Dean of ScHARR recognised for world-leading research

John BrazierCongratulations to Professor John Brazier, Dean of our School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), who has been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

The Fellowship brings together world-leading scientists from across the UK to pioneer the research that will transform the future of public health.

Celebrated globally, their work is renowned for providing real benefits to society while breaking new academic ground.

Professor Brazier said: “I am delighted to be elected to such a prestigious Academy of medical and health scientists, and pleased for the recognition it brings to the research undertaken in ScHARR. The Academy is influential in the development of research policy in this country and I hope to lend by support for investment in the important areas of applied health services and public health research.”

Fellows are elected from across the spectrum of biomedical and health research. Representing the cutting edge of medical science, they are chosen for their outstanding contribution to research and society.

Professor Brazier has been distinguished for his widely celebrated research in the area of economic evaluation of healthcare interventions. After more than 25 years at the forefront of health research, he is best known his work in developing a preference-based measure of health for the SF-36 (SF-6D), a survey now used across the world to monitor healthcare outcomes for patients.

Professor Brazier was Director of the Economic Evaluation Policy Research Unit (EEPRU) until taking up his new position as Dean. A collaboration between our University and the University of York, the Unit undertakes applied and methodological research that informs health policy in England.

Professor Brazier is also a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator (Emeritus), and in 2016 was listed as a Thomson Reuters 2016 Highly Cited Researcher.

He is currently involved in several innovative projects, including an investigation into the value of self management support interventions for long-term conditions, What works well in wellbeing in the community and a Medical Research Council (MRC) project to develop a new measure that better takes into account of wellbeing for use in health technology assessment, public health and social care.


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Public Health Newsletter Issue 5 – May 2017

headermarkstrong1Welcome to the latest issue of the ScHARR Public Health newsletter. In this issue we are very proud to be reporting that one of our recent PhD graduates, Sarita Panday, is off to Stanford to do a post-doc fellowship – well done Sarita! We also have other good news to report – Rebecca Pradeilles, who was with us as a Research Fellow until a year ago, is back. Rebecca will be working with Michelle Holdsworth, Hibbah Saeed and others on projects relating to dietary transitions in African cities.

We’ve won some interesting new grants – in particular Clare Relton’s project “Fresh Street”, which will explore the feasibility of using targeted cash incentives to increase fruit and veg consumption within neighbourhoods with high levels of socio-economic deprivation and low fruit and veg consumption.

As you can see, a bit of a nutrition theme at the moment – I’m doing my bit by trying to ensure both cake and fruit are at each section meeting…..

Public Health PhD graduate off to Stanford University

One of our recent PhD graduates, Sarita Panday has been selected for the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Developing Asia Health Policy for 2017-18 at Stanford Asia Health Policy Program and the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policy (APO) at Stanford University in the USA.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Sarita and we extend our best wishes and good luck for the fellowship which will start at the end of September 2017 and extend for 10 months.

You can read more about Sarita’s story here.

We have been awarded £55k from the Health Foundation to build on our research on primary healthcare’s response to new migrants. It is an Evidence into Practice grant with Liz Such as PI, Sarah Salway as senior steer and Liz Walton from AUPMC. We have two main partners – Doctors of the World UK and the tech firm YooMee. This work will start in April 2017 for 15 months – CLAHRC YH Public Health and Inequalities and Kate Pickett’s Health Inequalities strand are providing match to support the project. You can read the Health Foundation’s press release here.

The FRESH Street Project

Our ScHARR based team (in collaboration with Dr Megan Blake from Geography) have been awarded MRC PHIND funding (£149,000) to develop an area (street) based cash transfer scheme to promote healthy eating in areas of high deprivation. During this 18 month project we will work with key stakeholders in Barnsley to develop and then feasibility test a scheme which will target individuals of all ages (children, adults and older adults) in areas with low fresh fruit and vegetable and high processed food consumption and high social and economic deprivation. 

This innovative public health intervention aims to:

(i) increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption
(ii) encourage new purchasing, food preparation and eating patterns in the short term; and in the longer term
(iii) reduce food poverty and improve health outcomesIf successful, this intervention is likely to increase social cohesion and strengthen the resilience of local sustainable food systems and the food choice architecture.

Staff news

Welcoming new staff

Hibbah Saeed joined us on 1 May 2017 as a Research Associate in Global Public Health Nutrition. Hibbah will work across two research projects led by Michelle Holdsworth investigating dietary transitions in African cities.

