Alliance for Self Care Research 2.0 re-launched

The Alliance for Self Care Research (ASCR) has been relaunched today. It will be supported by the School of Nursing & Midwifery at the University of Dundee, the School of Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, the School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health at the University of Stirling and the Social Dimensions of Health Institute (SDHI) of the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. The original Alliance for Self Care Research (2005-2011), directed by Professor Sally Wyke (now University of Glasgow) was one of three consortia in Scotland that was supported by the Scottish Funding Council, the Chief Scientist Office, the NHS NES, and involved the nursing, midwifery and allied health departments at six universities and their regional NHS health board partners. With today’s relaunch the Alliance will build on the successes of its predecessor but also develop new collaborations, activities and initiatives under its new Director, Dr Steve MacGillivray (Congratulations!). SDHI is delighted about the continuation of this valuable consortium and will regularly report on the activities of ASCR 2.0. SDHI will be represented by Professor Vikki Entwistle (University of Dundee), and Dr Gozde Ozakinci (University of St Andrews).

SDHI to host Symposium ‘Understanding and promoting physical activity of people with physical disabilities’

SDHI will host a Half-Day Symposium on 30 April 2012 to focus on psychosocial and environmental factors involved in supporting or preventing engagement in physical activity of people with acquired or lifelong physical disabilities. The symposium will be a GloCal event. Local presentations will be complemented by speakers from the US. Moreover, we will use social media to extend reach and interactivity on the day. We are now inviting researchers with a specific interest in research about physical activity of people with disabilities (e.g. spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, post-polio or stroke) to register their interest. Please note the focus will not be to prevent chronic conditions in the general population but to examine opportunities to enhance physical activity for those with existing disabilities. The aim of this mini-symposium is knowledge sharing of research experiences and the development of new research ideas. Please register for the event with SDHI by contacting Rosanne Bell r.c.bell @

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TCELT is the acronym for a new network of researchers initiated by Professor Divya Jindal-Snape and colleagues at the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education from various disciplines and colleges at the University of Dundee. The acronym stands for ‘Transformative Change: Educational and Life Transitions’. One of the key areas of research and development interest are ‘life transitions for wellbeing’. SDHI is pleased to work with TCELT in partnership on wellbeing issues. For more information visit TCELT

SDHI Seminar ‘Rethinking the ‘war on obesity’ – an ethical argument

SDHI are delighted to announce another seminar.  It will take place on:

Friday 18th May 2012

between 2pm and 4pm

and will be led by

Dr Stacy Carter

Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine

University of Sydney 

Stacy M. Carter is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney; from 2012 to 2015 she is an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellow. Her empirical and theoretical work focuses on the ethics of public health, her methodological work focuses on qualitative research. In her
current funded projects she is investigating ethical aspects of three public health practices: health promotion, intervening in overweight and obesity, and screening populations for cancer. She is also participating in projects on diverse topics including: preventive care in dentistry, marijuana smoking in the Northern Rivers of NSW, and how tobacco smokers quit without assistance. She leads the public health ethics research stream at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine at the University of Sydney.

Rethinking the ‘war on obesity’: an ethical argument

This seminar will be held in

Room 2F13, Dalhousie Building

University of Dundee

In recent decades, society has changed in ways that promote development of non-communicable diseases. Urban environments, transport systems, and food production and supply systems interact to increase the prevalence of chronic diseases in populations. I will refer to this as a disease- promoting social shift. However, I will argue, we have developed a bad habit in population health. We have become accustomed to referring to this disease-promoting social shift as a problem of overweight and obesity, and thinking of ourselves as focusing our interventions on overweight and obesity. I will argue that this is not necessary: we can address the disease-promoting social shift without focusing on bodyweight. Focusing on bodyweight is also unethical for four reasons. First, it distracts from the fundamental causes of the problem, unjustly suggesting that responsibility rests primarily with individuals. Second, it causes some harm and fails to recognise other important harms. Third, it feeds arguments about ‘the nanny state’ and thus focuses debates on alleged erosions of relatively unimportant consumer freedoms, while diverting attention from more morally significant erosions of freedom of opportunity. Fourth, it neglects, and even exacerbates, problems of inequity. I will conclude that we should stop thinking of ourselves as being engaged in a ‘war on obesity.’ It would be more ethically justifiable to think of ourselves as intervening in the societal structures and conditions that are leading to increases in non- communicable disease, and to act accordingly.


If you would like to attend this seminar please contact Rosanne Bell

SDHI engages public at Fife Science Festival

SDHI was represented by ways of Institute manager Dr Fred Comerford at an Open Day event that was part of the Fife Science Festival 2012 in the Dundee Science Centre (DSC) Sensation. Conversations supported by picture cards focused on ‘what matters about health care that is not health care’ and ‘life opportunities for people with disabilities’ .

The event was well attended by families and individuals from Tayside and Fife despite strong ‘competition’ in the form of a beautiful, sunny spring day.



