Head of Research for the well-being of the working-aged

The new Research Center for Human Functioning was recently established at SAMK to focus on the well-being of Satakunta's workers and address labor supply challenges in the region. The research center is led by Henna Kyhä, Head of Research and Doctor of Philosophy (Education).

Henna Kyhä istuu keltaisella tuolilla.

Henna Kyhä, a project expert in health and education, is the manager of the newly established Research Center for Human Functioning. Kyhä finds the center important for Satakunta’s labor supply challenges.

The Research Center for Human Functioning is based on two key challenges for the vitality of Satakunta: the shrinking workforce and the declining functional capacity of the population. According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), mental health problems, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, smoking, and substance abuse, as well as cardiovascular diseases, are the main factors that impair working and functional capacity in Finland.

A prosperous and skilled workforce is a vital pillar of our society

– A prosperous and skilled workforce is a vital pillar of our society’s economic and social sustainability. A shrinking workforce will inevitably lead to ever-fiercer competition for a skilled and prosperous workforce. We need to find new ways to help people stay in employment for as long and as healthy as possible,” concludes Kyhä.

Kyhä has a background in both social sciences and education. Graduating as a work counsellor is her latest achievement in this field. Interest in research and development has been a feature of Kyhä’s career, and she has also worked on research projects at the University of Turku, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Satasairaala Hospital and the City of Pori. Her varied work history includes research and teaching in health and social care and education – she has worked on projects focusing on children, young people, and families as well as the working-aged. She has also been involved in an EU-funded project in shipbuilding.

Kyhä has always been fascinated by various social and working life phenomena. Her doctoral thesis, completed in 2011, is still relevant: in her dissertation, she studied the careers of immigrants with a university degree in their country of origin in Finland.

“The best-functioning workforce is in Satakunta”

The Research Centercent for Human Functioning collaborates with the Wellbeing Services County of Satakunta, companies, and the region’s third sector, as well as with other research centers at SAMK. Kyhä wants to steer the research center towards a stronger and more innovative interdisciplinary research direction that considers the needs of the country’s workforce.

– As one innovative initiative, we recently launched a preliminary study to explore the field of mental health using artificial intelligence. The broader question that interests us is whether AI can be used to identify factors that would predict the onset of mental health disorders from a preventative perspective,” says Kyhä.

The research center will serve Satakunta’s economy by increasing the well-being and functional capacity of the workforce. The vision of the research center is to make the people of Satakunta the best-functioning workforce in Finland.

Find out more about the new research center Read the latest ‘We Research’ article

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