Rebecca Pradeilles, a familiar face to some of us having worked in Public Health section previously and also as an Honorary, will be back from 1 May as a Research Fellow working alongside Michelle and Hibbah.

Goodbye and good luck

Sarah Hollely, Communications Officer on the SPHR Project left on 27 April. We wish her well in her new job at the INSIGNEO Institute here at the University.

Mel Rimmer is taking the ‘Big Walk 2017’

Mel will be taking part in the forthcoming Big Walk, which takes place 30 June to 1 July 2017. Walking 50 miles in 24 hours to raise money for the Sheffield Scanner. Mel would really appreciate your sponsorship – you can find Mel’s justgiving page here or you can text “MELR51 £5” (or any other amount) to 70070- a ‘big’ thank you from Mel.

Good luck to you Mel!


Julie Balen on achieving recognition as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy through the Learning and Teaching Professional Recognition Scheme.


Julie Dickinson has been elected to staff membership of the Senate for the period 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2020. The Senate’s role is to oversee the teaching and research of the University and the admission and regulation of students.

Hosting the Nigeria Patient Safety Conference in Lagos

The THET (Tropical Health Education Trust) project is a Health Partnership between ScHARR (the University of Sheffield), The Health Education Trust (THET) in the UK, Bayero University, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe.

Muhammad Saddiq through (THET) patient safety project successfully hosted the first ever Nigeria Patient Safety Conference in Lagos on 14 March 2017. The conference brought together 100 of the top leadership from health institutions across Nigeria to disseminate the experience of implementing changes aimed at improving patient safety culture in the two partner hospitals. Leadership of health institutions across the country were targeted because of their role in leading change in their respective organisations and also in educating the healthcare workforce. An important outcome of the conference is the celebrations among participants to set up a Nigeria Patient Safety Forum which will serve as an advocacy platform to government and practitioners towards actions aimed at accelerating the improvement in patient safety culture in the country.

Speakers at the Conference

Whilst in Nigeria, Muhammad was invited to participate in an interview for a breakfast show on Nigeria’s national broadcast channel as a follow up to the conference. The discussion focused on medical negligence, an important component of patient safety. The programme also included audience engagement through social media – you can listen to Muhammad’s interview here.

Clare Relton was recently invited to give a talk at Kings College, London entitled Trials within Cohorts (TwiCs) What are they and how are they being used? as part of the Cancer Epidemiology Population and Global Health Programme Seminar Series.

Recent Publications

Barnes A, Brown Garrett W, Harman S. Understanding global health and development partnerships: Perspectives from African and global health system professionals. Journal of Social Science & Medicine

Angus C, Holmes J, Maheswaran R, Green MA, Meier P, Brennan A. Mapping patterns and trends in the spatial availability of alcohol using low-level geographic data: A case study in England 2003-2013  International Journal of Environmental Research in Public Health, 14(4), 404

Gavens L, Holmes J, Buehringer G, McLeod J, Neumann M, Lingford-Hughes A, Hock ES, Meier PS. Interdisciplinary working in public health research: a proposed good practice checklist, Journal of Public Health

Li J, Lovatt M, Eadie D, Dobbie F, Meier P, Holmes J, Hastings G, MacKintosh AM. Public attitudes towards alcohol control policies in Scotland and England: Results from a mixed-methods study,  Social Science & Medicine

Horton P, S Banwart, G Brown, R Bruce, D Cameron, M Holdsworth, L Koh, J Ton, P Jackson. An agenda for integrated system-wide interdisciplinary agri-food research. Food Security 1-16.
doi: 10.1007/s12571-017-0648-4

Vedio, A, Liu, EZH, Lee, ACK, Salway, S. Improving access to health care for chronic hepatitis B among migrant Chinese populations: A systematic mixed methods review of barriers and enablers Journal of Viral Hepatitis

Such, E, Walton,E, Delaney,B, Harris, J, Salway, S. Adapting primary care for new migrants: a formative assessment BJGP Open, BJGP-2016-0620

Simkhada R, Wasti SP, Vijay GC, Lee A. Prevalence of depressive symptoms and its associated factors in older adults: A cross-sectional study in Kathmandu, Nepal. Aging & Mental Health

Akparibo R, Booth A, Lee A. Recovery, Relapse, and Episodes of Default in the Management of Acute Malnutrition in Children in Humanitarian Emergencies: A systematic review. Oxfam Humanitarian Evidence Programme

Hall ML, Lee ACK, Cartwright C, Maharatta S, Karki J, Simkhada P. The 2015 Nepal earthquake disaster: lessons learned one year on. Public Health 2017; 145:39-44

Lee A, Sim F, Mackie P. Ethical public health: more than just numbers (Editorial). Public Health, 2017;144:A1-2

Fox, N. J. and Alldred, P. (2016) Sociology, environment and health: a materialist approach. Public Health, 141: 287-293
doi: 0.1016/j.puhe.2016.09.015

Fox, N.J. and Alldred, P. (2017) Sociology and the New Materialism
London: Sage.

