Public Health Newsletter Issue 4 – February 2017


Welcome to the latest issue of the ScHARR Public Health newsletter. We have some fantastic news to share with you this issue. One of our recent PhD graduates, Dr Jiban Karki, has been awarded the Chancellor’s medal in recognition of his humanitarian work in Nepal through the organisation PHASE Nepal. This is very well deserved – congratulations Jiban!  Read more about Jiban’s story below. Jiban will continue to collaborate with ScHARR colleagues over the coming years through his honorary contract with us.

There is plenty more good news in this edition. We have recruited five more excellent students into our Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Centre (well done Petra for your immense hard work). The new cohort includes our very own Colette Kearney, who is currently working as an RA with Sam Caton. See below for brief biographies of all five.

Viola Cassetti appears in this edition’s “Meet our PhD students” slot (Viola began her PhD back in October, supervised by Katie and Tom), and the rest of the newsletter contains the usual mix of other news about grants, conferences and publications. Enjoy!

News from the Wellcome Trust DTC in Public Health Economics and Decision Sciences – Petra Meier

Firstly, let me give you a quick update on the 2016 cohort: Most of you will by now have met our five Wellcome PhD students Sarah Bates, Tom Bayley, Simon McNamara, Genevieve David and Robert Smith at section meetings or other activities. The students have been busy juggling their second semester modules, self-directed learning, research attachments – they join three different research teams for around 3x 8 weeks to get a feel for the breadth of ScHARR research and develop topic ideas – and extra sessions such as meeting public health and health economic decision makers.  Soon, they will need to narrow down their wide research interests and start working up proposals for their thesis research.
We are also excited (and, in my case at least, very relieved) to have completed the selection of five more wonderful candidates for the September 2017 intake from some 110 applicants. Unless something changes, we will welcome:
Nicolás Silva Illanes currently works as an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health, University of Chile. His background is in medicine, with a Master in Public Policy and Master in Public Health. He is clearly somewhat addicted to masters degrees, as he is currently adding a Master in Biostatistics to his collection. He has experience across a range of public health and health economic topics, but has a special interest in health financing and in cancer research.
Naomi Gibbs has an undergraduate degree in economics and is currently completing an MSc Economics & Health Economics. She has significant experience working in the local and international charity sector as well as in higher education research management.
Sundus Mahdi studied psychology and completed an MSc in Health Psychology. Her research interests include weight management and behaviour change. Over the years she has cared for the mental health of both refugees and young children, carried out applied NHS research and interned at Public Health England. She currently works as a Project Manager at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Joseph (Joonhyung) Kwon, from South Korea, completed a BSc and MSc in Economics, and is now studying for an MSc Health Economics at York where he is also involved in a meta-analysis of utility values in paediatric populations. He is interested in the burden of disease of childhood chronic illness and the methodological challenges of economic evaluations research in paediatric populations.
Colette Kearney’s background is in psychology and human nutrition. She currently works right HERE in ScHARR Public Health, researching food preferences and eating behaviours in young children.
It is a demanding selection process involving application, shortlisting, interview and aptitude test, trying to satisfy a panel of people interested in public health, policy, stats and economics. Not for the faint-hearted so well done everyone, look forward to having you here!

Colette Kearney gives us an insight into why she applied for the Wellcome Trust PhD Scheme

I have really enjoyed working as a research assistant in Public Health, ScHARR for the past year and I applied for the Wellcome Trust PhD scheme because I am keen to continue my research into the preferences and eating behaviour of young children and how interventions targeted at children can prevent obesity. The scheme will not only allow me to develop my research skills beyond the RA level, it will also enable me to consider this area from a health economic perspective, with the potential to influence policy. I am really pleased that I can continue my research journey in ScHARR and look forward to starting the Wellcome Trust doctoral training scheme in September.

