Better data to improve health and wellbeing

We have been reaching out to colleagues in local authorities and public health departments to highlight the value of research evidence in improving health and well being among local populations. The CLAHRC is forging useful links with our partners in local councils, bridging the gap between research and the front line.

Local authorities are a key audience for the CLAHRC as they are responsible for public health in their area. Public health includes prevention of illness and disease, sexual health and smoking cessation.

CLAHRC partners Islington and Camden Councils run lunchtime learning sessions for staff as part of their Using Data Better initiative. They invite speakers from various sectors to present the potential for data to improve health and health services for local residents. The boroughs have joined forces to deliver public health, and have a team of data analysts at work –  identifying issues that have a negative effect on people’s health, and planning to deal with those issues.

In October Dr Chiara Di Poli (below left) presented to public health staff and analysts in the two Councils.  Chiara was joined by the CLAHRC’s Professor Gwyn Bevan and health economist Dr Elena Pizzo, presenting evidence of the limited impact of current policy options on the projected diabetes ‘epidemic’ in Islington, which stimulated a lively discussion about what Islington might do to tackle this.

Chiara’s work is part of a wider CLAHRC study, led by Professor Bevan, investigating the design of research and decision support processes to ensure the utility of research outputs. We are making efforts to make our research more “user friendly” and accessible to colleagues in the NHS and local government so they can use it in decision-making around planning and commissioning services and interventions for the populations they serve.

There was learning on both sides – our researchers got an insight into the challenges faced by staff on the front line and an appreciation of the type of data local authorities collect and analyse to improve health and well-being. We offered projections on the likely impact on diabetes prevention of current policies adopted by local authorities.

Feedback from our audience was extremely positive and we hope this is the start of a fruitful collaboration between the CLAHRC and the Public health teams within Islington and Camden.

“Once again, thanks for delivering a wonderful presentation – many of us were fascinated by your progress, and it’s no surprise that our head of dept. is now keen to collaborate further”

Mustafa Kamara, Intelligence & Information Analyst, Camden and Islington Public Health

The role of board-level clinical leaders in quality improvement

CLAHRC researcher Dr Lorelei Jones has been invited to deliver a seminar on the role of clinical leaders on NHS boards in quality improvement (QI).

The Health Services Research Centre is a leading authority on health care management and has invited Lorelei as part of their prestigious events series.

The poster below gives an overview of what she will be covering.

Dr Jones is part of our iQUASER study looking at how NHS boards implement QUASER – a dialogical tool for senior hospital leaders to develop and implement QI strategies across their organisation.

Lorelei will be presenting some results from her extensive fieldwork among NHS boards for this research, which involved interviewing board members, observing meetings and scrutinising papers and documents.

Prof Angela Harden

Angela Harden is a Professor of Community and Family Health. She is a social scientist with expertise in public health and evidence-informed policy and practice. She has conducted extensive research into the health of young people and the communities in which they live. Key themes in her research include sexual and reproductive health, mental health, health inequalities, the wider determinants of health and the evaluation of complex interventions. Angela has a keen interest in research synthesis, transfer and exchange. She is widely known for her methodological work integrating qualitative research into systematic reviews. Motivated by a desire to learn from the views and experiences of those targeted by public health interventions, this work has received international acclaim.
Before joining UEL Angela held research and teaching positions in a number of universities including the Institute of Education at the University of London, Kings College, and Middlesex University. In 2003 she was awarded a four year senior research fellowship by the Department of Health on the promotion of young people’s health. Her most recent post was as Associate Director of the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre at the Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education. Here she ran a number of large research projects as well as contributing to the design and delivery of a new MSc in Evidence Informed Policy and Practice. Between 2005 and 2008 she co-directed the Methods for Research Synthesis Node of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods. Internationally, Angela is an active contributor to the Cochrane and Campbell collaborations. She is a co-convenor of the Cochrane Qualitative Methods Research Group and was a co-director of the Cochrane Health Promotion and Public Health Field until it became the Cochrane Public Health Review Group in 2008. She now serves on the methodological advisory board for this new research group.
As a newly appointed Professor of Community and Family Health, Angela’s remit is to develop a programme of research linked to improving the health of Newham. Working closely with colleagues in UEL, Newham University Hospital Trust and relevant external partners, she will focus on research with local relevance for improving health and reducing inequalities. Please click here for more details on this research programme.

Funding success to develop research on vitamin B12 trial for pregnant women in India

Professor Monica Lakhanpaul, Principal Investigator on our NEON study has successfully applied for funding to develop a major research programme addressing the needs of women and children in India.

Professor Lakhanpaul (pictured below) is leading an application in respond to a call supported by a number of organisations from the UK and India (see below) under the title Global Research Programme; addressing the health needs of women and children in disadvantaged populations globally

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India, in collaboration with Department of International Development(DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) joint call to fund global health research addressing the health needs of women and children

Successful applicants will build partnerships across the UK and India to execute research that will impact the ability to prevent, diagnose and manage prevalent chronic and infectious diseases facing women and their unborn children in low-and middle-income (LMIC).