Hobbs M, Green M, Griffiths C, Jordan H, McKenna J. How different data sources and definitions of neighbourhood influence the association between food outlet availability and body mass index: a cross-sectional study.  Perspectives in Public Health

Alldred, P. and Fox, N.J. Materialism and micropolitics in sexualities education research.  In: Allen, L. and Rasmussen, M.L. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Sexuality Education.  London: Palgrave.

Alldred, P. and Fox, N.J.Young bodies, power and resistance: a new materialist perspective. Journal of Youth Studies

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Nepal earthquake, two years on: still too little, too late?

Simon Rushton, Julie Balen and Olivia Crane from the University of Sheffield were in Barpak with Professor Bhimsen Devkota and Sudha Ghimire, working on a SIID-funded project examining the resilience and reconstruction of the health system following the Nepal earthquake. This is one of a series of blog posts and journal articles published by the team.

This April 25th marks two years since two major earthquakes and almost 500 aftershocks struck Nepal with the epicentre in Gorkha district, some 150km west of Kathmandu. The impact of this disaster was staggering, with an estimated 9000 lives lost, 22,000 people injured and 700,000 houses damaged or destroyed. Moreover, thousands of public service buildings and vast infrastructure – schools, health centres, offices, bridges, roads, agriculture, irrigation and water supply systems and telecommunication networks – were impacted, many of which remain damaged. With so many lives lost and so many livelihoods disrupted, two years later the official response still appears to be “too little, too late”. Why have the victims of the earthquake been left, primarily, to fend for themselves through two wet monsoon seasons and two icy cold winters? And how will such an inadequate disaster response from the government impact upon Nepal’s emerging political landscape?

A total of 14 districts were severely affected by the disaster, with an additional 17 districts experiencing some degree of damage. The Nepalese Government set up the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund and established a National Emergency Operation Centre, through which new sources of aid were routed, within approximately one week of the first earthquake. However, the National Reconstruction Authority took nine months to become active and the government response was, overall, widely criticized for being too slow. International donors played an essential role, as did parts of the growing Nepali private sector and, by necessity, its citizens.

Relief and support was offered by many countries: India, China, Japan, UK, USA, and Germany were among those that provided the largest contributions, though search and rescue teams from 34 different countries were involved overall. Likewise, regional and international agencies such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, European Union and International Monetary Fund were among the highest supra-national donors. Besides these however it was the countless international, national and sub-national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organisations, together with so many affected local communities and family networks, that were critical in responding in which ever way possible.

In Barpak village, Gorkha, where we conducted our research 1 year ago, residents spoke of Nepali and Indian government helicopters and support during that early critical period. Triaging and emergency healthcare in the village was supplied by a private pharmacist, who trained youths to provide basic first aid support and used meagre resources from her family-owned pharmacy business; the government health centre was damaged and key health personnel were absent on the day of the earthquake (a Saturday) – a pattern that was seen across many rural health posts on that day.


Barpak village, April 2016 – one year after the earthquake many families lived in dangerous buildings or temporary shelters; Photo credit: Julie Balen

Two years on, and many of these same communities and citizens feel let down, forgotten and deserted. Far too many have not yet received any – and certainly not adequate – assistance or support, and have been left instead to, survive the traumatic events of 2015 and rebuild their homes, lives and communities primarily without external assistance. The most disadvantaged among them are those who were already marginalised in some way prior to the disaster; the extreme poor, the “lower” casts, the elderly, the disabled, the women. This is likely to widen disparities in the population, leading to poorer health outcomes.

