Three presenters gave interesting, diverse accounts of theoretical approaches to trust in a Southgate Theory Club on November 14th 2017. The seminar was chaired by Prof. Colin MacDougall. Prof. Paul Ward, Prof. David Hunter, and Dr. Toni Delany-Crowe gave examples of projects that explored trust, and the theoretical basis they used.
Prof. Ward opened with noting that trust in social institutions, including health care, was generally seen to be on the decline globally, and that this had implications for public health efforts. He presented the example of his research with people who are choosing not to vaccinate their children. Prof. Hunter discussed the central and overlooked role of trust in informed consent for health care, and in research ethics committee deliberations. Dr. Delany-Crowe described trust between sectors of government in collaborative healthy public policy work.
It was clear from the presentations that trust was critical to explore in public health research, that it couldn’t be taken for granted, and needed a strong theoretical framework to understand the role it played and how it affected health care, health policy, and other outcomes.