Chancellor’s Medal Award 2016 – Dr Jiban Karki

It was with immense pride and delight that we heard Dr Jiban Karki, one of our recent PhD graduates, has been awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for 2016 in recognition of the extraordinary work he undertook on humanitarian grounds before and after the devastating earthquake that hit his home country of Nepal in April 2015. Jiban took leave of absence from his studies and spent several months in Nepal, leading and managing the delivery of aid via his Non-Government Organisation, whilst continuing to help raise funds to carry out immediate emergency activities to provide shelter, food and health aid, as well as more long term recovery and reconstruction. It was this selflessness of putting his fellow country people above his own needs, studies and life here in the UK that made him such a worthy recipient of this award. Jiban will receive his award at a formal presentation and citation at his degree ceremony in July 2017.

Here Jiban tells us what receiving the award means to him.

I would like to thank the Vice Chancellor and the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellors for awarding me the Chancellor’s Medal 2016 as recognition of my work with PHASE Nepal. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Deborah Sporton, Matt Watson, Simon Rushton, Julie Balen and my colleagues at the University of Sheffield for noticing my work and nominating me for the medal. Furthermore, my special thanks go to those who generously supported PHASE Nepal especially after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, and to my colleagues in Nepal without which we would not have achieved what we have. I feel it is a combined achievement of all of us who were involved in this work by helping and implementing the work of PHASE Nepal. It is my honour to receive this medal for all of us, I only happened to be there at the right time. I find it difficult to find the right words that express enough how grateful PHASE Nepal and I are for getting this recognition, it is our lifetime achievement. It encourages me and my colleagues to do more.

PHASE Nepal ( is a development NGO established in 2006. It implements integrated community development programmes in Health, Education and Livelihood improvement in hard to reach remote areas of Nepal. At the time of 2015 Nepal Earthquake many of PHASE’s staff were in two of the hardest hit districts of Nepal, including our senior management team who were on their way to project supervision. Regardless of our own losses, worries and challenges we responded to rescue and relief work immediately with our reserve resources initially and later continued with financial and moral support from people and organizations around the world including those from the University of Sheffield. Immediately after the earthquake, in addition to its regular work, PHASE Nepal provided temporary shelter materials, food, wash kits, seeds, construction tools and solar lights to over 14,000 households and built about 60 temporary learning centres for schools and temporary spaces for health facilities. PHASE also provided psychological counselling and provided learning materials to teachers and students in some of the affected schools. Currently PHASE is involved in reconstruction of permanent wash facilities, school buildings and health post buildings in Sindhupalchok and Gorkha districts. This has been possible with support from people like you at the University of Sheffield and around. Unfortunately, people are still living in temporary makeshift shelters waiting for the resources to build their permanent dwellings. Therefore, there is still a need do more to build a permanent liveable place for many people to live a decent life.  If you are interested in PHASE’s work or want to support please visit our website above.

Nick Fox, Honorary Professor of Sociology, is organising the second British Sociological Association conference on Society, Environment and Human Health, following the success of the inaugural conference in 2016.

The conference takes place at the University of Cardiff on 27 October 2017.  The guest speaker is Dr Ben Wheeler (University of Exeter), on ‘Natural environments, health and inequalities: evidence and policy’. A call for short papers will be launched shortly, and further details may be obtained from Nick.  The registration fee for the conference will be £30 for staff, £15 for full-time students.

Major international alcohol conference to be hosted by ScHARR
5-9 June 2017

KBS 2017 – 43rd Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society

Several members of the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group are currently very busy preparing to host the 2017 KBS conference. This annual five day event attracts alcohol researchers and policy experts from around the world to share their current work in progress. Although billed as an epidemiology conference, KBS attracts papers from a wide variety of disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, criminology, economics, history and other sciences on topics as diverse as drinking patterns, social inequalities, industry involvement, treatment, and harm to others.
The conference has a proud tradition of egalitarianism: papers are presented in themed pairs followed by comments from a discussant. However, these groupings are chosen on the basis of shared interests rather than seniority, and so provide a great opportunity for interaction irrespective of experience.
To show Sheffield at its finest, the conference welcome reception will be held in the Winter Gardens and the conference dinner at Cutlers’ Hall. Social tours are always held on the Wednesday afternoon of the conference: the choices this year will be a tour of Chatsworth followed by a dinner, a trip to Castleton for a walk in the Peak District, or a view into Sheffield’s industrial past at Kelham Island Museum.
Various members of SARG are also already limbering up for what some regard as the highlight of the conference – the Tuesday evening ‘friendly’ football match – open to all delegates willing to risk injury to either body or ego!
Thanks to those involved in the conference organisation and/or scientific committee: John Holmes, Jenny Doole, Rob Pryce, Petra Meier, Sidney Sherbourne, Laura Webster, Penny Buykx, and colleagues from York, London, Liverpool and Stockholm.