Nepal 1

Younger and older women – often with migrant husbands, fathers or sons – bore a large burden from the disaster; Photo credit: Sudha Gimire

In May 2017 local elections will be held for the first time in 20 years*. These upcoming elections are a key moment in the country’s fraught transition to democracy and it is expected that the local polls will pave the way for provincial and then national elections later in the year. The impact of the formal response to the earthquake on voting patters and outcomes remains to be seen. Have actions taken (or not taken) been a missed opportunity to grow support for Nepal’s leading party, and will earthquake-affected areas vote, instead, in favour of the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party representatives?

At present, we can only speculate whether the national elections will indeed take place this year, and what impact the staggering earthquake, and by comparison the vastly deficient government response, will have on Nepal’s politics. One certainty however is that Nepal continues to be disaster prone, and any elected government will have to do a better job of preparedness and response in future.

* Nepal emerged from a brutal decade-long civil war in 2006, which brought the end of the 240-year-old monarchy and transformed it into a republic.

Article reproduced with permission from The Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) blog 

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International Development Masters Field Class to Nepal

by Matt Watson

dawn walk
Dawn walk up Siddalekh

Home after my first time as leader of my department’s Nepal field class, and its been great. Leading a group of two dozen Masters students from around the world to visit first Kathmandu then rural Dhading district, with excellent teams of staff from Sheffield and from Nepal, makes for a challenging but deeply rewarding experience.

Nepal is a great place to take a field class oriented towards equipping Masters graduates with skills for research and for taking actions to make things better in development situations. Nepal remains a relatively poor country facing fundamental challenges for the livelihoods and well being of its people; yet it is also changing fast and with many examples of creative, proactive initiatives engaging communities to work together for collective improvement.

Whole hills are manually terra-formed, and terraces created and maintained over generations still provide most food provisioning – looking towards Salang

The country’s dramatic terrain is part of the story of those challenges; but the class also get to enjoy its beauty – beauty which, through tourism, could help in enabling more and more diverse livelihoods, as well as providing extensive potential for hydroelectric development.

interviewing in salang
Interviewing in Salang

Perhaps most significant for the students’ experience, though, is the openness and hospitality of the people we work with in Nepal. It never ceases to amaze me how effortlessly villagers take in their stride a group of 4 students from around the world with a Nepali colleague – and occasionally a member of academic staff in tow – showing up to talk about their lives and experiences. Rush mats get spread out on the front porch, tea is offered, and all settle into the strange social situation of a multilingual international interview.

With members of Daxinkali Womens Network

We were able to visit examples of some of those creative initiatives, with partner NGOs Green Tara and Focus Nepal. Green Tara took us to Daxinkali where a long term project focused around reproductive health has not only seen improvements in key relevant indicators; still more compelling was the ways in which modes of engagement around reproductive health had enabled processes of female empowerment and cooperation, leading to development of women’s collective capacity to effect much broader changes. This was just one of the many things done for us by Green Tara, whose contribution to the field class cannot be over-stated.

eak raj explaining IPM development
Eak Raj Chattukli, Director of Focus Nepal, explains the IPM agriculture initiative

Focus Nepal took us to an initiative on our route out from Kathmandu to Dhadingbesi, where we were met by the farmers participating in another long term initiative. Through equipping farmers with new knowledge, based on Integrated Pest Management but extending to sustainable intensification and the establishment of new crops, land has been brought back into productivity and the collective has been able to produce enough harvest to open up new routes to market, enabling the initiative then to spread up the valley.

The core of the field class though is the students’ research with communities and stakeholders on the slopes of Siddalekh, in Dhading district. Groups of students pursued research projects, each group with a common topic developed themselves, with each student pursuing a specific question within that topic. This year’s projects covered mental health, reproductive health, mobile technology and migration. Over just five days, they not only gathered and analysed data but developed that analysis to the point of being able to present key findings.

Assistant Chief Executive Dhading District questions one of the groups

On our final day in the field area, we ran a dissemination event with guests including representatives of local women’s networks and community forestry groups, as well as a range of key people from the District capital of Dhadingbesi, including the Assistant Chief Executive of the District.

Analysis in progress, Shreeban

The event was held at Shreeban, which has been the field class residential centre since the class began in 2013. It is an excellent location for us, a real haven with sufficient accommodation, good food and very hospitable and relaxed staff. The dining room was converted into a presentation space. However, uncertainty pervaded the students final preparations of their presentations. A very dramatic thunderstorm two days earlier had knocked out the electricity supply to Shreeban and although restored earlier that day it had remained intermittent. So, students prepared not only powerpoint slides, but also backups of flipchart paper with key points in Nepalese. As the event started the electricity was indeed off, and the first group did a great job of presenting clearly without the prop of the slides. During their presentation though, the power came back and the rest of the groups had slides to talk to. Each presentation was re-presented in Nepalese by the group’s Nepali colleague.

