Health Research Institute

The core activity of the Health Research Institute is the organisation and performance of research work. The Institute participates in the implementation of study programmes, organises and conducts R&D activities, trains researchers, and participates in the training of specialists.

The research topic of the Institute is the monitoring and evaluation of health and lifestyle indicators of the Lithuanian population and the implementation of health-related policies. This topic is pursued through the following general objectives of the Institute:

  • Participation in the activities of international and national organisations, networks and institutions, cooperation and expert assistance to health policy makers.
  • Monitoring and scientific assessment of the health of the Lithuanian population, health-related lifestyle indicators and risk factors.
  • Participation in the training of biomedical researchers in public health.
Cooperation with the WHO

The Health Research Institute accredited as the WHO Collaborating Centre

In 2012, the Health Research Institute of the Faculty of Public Health of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (hereafter – the Institute) was accredited for the first time by the World Health Organization as a WHO Collaborating Centre for the Prevention & Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. In 2016 and 2020, the Institute was re-accredited for four years, and Dr. Mindaugas Štelemėkas was appointed as the head of the Collaborating Centre. 

The main objectives of the Centre are research in the fields of biomedicine and social sciences, training of scientists, provision of the high-level expert services to institutions that shape and implement the overreaching health policy of the country and its individual regions.

 WHO Collaborating Centre for the Prevention & Control Noncommunicable Diseases

Projects

Project “Adjustment and Coordination of Youth-Friendly Health Care Service Provision Model at National Level”

In order to address the most wide-spread health-related problems of young people in Lithuania, the project “Development of a Youth Friendly Health Care Service Provision Model” was implemented in 2014-2017. The aim of the model developed under the project was to encourage young people to adopt healthier lifestyles and to provide them with quality, accessible and customized Youth-Friendly Health Services (YFHS) using the respective algorithms.

The second phase of the project, “Adjustment and coordination of the youth-friendly health care service provision model at national level”, has been conducted in the period 2019-2023. The aim of this project was to strengthen the capacity of municipal professionals in the implementation of the YFHS provision model. The following activities have been anticipated: 1) development of two new algorithms and the adaptation of the previous six algorithms; 2) development of guidelines for young people with mental health problems and their families; 3) training of municipal specialists; 4) development of guidelines for the youth coordinators’ activities; 5) continuous coordination of the implementation of the model and the development of the competences of the YFHS coordinators; 6) administration of the web portal Health Network; 7) evaluation of the effectiveness of the YFHS model.

The project has developed and applied algorithms to address the most wide-spread issues related to the incidence of depression, risk of suicide and self-harm, use of alcohol and psychoactive substances, eating disorders, and health problems related to overweight and obesity, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and sexual violence among young people in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian University of Health Sciences participated as a partner in this project and carried out an evaluation of the effectiveness of the YFHS model.

Project promoter: the Institute of Hygiene (Centre for Health Education and Disease Prevention)