ScHARR team presenting work at the
Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research
Vancouver, November 2016

Health Systems Global (HSG) is the first international membership organisation fully dedicated to promoting health systems research and knowledge translation. Every 2 years it organises a symposium to bring together its members with the full range of players involved in health systems and policy research. There is currently no other international gathering that serves the needs of this community – making the symposia highly attractive to academics, practitioners and students alike.

In November 2016 the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research was held in Vancouver, Canada. Among several thousands of abstracts submitted, ScHARR staff and students had success with their submissions, including oral, poster and e-poster presentations. Thanks to generous funding from HSG as well as ScHARR public health section and others, a number of us were able to attend and present work among peers from around the world.

The symposium theme of “Resilient and Responsive Health Systems for a Changing World” fit well with the global health research conducted at ScHARR and we welcomed the opportunity to gain feedback on our work, attend a range of sessions – including ones exploring the opportunities and challenges of teaching health systems – and network with a range of partners and alumni. Apart from sharing our work and learning from others’, the symposium is an opportunity to be a part of a dynamic and interdisciplinary community aiming to build a field of research and transform health systems across the world.

We are already looking forward to the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research next year – in nearby Liverpool!

L to R: Maelle de Seze, PhD student, Sarita Panday, recent PhD graduate, Henock Taddese, PhD alumni, Andrea Madrid Menendez, PhD student, Samuel Lassa, recent PhD graduate, Vivian Ugochi Ukah , MPH-HSR alumni, Muhammad Saddiq, University Teacher, Julie Balen, Lecturer in Global Health) – Also presenting work but not in the photo: Jiban Karki, recent PhD graduate, Mrinalini Anand, EuroPubHealth student

Funding and Grant Wins

We had recent success with two applications to World Universities Network (WUN) for Research Development Funding:
Sarah Salway working with Jill Thompson from Nursing and Midwifery (PIs) to study issues of health and well-being in migrants.
Robert Akparibo and Julie Balen are co-investigators on the study Mpower:Empowering women for health.
The application process was very competitive and our researchers made the only two successful Sheffield applications and two out of twelve worldwide in this round so a great achievement!

Julie Balen also has good news to share – British Council Newton Fund was awarded for a bilateral workshop on Neglected Diseases, with China to the total amount of 50,000 GBP. Julie is co-investigator and the ScHARR lead for this work, the PI is based at Queens University, Belfast. Although small it does tap into significant networks within China as well as a new collaboration with Queens. The workshop is scheduled for mid June in Shanghai.

Yorkshire Health Study interview for Sheffield Live TV

Clare Relton, project lead, was recently interviewed for Sheffield Live TV on the Yorkshire Health Study (and the Yorkshire Health Calculator). If you missed it, you can hear the interview here

Congratulations to Kelly MacKenzie who was successful in the recent round of the NIHR Fellowship Programme and has been offered a prestigious NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship. Read more about Kelly’s amazing achievement and future plans here

Confirmation review passed

Serena Vicario successfully passed her confirmation review in December 2016.

Congratulations to our new Higher Education Academy Fellows recognised through the Personal Pathway of the Learning and Teaching Professional Recognition Scheme:

Sarita Panday
Fellow (FHEA)
Jennifer Burr
Senior Fellow (SFHEA)
Katie Powell

Senior Fellow (SFHEA)

Meet Viola Cassetti – PhD student

I’m Viola, I graduated as an anthropologist in 2010 and worked for about three years in Nicaragua and Mexico in community projects in rural areas. I came back to Europe two years ago to undertake the European MPH course, starting at ScHARR for my first year and moving to Grenada, Spain to specialise in health promotion and salutogenesis for the second year. During this time, I worked as a research assistant on a study to improve model of care for children’s’ eye services, with ScHARR and CLAHRC, and collaborated with the Director of Public Health Service in Valencia, Spain to develop local guidance for community actions in health promotion.