By successfully navigating the initial round of the application process (“the concept proposal”) Professor Lakhanpaul has secured a £4000 travel grant to support the development of a partnership for the full proposal development process. Her initial concept proposal was for a vitamin on vitamin B12 trial in pregnant women and children in India.

A full proposal will be made in September for the larger pot of funding.

Monica’s work with the Bangladeshi community in East London is also referenced in a recent blog Can women talking save lives? Reducing inequalities in newborn mortality in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malawi

 

Developing innovative approaches to increasing awareness of asthma control among young people

In Control

Based on findings from research previously conducted by the school-based asthma project, part of our Child and Adolescent Health Theme, the team have worked with Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre to develop a theatre production addressing asthma control. The theatre piece In Control has been performed in schools since June 2017, and was recently featured as part of the British Science Festival held in Brighton 5th – 9th September 2017.

Photo credit: Gerard Monaco

The aim of the play is to change the perception and image of asthma among young people, in order to help those with asthma feel supported and therefore better able to manage their condition. Written as a collaboration between the theatre and research teams, young people with asthma were involved to advise on the storylines and dialogue to make the play as real and as accessible as possible.

In Control follows a 15-year old girl, Jazz with asthma through a week of detention with two of her classmates. Usually confident and outgoing, Jazz hides that she has asthma and is reluctant to accept help when finding it difficult to breathe. After the play, the protagonist stays in character as the students participate in a discussion of the themes raised, facilitated by the other two actors. Engaging the school audiences through theatre gives a new angle from which to involve young people in thinking and talking about the challenges faced by those with asthma.

Dr Gioia Mosler from QMUL said: “It was an amazing experience seeing the direct emotional effect that a play can have on these school groups. We have been hugely encouraged by the initial reactions to this project and we are already starting to study how effective this kind of intervention can be to help young people deal with their asthma.”

Dr Jonathan Grigg, professor of paediatric respiratory medicine at QMUL and project lead added: “We must develop innovative ways of improving asthma outcomes in children and young people. Our work with Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre has identified a new space where interventions can be delivered and tested outside the standard medical model.”

Photo credit: Tunde Euba

Dr Gioia Mosler, Outreach and Learning Manager for the school-based asthma project, and Tunde Euba, Arts Practitioner working with Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre, have written about the development of In Control for The Lancet: Taking Control Through Drama 

 Asthma Dodge

Also featured at the British Science Festival, was Asthma Dodge – a smartphone game developed in collaboration with the Centre of the Cell, a science education centre at Queen Mary University of London. In the game, the player takes the role of a young person with asthma. The aim is to run as fast as possible to reach the Centre of the Cell, dodging the asthma triggers along the way. Information about asthma is incorporated into the game, such as how asthma affects the airways, how different medication works, and the different types of triggers for asthma symptoms.

The ‘Asthma Dodge’ game can be downloaded from the Apple and Google Play stores; visit the Centre of the Cell website to read more. #Asthma Dodge

School-based Questionnaire on Asthma Control in London Secondary School Children

In a previous study from the school-based asthma project team, questionnaires completed by over 750 secondary school-aged students from schools in London revealed that only 54% of participants were managing their asthma well. Out of those whose asthma was not well controlled, almost half thought they had good asthma control. The school-based questionnaire also highlighted that students often feel uncomfortable about using an inhaler at school.

A short summary of this study can be found here, or read the full paper here.

 

 

Congratulations to CLAHRC HEE NCEL Fellow Pinkie Chambers

Pinkie Chambers, a senior pharmacist at UCLH and former CLAHRC HEE NCEL Fellow is celebrating success in securing a prestigious NIHR Fellowship award.

After spending a year with the CLAHRC to hone her research skills, and against stiff competition, Pinkie secured a Doctoral Research Fellowship (DRF), which offers 3 years full-time funding (or 4 or 5 years part-time) to undertake a PhD.

The DRF is aimed at individuals, of outstanding potential, early in their research careers.

The Fellowship scheme aims to fast-track them through a customised research training programme in an environment reflecting their individual talents and training needs.

It is anticipated that successful applicants would become independent research leaders within 6 to 10 years of completing the DRF award.

During her year with us as a CLAHRC/HEE NCEL Fellow Pinkie developed her skills and worked on her application to the NIHR.

Her areas of interest include improving the chemotherapy pathway for cancer patients, and supporting patients to self-administer some of their blood tests to avoid hospital visits.

As well as her work as a Senior pharmacist at UCLH, Pinkie is also Joint Chair of the London Cancer Chemotherapy Expert Reference Group.

In particular Pinkie was commended by the NIHR for her efforts to involve patients and the public in her work which were described as “exceptional” – thanks in no small part to the CLAHRC’ Research Advisory Panel who Pinkie worked with during her CLAHRC/HEE NCEL Fellowship and who she presented to twice.

Read more about Pinkie’s time with us here

Our congratulations to Pinkie and best wishes for her future career