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

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’