This past October, the great new adventure of the PhD has started. Under the supervision of Katie Powell and  Tom Sanders, my research will look at how asset based community health promotion programmes can help reduce health inequalities and will involve a cross-case analysis between Valencia (Spain) and Sheffield. In both areas, local interventions are focusing on improving communities’ wellbeing by enhancing people’s skills and promoting social cohesion. Looking at these two different settings, the aim of my research is to contribute to the understanding of how, for whom and in which circumstances asset-based approaches can promote health in communities and help reduce inequalities.

Recent Publications

Cooper R, Tsoneva J – Benefits and tensions in delivering public health in community pharmacies – a qualitative study of healthy living pharmacy staff champions
DOI 10.1111/ijpp.12323

Johnson M, O’Hara R, Hirst E, Weyman A, Turner J, Mason S, Quinn T, Shewan J, Siriwardena Niroshan A – Multiple triangulation and collaborative research using qualitative methods to explore decision making in pre-hospital emergency care
DOI 10.1186/s12874-017-0290-z

Stok FM, Hoffmann S, Volkert D, Boeing H, Ensenauer R, Stelmach-Mardas M, Kiesswetter E, Weber A, Rohm H, Lien N, Brug J, Holdsworth M, Renner B. 

The DONE framework: Creation, evaluation, and updating of an interdisciplinary, dynamic framework 2.0 of determinants of nutrition and eating.PLoS One. 2017 Feb 2;12(2):e0171077

Sullivan RK, Marsh S, Halvarsson J, Holdsworth M, Waterlander W, Poelman MP, Salmond JA, Christian H, Koh LS, Cade JE, Spence JC, Woodward A, Maddison R.
Smartphone Apps for Measuring Human Health and Climate Change Co-Benefits: A Comparison and Quality Rating of Available Apps. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2016 Dec 19;4(4):e135.
DOI 10.2196/mhealth.5931

Condello G, Ling FC, Bianco A, Chastin S, Cardon G, Ciarapica D, Conte D, Cortis C, De Craemer M, Di Blasio A, Gjaka M, Hansen S, Holdsworth M, Iacoviello L, Izzicupo P, Jaeschke L, Leone L, Manoni L, Menescardi C, Migliaccio S, Nazare JA, Perchoux C, Pesce C, Pierik F, Pischon T, Polito A, Puggina A, Sannella A, Schlicht W, Schulz H, Simon C, Steinbrecher A, MacDonncha C, Capranica L (2016). Using concept mapping in the development of the EU-PAD framework (EUropean-Physical Activity Determinants across the life course): a DEDIPAC-study. BMC Public Health.  9;16(1):1145.
DOI 10.1186/s12889-016-3800-8

Akparibo R, Harris J, Blank L, Campbell M J, Holdsworth MSevere acute malnutrition in children aged under 5 years can be successfully managed in a non-emergency routine community healthcare setting in Ghana
DOI 10.1111/mcn.12417

(Note –  accepted for publication in the Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal expected to be out soon)

Vedio A, Liu Eva Zhi Hong, Lee A, Salway S Improving access to health care for chronic hepatitis B among migrant Chinese populations: A systematic mixed methods review of barriers and enablers

Mackenzie K, Till S, Basu S – Sedentary behaviour in NHS staff: implications for organisations
DOI 10.1093/occmed/kqx010

Iliyasu Z, Galadanci H S, Ahmed Z, Gajida A U, Aliyu   M H
Prevalence and Patterns of Sexual Activity during Pregnancy in Kano, Northern Nigeria

Nick Fox, Honorary Professor of Sociology, has also recently had a new book published:  Fox, N.J. and Alldred, P. (2017) Sociology and the New Materialism.  London: Sage.



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