National Institute for Health Research

SPHR Bulletin

Autumn 2015 | Issue 3

Exploring Local Authority priority setting for public health investment

The main study from NIHR SPHR’s Shifting the Gravity of Spending project, which explores public health decision making and priority setting in the context of local government, has been completed and funding has been approved for a one-year follow-on study.

The research team is led by Professor David Hunter of Fuse (a collaboration between Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Teesside and Sunderland Universities). Other researchers include staff from the University of Kent, and the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), Sheffield University. 

The study found four main influences on priority setting:
  • organisational context
  • commissioning and priority-setting context
  • differing views of what counts as evidence
  • debate over what constitutes a public health intervention
Read more on our website

Active Buildings: modelling physical activity and movement in office buildings

NIHR SPHR’s Active Buildings study has found that office-based workers demonstrate high levels of sitting during both the working week and weekend. Interventions that target the working day and the evenings (weekday and weekend) to displace sitting with activity may offer most promise for reducing population levels of sedentary behaviour and increasing physical activity levels, and thus benefiting health.

The UCL research team was led by Professors Jane Wardle and Alexi Marmot. Other NIHR SPHR team members from the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield, and the University of Liverpool were members of the advisory board.

Read more on our website

Image: © Copyright Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Phase 2 of the Communities in Control study gets underway

Phase 2 of the Communities in Control study funded under NIHR SPHR's health inequalities programme has recently been approved following scientific review.
The research is investigating early social and health impacts of community empowerment in a major area based initiative – Big Local – being rolled out in 150 neighbourhoods across England.
Coordinated by Professor Jennie Popay, LiLaC, (Liverpool and Lancaster Universities Collaboration for Public Health Research), the study involves direct collaboration between five SPHR members (LiLaC, Exeter, Fuse (a collaboration between Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities), LSHTM and ScHARR). The University of Cambridge is involved in an advisory role to the study. Phase 2 runs for 18 months from October 2015 to March 2017.
For more information contact 
Read more on our website

The Age UK almanac of disease profiles in later life

Research supported by Age UK and the National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR) has generated a report ‘The Age UK almanac of disease profiles in later life: A reference on the frequency of major diseases, conditions and syndromes affecting older people in in England’.

The report is based on a series of studies carried out by the University of Exeter Medical School Ageing Research Group that reveal the current landscape of age-related disease prevalence and prescribing for people aged 60 to 100+, using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, Hospital Episode Statistics and other sources.

Read more on our website

Communities in Control Symposium at Med Soc – 7-9 September 2015

The NIHR SPHR Health Inequalities team delivered a symposium at this year’s BSA Medical Sociology Group’s national conference at the University of York based on findings from Phase 1 of the Communities in Control study.

The study seeks to better understand community empowerment initiatives as a method for improving the social determinants of health inequalities in more deprived communities in England and hence improving residents' health and wellbeing.

Read more on our website

How to evaluate your work around public health

On 16 September 2015, NIHR SPHR researchers at ScHARR, University of Sheffield teamed up with Doncaster Council to host an interactive workshop on evaluating strategies, policies or interventions aimed at improving the health and well-being of the population.

The workshop was attended by a broad range of participants from local authorities and NHS Foundation trusts to community organisations and charities. The format of the workshop allowed for the generation of some very valuable feedback. 

The event was heavily oversubscribed with attendees travelling from across Yorkshire and the North West. Due to the very positive response and demand for places, the NIHR SPHR team at ScHARR plan to hold another two workshops in 2016. Similar workshops have been held by NIHR SPHR members in London, Cambridge, Bristol, and Exeter and others are planned for the coming year. Details will be announced on the NIHR SPHR website.

Poster prize for Sara Ronzi 

Congratulations to SPHR researcher Sara Ronzi who recently won the prize for best poster at the Society for Social Medicine conference from Session A, held in Dublin, September 2-4 2015.  Sara’s poster was on age-friendly cities and based on her SPHR-funded PhD research.

Sara is based at the University of Liverpool (part of the LiLaC collaboration) and her research is related to SPHR’s ‘Age-friendly cities and towns’ project as part of the School’s Ageing Well research programme.

WISE – Wellbeing in Secondary Education

NIHR SPHR’s WISE project has conducted a Feasibility Study and Pilot Cluster Randomised Control Trial (RCT) on the development of an intervention to improve mental health support and training for secondary school staff. 

The research team is led by Dr Judi Kidger and Prof David Gunnell (the University of Bristol). Other researchers include staff from the University of Bristol, Exeter and UCL.

The study, which involved training school staff in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and setting up a peer support service for staff, shows that the intervention has potential to improve school staff mental health, and student mental health through enhanced mental health support skills among staff.

» more

Breakthrough Mentoring

NIHR SPHR’s Breakthrough Mentoring scheme has completed a feasibility study which indicates it would be possible to undertake a large scale Randomised Control Trial (RCT) to test the effectiveness of youth mentoring in the UK. The research team is led by Professor Rona Campbell (the University of Bristol).
Young people can experience social and behavioural problems that result in engagement in risky behaviours which can affect later life chances with high costs to the individual and society. Providing a vulnerable young person with an adult mentor is thought to help them develop life skills, confidence and good health and prevent negative outcomes. 