From the short time in the field and the difficulties of finally preparing their presentations, the students did an incredible job of presenting compelling findings and credible policy recommendations which were well received by the audience.

Julie Balen, Johan Oldekop and me, the Sheffield staff team. Himalayas were dimly visible behind us, too dim for the camera.

Its quite something to be lead of such a team. Great colleagues from Sheffield – Julie Balen from ScHARR and Johan Oldekop from Geography, as well as invaluable additional support from Bhimsen Devkota from Tribhuvan University.

nepali team
Pratima, Ganga, Sabina, Rama, Pratiksha and Shiwani, Nepali Research Team members

A great team of Nepali staff – drivers of the 4x4s that got us around the field; Rajes and Dipak whose local knowledge, empathy and commitment means the students could find respondents; and our fantastic team of Nepali researchers. Pratima, Rama, Sabina, Ganga, Shiwani, led by Pratiksha Basnet are instrumental to the field class, enabled student groups to communicate with local residents across language barriers as key members of the team also contributing to data interpretation and analysis – as well as to the friendship and collaboration which underpins the groups’ work.

arrival photo
The class, welcomed by Green Tara at Tribhuvan Airport

Then the students. This time 24 students from the department’s range of International Development Masters programmes joined us, representing 10 different nationalities from 5 different continents. That the department’s Masters programmes is able to attract such excellent students is both foundational to the strength of the programmes, and a matter of pride for the department. They were thrown together into small groups of students from across nations – some groups with no students for whom English is a first language – working on an intensive few days of qualitative field research working with a Nepali colleague to interview local people in Dhading district. All of the groups, and the class as a whole, worked with dedication, intelligence, patience and cooperation to achieve great results and, together, to make a fantastic experience involving learning on so many levels.

Early during the period in Dhading, Julie, most of this year’s students and myself were guests of honour at the opening of a nearby village water scheme, funded by donations gathered by the University of Sheffield Friends of Nepal group – there’s an account of this here.

Originally published at Reproduced with permission

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University of Sheffield reaffirms position as member of the School for Public Health Research

RegentCourtBanner3The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has today (5 April 2017) reaffirmed the University of Sheffield’s position as a member of its School for Public Health Research (SPHR).

The School was established in April 2012 to bring together leading academic centres in England demonstrating excellence in public health research and to complement other NIHR funding streams.

It aims to build the evidence base for effective public health practice including what works practically to improve population health and reduce health inequalities and can be applied across the country to better meet the needs of policymakers, practitioners and the public.

The focus of the School is to continue to have a positive impact on public health, policy and capacity building. It will also continue to integrate with the public health landscape including Public Health England. Funding of £20.5 million – over five years is available to support the School.

Following an open competition, the membership of the School from 1 April 2017 until 30 March 2022 is :

  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • Fuse – Research collaboration between Newcastle University, Durham University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland and Teesside University
  • Imperial College London
  • LiLaC – Research collaboration between the University of Liverpool and University of Lancaster
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • University of Sheffield
  • University College London (UCL)

Professor Liddy Goyder, Deputy Dean of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and School for Public Health Research (SPHR) lead at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are delighted that the University of Sheffield will to continue to contribute as a member of this important national public health research collaboration.”

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Join Our Team

firthcourtbanner1We have a vacancy for a Research Associate in Global Public Health Nutrition.

The closing date is Mon 3 April 2017: note that there will be a quick turnaround for interviews (not stated on the ATJ).

Click here for more information.

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Cheap cider and an alcohol duty system that incentivises harmful practice

APE: Alcohol Policy and Epidemiology

Cheap alcohol and its association with harmful drinking have been at the centre of UK alcohol policy debate for almost a decade. Public health advocates have presented minimum unit pricing as a solution, but legal wrangles, political U-turns and the fine detail of devolution mean that the policy remains unimplemented in any UK country.

With their first choice policy on hold and a budget on the horizon, the Alcohol Health Alliance has, instead, turned its attention to taxation. The focus is on strong cider and the UK’s quirky system of alcohol duties which levies a uniquely low tax rate on some high strength ciders. This means that products such as Frosty Jack’s can be sold at budget prices. Indeed, you can help yourself to three litres of the stuff (equivalent to 24 shots of vodka or 22.5 units) from Iceland today for £3.50. These high strength, low cost ‘white…

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Obesity in secure mental health units: A call to action

Obesity rates among the general population are increasing, rising from 15% in 1993 to 26% in 2014.