In one task, people were asked to set out their priorities from a series of cards representing what people value about health care apart from their health. The idea was to lay out the values in a diamond pattern, placing the most important value at the top and then each in order of importance with the least important at the bottom.

What matters to you about health care that is not health?

The results were compiled and the most popular answers for each position are shown on the image above. If you tried this on the day, how does this result compare with your choice? You can comment on the outcome on twitter @SDHIresearch, facebook or by e-mail

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Global participation in SDHI’s first Webinar on Surviving Gun Violence

Cate Buchanan, Director of the Surviving Gun Violence Project in Sydney, Australia presented on the social and health impact of gun violence in a well-attended first webinar. We are very pleased about the global audience who logged into the webinar. Participants represented a range of institutions in Canada, India, Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, Australia, Haiti, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Scotland. You can view the slides from the presentation here

March 15 2012 shdi webinar 14.3.12 View more PowerPoint from SDHIResearch

For the full presentation and discussion click here SDHI Webinar ‘Surviving Gun Violence’

SDHI Webinar ‘Surviving Gun Violence’

It is not too late to register for the first SDHI webinar. A few places are remaining. The webinar will start at 10am (GMT, UK). All you need to take part is a working internet connection and computer access. The platform we are using also allows mobile device access if you prepare to listen and watch on your iPhone, iPad or Android device (best to download the relevant Apps).

Our first speaker to start off the SDHI webinars is Cate Buchanan, Director of the Surviving Gun Violence Project, which is supported by the Norwegian government. The project was initiated in 2011. Cate Buchanan is based in Sydney, Australia. For the past twenty years Cate Buchanan has been working on violence reduction, small arms control and women’s rights. Cate is also a consultant to the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue on gender, mediation and violence reduction, and the UN Development Programme on small arms control policy development.

Over the last twenty years a significant body of work has sought to better understand the nature and extent of arms trade and gun violence across different contexts. In the last decade there has also been an increasing interest in developing effective violence prevention strategies which includes a major focus on the prevention of gun violence and reducing its negative impacts.
However, there is strikingly little information on the numbers and circumstances – physical, mental, economic, social or political – of those who survive gun violence with injuries, impairments and trauma. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “[g]lobal data on the impact of small arms on the health of individuals are far from complete. What data is available, however, suggests that hundreds of thousands of people are killed each year by those weapons. Millions more survive their injuries but are left with permanent physical disabilities and mental health problems.”[1]

Becoming impaired and disabled through an act of gun violence – intentional, self-directed or accidental – can be a profoundly traumatic experience. Such violence has an array of possible expressions and consequences: someone could become disabled after being caught in cross-fire on their way to school or work; shot and sexually violated whilst fleeing a war zone; tortured and humiliated at gun-point with no actual shot ever fired; or suffer severe impairment from a suicide attempt gone awry.

The webinar will explore why this knowledge gap exists and some of the consequences for practice and policymaking; possible contributions that social scientists and health researchers and practitioners can make on this issue and, a brief overview of the aims of the Surviving Gun Violence Project.

If you would like to join this webinar please contact:

Fred Comerford (fac1 or Rosanne Bell (r.c.bell

[1] WHO (2001), ‘Statement for the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects,’ delivered 13 July by Dr Etienne Krug.

Scottish School of Public Health Research Launched

The Scottish School of Public Health Research (SSPHR) held its inaugural meeting today at the University of Edinburgh. This first annual meeting was attended by academic researchers, public health practitioners as well as policymakers from around Scotland. The remit of the SSPHR is to promote inter-university and interdisciplinary research in areas of Scottish policy relevance. The consortium of participating universities focuses on issues including alcohol, obesity, tobacco and smoking, and violence. An impressive array of research projects are currently underway at each institution. Public engagement as well as societal relevance are high on the agenda of all research endeavours. If you wish to find out more visit the website at All presentations from today’s event will soon be available on the SSPHR website.

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A range of new seminars arranged by the Transformative Change: Educational and Life Transitions (TCELT) network at the University of Dundee

The Transformative Change: Educational and Life Transitions (TCELT) Network offers a number of interesting new seminars in education delivered by speakers from the United States and Finland.

22 March 2012, 4-5, Dalhousie 2G12

Prof Jacquelyne Eccles, University of Michigan

Transitions and stage environment fit: schools and adolescent development as an example

22 March 2012, 5-6, Dalhousie 2G12

Dr Gale Spak, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Innovative Educational Programs to Transition Professionals for Life-time Employability

27 March 2012, 12-2pm Venue TBD

Dr Janne Pietarinen, University of Eastern Finland

Dr Kirsi Pyhältö, Helsinki University

Dr Tiina Soini, University of Tampere

Seminar 1: Exploring the anatomy of engaging school experience

Seminar 2: Peer Group Resource or Impediment for Pupils’ Academic Engagement? Function of Peer Group for 6th and 8th Graders Academic Engagement (with Sanna Järvinen, University of Tampere)

If you are interested in participating, please register with Professor Divya Jindal-Snape in the School of Education, Social Work and Community Education

University of Dundee