation centers and practitioners to develop evidence-based functional rehabilitation programs. These programs can cater to individuals with various health conditions and aim to enhance their functioning and overall quality of life.
LIFE can collaborate with various faculties and departments within universities and educational institutes to enhance the curriculum across different disciplines. By integrating the concept of functioning into various curricula, students from diverse fields can gain a deeper understanding of health, functioning and well-being from a holistic perspective.
LIFE can encourage and support interdisciplinary research projects that focus on health technology innovation. This may include the development of novel assistive technologies, digital health solutions, and wearable devices that enhance functioning and improve health outcomes.
LIFE can establish collaborations with healthcare providers and institutions in the region. By sharing knowledge and expertise, the university can contribute to the development of person-centered care models that prioritize functioning and well-being.
LIFE organizes interdisciplinary workshops, symposia, and conferences that bring together experts from various fields to discuss and share insights on functioning, health, and well-being.
LIFE can inform community engagement programs that connect the university with local communities. By involving community members in research and health initiatives, it can address local health needs and contribute to societal well-being.
LIFE can engage in policy advocacy and consultation with governmental and non-governmental organizations. By providing evidence-based recommendations, it can influence policies that promote functioning, health, and well-being at regional, national and international levels.
LIFE can spearhead public health awareness campaigns the broader community to foster a culture of health, functioning and well-being.
LIFE strategic projects
LIFE aims to achieve its goal of embedding a new understanding of health in society and implementing it in healthcare systems, research, education, and practice through two strategic projects.
Professor of Health Sciences with a focus in Health Communication
Professor of Health Sciences and Health Policy
Lead Strategic Council Swiss Learning Health System
Director Center for Rehabilitation in Global Health Systems
The pursuit of optimizing functioning carries wide-ranging implications for all aspects of society. The challenge lies in integrating this new understanding of health and well-being into our lives. This means implementing the paradigm shift within healthcare systems, research, education, and practice. This is precisely where the University of Lucerne's LIFE initiative steps in.
Since 2001, a dedicated scientific team, initially at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich and later at the University of Lucerne, has been committed to translating the paradigm shift into action.
Join us at LIFE and become a catalyst for transformation, empowering individuals, communities, and societies to embrace life to the fullest.
Experience the revolution in education through our distinctive degree programs that place functioning as the cornerstone of health.
Witness the groundbreaking research conducted at the University of Lucerne and our esteemed partner, Swiss Paraplegic Research, as we redefine the measurement and understanding of health outcomes.
In collaboration with the World Health Organization, we are developing the LIFE-Ruler—an innovative standard for reporting functioning data that will revolutionize healthcare decision-making. Join us on this transformative journey as we strive to enhance the health and well-being of individuals worldwide.
Together, let's create a world where health transcends the absence of disease, embracing optimal functioning that empowers individuals to lead fulfilling and purposeful lives.
Embrace the LIFE initiative at the University of Lucerne and become part of a movement that is reshaping the landscape of healthcare and well-being for generations to come.