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NCCIH Research Blog

How To Measure Well-Being: Summary of Joint VA-NCCIH Forum on Enhancing Well-Being Measurement

August 19, 2021

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.


Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Merav Sabri, Ph.D.

Merav Sabri, Ph.D.

Program Director

Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Today, we are pleased to share the summary of a recent meeting held to discuss potential strategies to improve measurement of holistic well-being outcomes in research, clinical care, and population health promotion. Although health promotion efforts have historically focused on indicators of disease and dysfunction, measures of well-being can provide a common language among patients, clinicians, policymakers, and others to define and assess positive outcomes.

On June 14, 2021, the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health convened “Enhancing Well-Being Measurement in Health Research, Clinical Care, and Population Health Promotion” to provide a forum in which researchers and other stakeholders could learn about different approaches to measuring well-being, as well as the relevance of measuring well-being within different organizational contexts and populations. The forum was cochaired by Ben Kligler, M.D., and Dawne Vogt, Ph.D., and included planning group members from both the VA and NCCIH. Many prominent leaders in the field of well-being measurement research participated; the robust dialogue built excitement and will impact future research efforts focusing on well-being and inclusion of measures of well-being in clinical trials and other intervention studies.

Panel topics at the meeting included:

  • Why is well-being important to assess?
  • What aspects of well-being are most important to assess?
  • What are the different approaches for measuring well-being?

Three breakout sessions focused on the following topics:

  • Aspects of well-being that are important to consider in health research, clinical care, and population health promotion
  • Ways to promote more attention to well-being measurement in health research, clinical care, and population health promotion
  • Well-being as a “common language” to promote equity across diverse populations

We welcome you to read the meeting summary and let us know if you have input on improving measures of well-being!

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