» more

Age Friendly Cities – highlights from end-of-project stakeholder workshop

Efforts to make cities age-friendly must be evidence-informed and evaluated, say NIHR SPHR researchers from the Cambridge Institute of Public Health and the University of Liverpool, drawing on fieldwork in Liverpool that included a focus on falls among older people that was carried out as part of the Ageing Well programme at the NIHR School for Public Health Research..

» more

Transforming the ‘foodscape’: - one in five UK adults eats meals out or order takeaways each week

Research carried out by Fuse (a collaboration between Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities) and University of Exeter carried out as part of NIHR SPHR’s: Transforming the ‘foodscape’ project shows between a fifth and a quarter of people in the UK dine out or eat takeaway meals at least once a week.

Food prepared out of the home tends to be less healthy than home cooking, particularly in terms of energy, salt and fat content, and regularly eating these meals is linked to poorer quality diet and higher risk of obesity. 

» more

In brief

NIHR Journals Library showcases NIHR SPHR research
We are pleased to announce that a selection our published research is now available through the NIHR Journals Library website.

NIHR has added two selections of published NIHR research which showcase final reports from the NIHR Horizon Scanning Research & Intelligence Centre (HSRIC) and NIHR schools, in addition to the existing Cochrane Programme Grants. 

Find out more...
Tighter local alcohol licensing curbs linked to fewer drink-related hospital admissions
Annual alcohol-related hospital admissions 2% lower than expected in areas with more restrictive policies.

Tighter local alcohol licensing curbs are linked to fewer drink-related hospital admissions in these areas, reveals SPHR research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Researchers from the University of Bristol, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, assessed alcohol licensing policies and responses to alcohol licensing applications.

Find out more...
Upcoming Events

01 December 2015 - Why Evaluate? Free workshop for local government practitioners (London)

NIHR SPHR announces fourth free one-day workshop on research, evidence and evaluation in local government

We are particularly interested in engaging with those working in housing, transport and planning etc. with an interest in designing evaluations.

Find out more…
10 December 2015 - Public involvement in research, evaluation & service design for health & well-being: a practice sharing event (Sheffield)
This interactive event will be useful for anyone interested in supporting the involvement of the general public in research, evaluation and service design for public health and well-being. We welcome members of the public and participants from any sector who consider themselves to be working in public health or in any area that has the potential to impact upon public health, such as: housing; police and crime; social services; education; planning; transport and so on.

Recent Events
25 September 2015 - Sexual Health and Alcohol Education for Young People

A team of NIHR SPHR alcohol programme researchers, led by Professor Rona Campbell from the University of Bristol, recently hosted a workshop in London to share their findings with an invited group of stakeholders in the field of sexual health. 

The workshop was well attended by sexual health and alcohol education consultants, advisers, commissioners and educators from local authorities and relevant national and international organisations.

It was a very valuable day, with everybody working hard in small groups on specific questions arising from the research. Findings from the workshop will feature in the next newsletter.
Ageing Well brochure
Our Ageing Well Programme has produced a new brochure highlighting the range of their work which is developing an integrated approach to optimising health in older age groups

Ageing Well Brochure
NIHR SPHR Researchers’ Network
Our researchers’ network is in the process of developing a mentoring scheme for researchers within the school.

The programme will aim to support the professional development and career plan of NIHR SPHR researchers and provide the opportunity to enhance researcher visibility, networks and collaborative relationships across the school.

Research students and early and mid-career researchers will be matched with a more senior academic within the School; someone who is trained and experienced in mentoring techniques and may be at a different host institution to their own.
Tribute to Professor Jane Wardle
We regret to announce that Professor Jane Wardle passed away on 20th October 2015.
Jane was a valued colleague and brought her exceptional expertise as one of the UK’s leading health psychologists to NIHR SPHR’s Active Buildings project. Jane was Director of the Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL and Cancer Research UK have written a very fitting tribute to her.

Recent Publications

Researching health inequalities with Community Researchers (Research Involvement and Engagement)
Socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle factors and burden of morbidity associated with self-reported hearing and vision impairments in older British community-dwelling men: a cross-sectional study (Journal for Public Health)
Identification of Behavior Change Techniques and Engagement Strategies to Design a Smartphone App to Reduce Alcohol Consumption Using a Formal Consensus Method (JMIR mHealth and uHealth) 
The return of public health to local government in England: changing the parameters of the public health prioritization debate? (Public Health)
The impact of type 2 diabetes prevention programmes based on risk-identification and lifestyle intervention intensity strategies: a cost-effectiveness analysis (Diabetic Medicine

Get in touch

For all enquiries please contact:

Catherine Porter
School Manager
NIHR School for Public
Health Research (SPHR)
Copyright © 2015 SPHR, All rights reserved.

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