Project partner: the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences

Head of the project at LSMU: Prof. Dr. Mindaugas Štelemėkas

Implementation period: 2019-2023

Long-term projects, collaborative activities
Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC)An international study conducted by the World Health Organization every 4 years in more than 40 European countries, as well as the United States and Canada. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of young people’s lifestyle, behaviour and health. The target group of the study is 5th-, 7th- and 9th-grade students.
The study has been conducted in Lithuania since 1994. In addition to various health factors (physical activity, nutrition, risky behaviour), the study also looks at psychological and social factors such as life satisfaction, family and school environment, communication with friends, help-seeking, etc.
Website: http://www.hbsc.org/
Principal investigator: Kastytis Šmigelskas.WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance InitiativeThe Growth Surveillance Study of Lithuanian Children is part of the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  The aim of this initiative is to routinely monitor overweight and obesity among primary school children in order to properly assess the extent of this epidemic in the study population and to allow comparisons between countries in the study. The results of the study are important in the development of national and international health policies.
This study is conducted in countries within the WHO European Region according to a protocol and methodology approved by experts. 13 countries participated in the first phase, which took place in the academic year 2007-2008: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden. The number of countries participating in the survey is growing rapidly every year. More than 40 countries were taking part in the fifth phase that took place in the academic year 2018-2019.  Lithuania participated in all four stages in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2016 and planned to participate in the following stage in spring 2019.
Website: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/activities/who-european-childhood-obesity-surveillance-initiative-cosi
Principal investigator: Aušra Petrauskienė European Observatory on Health Systems and PoliciesActivities in the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies network. Information about Lithuania is provided regularly to the network and joint publications on the development of the Lithuanian health system are planned.
Website:
https://www.hspm.org/mainpage.aspx
Lithuania’s profile:
https://www.hspm.org/countries/lithuania14112013/countrypage.aspx
Joined in 2014, participation continues till present.
Representatives: Mindaugas Štelemėkas, Laura Miščikienė, Kristina ŽalnieraitienėCollaboration with the US HeartMath Institute (HMI) Joint activities started in 2014 with the donation and installation of a pT sensitivity magnetometer at the LSMU Institute of Animal Science in the middle of Lithuania. With about 300 km coverage of magnetic oscillations, the magnetometer covers the entire territory of Lithuania. It is the first magnetometer of this sensitivity in Europe. The processes registered by these magnetometers are used to carry out research at the HMI (the US) and LSMU and KTU (Lithuania). At the beginning of the project, the HMI was developing the data accesses, and KTU conducted and continues to explore and develop new methods of analysis. The LSMU staff has been collecting data and analysing the relationships between human mental and health conditions and the characteristics of the local magnetic field of the Earth.
One of the first activities was the exploration and development of methods for the simultaneous analysis of the registered human and Earth parameters. This is summarised in the publication “Human heart rhythm sensitivity to earth local magnetic field fluctuations”. A methodology was developed using the developed matrix analysis to compare the changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and the human heart rate, their synchronism, and even to assess each person’s sensitivity to these fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field.
In 2017, together with the Department of Mathematical Modelling at KTU, we developed algorithms and programs for a more detailed analysis of the Earth’s magnetic field.
Continued collaboration since 2014.
Principal investigator: Alfonsas VainorasStudy “Babies Born Better” A long-term international project. This is a survey of women who have given birth in the last 5 years and analyses their experiences and opinions regarding the care they have received. The project aims to identify good practices in maternity care in Europe and to find ways to optimise maternal and child health care in different countries. The survey is currently conducted in 25 languages both inside and outside the EU.
Website: http://www.babiesbornbetter.org/
Principal investigator: Giedrė Širvisnkienė
 Projects
The International Student Health and Lifestyle Study SLiCE (Student Life Cohort in Europe)The study is coordinated by Pavol Jozef Šafárik University (Košice, Slovakia). Preparations for the next phase of the study took place in 2016, with the participation of Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary), Miskolc University (Hungary), Charles University (Czech Republic) and Uzhhorod University (Ukraine). The study was launched in 2017. 2017-2018 m. In 2017-2018, the following project was carried out under the funding of the State Public Health Promotion Fund:“Development of the methodology for estimating alcohol-related harm and harm assessment in Lithuania in 2015-2016” A project funded by the State Public Health Promotion Fund was launched in 2018:  Trends in the use of unaccounted tobacco products in LithuaniaProject duration: 2 years. BaltCityPrevention. Various preventive health promotion measures currently in use are not always effective, as they use methods that do not fully respond to the specific needs of consumers. Fifteen BaltCityPrevention project partners from seven countries in the Baltic Sea Region will test more inclusive and user-centred approaches to design and implement prevention and health promotion interventions.
New technologies will be used not only in the planning process itself, but also as a tool to implement preventive measures. The involvement and active participation of students in this process is a key element of the new model of intervention we are developing. The Public Health Authorities (PHA) will have the opportunity to propose preventive interventions to address a range of personal health issues.
Goals:
•To identify the health promotion needs for the PHAs to better target interventions to specific user groups.
•To organise interventions using modern technology in order to focus on user involvement in the planning and implementation of these interventions.
•To test the developed intervention models in different pilot studies.
•To promote cooperation between the PHAs and e-health companies in the health sector.
Implementation period: 01/10/2017 – 31/09/2020
Total project value: about EUR 2.7 mln
Programa: The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020
Leading project promoter: Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Head of the project at the Institute: Kastytis Šmigelskas  Learn4Health Erasmus+ funded project aiming, besides other aims, to develop and test innovative methods of healthy eating education. The leading head of the project is Aalborg University (Denmark). The project also involves partners from the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Spain, and Slovenia. Implementation period: 21/12/2016 – 30/08/2019. More about the project: http://learn4health.eu/ Healthy Boost Urban Labs for Better Health for All in the Baltic Sea Region – boosting cross-sectoral cooperation for health and wellbeing in the cities. Implementation period: 01/2019 – 30/06/2021
Total project value: about EUR 2.53 mln
Programme: The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020
Head of the project Institute: Agnė Slapšinskaitė. 

ProjectDevelopment of Prevention of Factors for Child and Adolescent Suicide and Violence, Availability of Assistance, and Quality of Provided ServicesThe project is co-financed by the European Union Structural Funds. Its aim is to develop opportunities for the prevention of factors for suicide and violence among children and adolescents, and to improve the availability of assistance and the quality of services provided. The project is expected to make a significant contribution to the development of the quality and accessibility of mental health services for young people. Head of the project: Prof. Dr. Nida Žemaitienė. The project is financed by the Operational Programme for Investment of European Union Funds. Implementation period: 2018–2021. For more information about the project click here  
COSI

