Last week saw two well attended SDHI event. On the 6th October we hosted a Symposium on Health, human rights and development, which saw more than 40 people attending, including academics representing a variety of disciplines, fore mostly social and health sciences from Dundee, St Andrews and Edinburgh and health professionals. At the moment we are in the process of summarising the information from that day and will post updates shortly. There was clearly an ‘appetite’ to continue the conversation on the topic of health and human rights, and SDHI will organise follow-on activities in this area shortly. In a next step we will engage with NGOs and form further discussion groups. Questions addressed in the symposium revolved around how the university can become more engaged with human rights concerns in its curricula, outreach and research activities as well as in its internal operations.
For the second event, we ‘experimented’ with a new format. Nine academics, health professionals, and representatives for non-governmental organisations engaged in an intensive breakfast roundtable discussion lasting 2.5 hours on the social dimensions of addiction. The discussion included the president of the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM), Dr Gregory Bunt, New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. The discussion was added to a very successful four day ISAM conference in Dundee, that had been chaired by Dr Alex Baldacchino who will shortly take up a Chair in Addiction Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of St Andrews and join the SDHI Management Team as a new Associate Director. The discussion revealed new frontiers of addiction, examined the complexity of multiple factors of social marginalisation and explored opportunities for translational research. A briefing report will be available shortly. Clearly, SDHI will be continue to explore applied interdisciplinary research avenues between social science, mental health and addiction medicine.