However, for those with severe mental health problems, the rate of obesity is even higher due to the effects of medication, poor diet, alcohol misuse and less active lifestyles.

In addition, life expectancy of people living with serious mental illness is 15–20 years less than the general population and the need for parity of esteem between mental and physical health is a current priority.

As part of our role to provide advice to the NHS on specialised mental health services, PHE has published a review of evidence on obesity in adult mental health secure units and what the implications are for practice.

The impact of obesity for those in secure mental health services

Currently, around 6,000 people in the UK are detained in three high, 65 medium and 150 low secure mental health units due to their assessed risk to others or custodial sentences.

In these units, residents are not free to enter or leave at will.

A key finding of the review was that not only is obesity and overweight  more prevalent in the population detained within mental health secure units (with rates of up to 80% reported) than in the general population (around 60%), patients appear to be more at risk of weight gain when detained.

Factors influencing this include a combination of medication side effects, condition-related reduction in motivation for self-care, and environmental influences.

In mental health secure units, we also found evidence that there is a high risk of weight gain following admission, stemming from the combined effects of incarceration, ease of access to high calorific food, and the potential lack of access to recommended levels of physical activity.

The picture above highlights some of the risk factors we identified in the literature and the interaction between them

What interventions work in tackling obesity in secure mental health units?

A small body of exploratory research identified as part of the review highlighted that in order to address obesity and achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health in secure mental health units, a number of elements must be in place.

These include access to evidence based health promotion approaches and the associated training and equipment required, a range of dietary and physical activity strategies to reduce the obesogenic environment and changes in policy at ward level that address staff and patient behaviour change.

Interventions require attention to national guidance, such as NICE guidelines and policies, alignment with quality assessment and robust evaluation.

However, there is strong evidence of the need to tackle obesity on the ground in secure settings, for example the rates of obesity are high and can worsen over time with standard care.

Evidence suggests that small sequential steps are currently being made to change culture, policies, and staff and patient behaviours. However, there is much more to be explored in terms of tackling the problem.

Interventions need to be evaluated in larger-scale studies to assess how effective and applicable different approaches might be for specific populations, in particular those detained in secure units.

Our review conclusions recommend a focus on the following factors to reduce obesity and improve health and wellbeing:

  • Implementing policies that increase access to healthier food choices and physical activities
  • Encouraging staff to role model healthy behaviours
  • Gradually changing ward or unit policy and culture to encourage healthy lifestyle choices
  • Providing activities that are enjoyable and social.

These changes can also impact positively on feelings of confidence and wellbeing and help ease mental health problems.

A partnership approach

As well as reviewing published evidence we have engaged with service users, clinicians, commissioners and academics in the fields of mental health and obesity in the development of this review.

Our conversations highlighted that secure mental health services need guidance to assist decision making around some of the factors identified in our report, with food policies as well as access to NICE recommended levels of physical activity highlighted as key areas where support could be developed further.

While we know food policies in particular can be challenging to implement for a variety of reasons, the amount of calories that residents access over and above the daily recommendations for maintaining a healthy BMI can be detrimental to physical health in the long term.

We have identified this as an area that we will continue to explore along with our partner organisations including NHS England, the CQC, and of course service users and clinical experts going forwards.

The review has been undertaken in collaboration with PHE Yorkshire and Humber and the University of Sheffield, supported by a Medical Research Council grant.

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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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ScHARR success in NIHR Fellowships

kelly-mackenzieCongratulations to Kelly Mackenzie who has been awarded a a prestigious NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship.

This blog has previously reported on Kelly’s MPH project: Sit Less ScHARR

Kelly aims to develop, implement and evaluate the feasibility of a low-cost, co-produced complex intervention to reduce sitting time in different workplace settings. Sitting for long periods is linked to higher risks of health problems e.g. heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, neck/back problems, and early death. Sitting in the workplace can be a particular issue due to the increasing number of desk-based jobs where staff can sit for an average of six hours a day. Replacing some sitting time with light activities, such as standing and walking, could be an important way to improve the public’s health. Therefore, there is a need to develop, test and review the feasibility of interventions aimed at reducing workplace sitting time.

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