The Growth Surveillance Study of Lithuanian Children (WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative). The Growth Surveillance Study of Lithuanian Children is part of the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The aim of this initiative is to routinely monitor overweight and obesity in primary school children in order to properly assess the extent of this epidemic in the study population and to allow comparisons between countries in the study. The results of the study are important in the development of national and international health policies.
This study is being conducted in countries within the WHO European Region according to a protocol and methodology approved by experts. 13 countries participated in the first phase, which took place in the academic year 2007-2008: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden. The number of countries participating in the survey is growing rapidly every year. More than 40 countries took part in the fifth phase that took place in the academic year 2018-2019. Lithuania represented by Prof. Aušra Petrauskienė participated in all four stages in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2016 and planned to participate in the following stage in spring 2019.
Website: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/activities/who-european-childhood-obesity-surveillance-initiative-cosi
Principal investigator: Aušra Petrauskienė
Publications: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/activities/who-european-childhood-obesity-surveillance-initiative-cosi/cosi-publications

HBSC

Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) is an international study conducted by the World Health Organization every 4 years in more than 40 European countries, as well as the United States and Canada. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of the lifestyle, behaviour and health of young people. The target group of the study is 5th-, 7th- and 9th-grade students. The study has been conducted in Lithuania since 1994. In addition to various health factors (physical activity, nutrition, risky behaviour), the study also looks at psychological and social factors such as life satisfaction, family and school environment, communication with friends, help-seeking, etc.
Website: http://www.hbsc.org/
Principal investigator: Kastytis Šmigelskas.

Electronic publications by the Institute

Vilius Grabauskas, Jūratė Klumbienė, Janina Petkevičienė, Edita Šakytė, Vilma Kriaučionienė, Aurelijus Veryga. Health Behaviour among Lithuanian Adult Population, 2012. Kaunas, 2013. Download

Vilius Grabauskas, Jūratė Klumbienė, Janina Petkevičienė, Edita Šakytė, Vilma Kriaučionienė, Aurelijus Veryga. Health Behaviour among Lithuanian Adult Population, 2014. Kaunas, 2015. Download

Apolinaras Zaborskis, Kastytis Šmigelskas, Tomas Vaičiūnas, Aurelijus Veryga, Nida Žemaitienė, Reda Mocevičienė, Linas Šumskas, Vilma Kriaučionienė, Mindaugas Štelemėkas, Vaida Liutkutė, Vilius Grabauskas. Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Study 2014. An HBSC Study (Lietuvos mokinių gyvensena: 2014 m. HBSC tyrimas). Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, 2016. Download

Mindaugas Štelemėkas, Ilona Tamutienė, Vaida Liutkutė-Gumarov, Milda Makutėnaitė, Birutė Jogaitė, Tadas Telksnys. Alkoholio vartojimo sąlygojamas žalos Lietuvoje skaičiavimo metodika ir žalos įvertinimas 2015 ir 2016 m. (Methodology for Calculation of Alcohol-Attributable Damage in Lithuania and Damage Assessment 2015 and 2016) Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Kaunas, 2018. ISBN 978-9955-15-582-9. Download

Kastytis Šmigelskas, Justė Lukoševičiūtė, Agnė Slapšinskaitė, Tomas Vaičiūnas, Judita Bulotaitė, Monika Žemaitaitytė, Laura Šalčiūnaitė, Apolinaras Zaborskis. Key Results of the HBSC Study 2018 (Pagrindiniai 2018 m. HBSC tyrimo rezultatai). Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Medical Academy. Kaunas, 2019. Download

Vaida Liutkutė-Gumarov. Smoking-attributable social and economic harm assessment in Lithuania (Rūkymo socialinės ir ekonominės žalos vertinimas Lietuvoje). Doctoral dissertation, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Medical Academy. Kaunas, 2019. Download

Aušra Petrauskienė, Monika Grincaitė, Vilma Kriaučionienė, Laura Miščikienė, Justina Vaitkevičiūtė. Growth and Lifestyle Surveillance Study of the 1st Grade Students in Lithuania. Study Results 2008-2019 (COSI) (Lietuvos pirmos klasės mokinių augimo ir gyvensenos stebėsena (COSI): 2008-2019 metų tyrimų rezultatai). Kaunas, 2020. Download

Vaida Liutkutė-Gumarov,  Justina Vaitkevičiūtė, Lukas Galkus, Mindaugas Štelemėkas, Janina Petkevičienė, Laura Miščikienė. Unaccounted Tobacco Products in Lithuania: Feasibility Study on the Assessment of the Issue (Neapskaityto tabako gaminių problemos vertinimo galimybės Lietuvoje). Vilnius, 2021. DownloadAnnex 1 Annex 2

New! Justina Vaitkevičiūtė, Lukas Galkus, Vladas Golambiauskas, Nijolė Goštautaitė-Midttun, Vaida Liutkutė-Gumarov, Laura Miščikienė, Janina Petkevičienė, Mindaugas Štelemėkas, Monika Žemaitaitytė. Study of the Spread and Habits of Electronic Cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products among the Lithuanian population (Lietuvos gyventojų elektroninių cigarečių ir kaitinamojo tabako gaminių vartojimo paplitimo ir įpročių tyrimas). Kaunas, 2022. Download. Annexes.

Major publications by the Health Research Institute
Health Research Institute
+370 37 407 930 sti@lsmu.lt
Tilžės g. 18, Kaunas
Mindaugas Štelemėkas
Head of the Health Research Institute