Reflections and Outlook

As 2015 is coming to an end, it is a good time for reflection of what this year has meant for SDHI and what some of the personal highlights have been, and perhaps, even more importantly what is on the horizon for us in the new year.

It is probably not an uncommon sentiment – that is shared by many in December, the feeling that time is just going faster and faster and how could it be that another year has gone by at seemingly unprecedented speed. 2015 has been a good year. In Dundee, the University’s Transformation Agenda underpins the interdisciplinary work that SDHI began in 2003. In St Andrews, we see new opportunities for cross-disciplinary working and with close collaboration with NHS Fife with the appointment of Prof Alex Baldacchino in the School of Medicine there and as an Associate Director of SDHI. Over the past year we have worked increasingly in the context of local communities, whether we supported work on homelessness in Dundee or the work of Edinburgh based social enterprise, Crossing Countries in South Africa. We are working increasingly with non-governmental organisations and charities, including Sight Action, Action on Hearing Loss, RNIB, AMINA, Age Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland, Faith in the Community and many more. And we are making connections with business organisations such as Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). In 2016, we are hoping to expand this further.

SDHI researchers have been involved in larger international initiatives and we have formed new research links across Europe, into the US, Brazil and Australia. This puts us into a good starting position for international research bids (e.g Horizon 2020), as well as ‘glo-cal’ collaborations.

We are pleased to see that several SDHI affiliated researchers have received personal achievement awards in 2015, including Dr Jenna Breckenridge, Dr Debbie Baldie and Gavin Wylie (we reported about these awards on this blog).

The year 2015 also gave us several inspiring events: We examined what it would take to ‘humanise health care’ in a one-day workshop. We had a full afternoon with presentations that explored the interface between ‘health, human rights and development’ and we engaged students, practitioners and academics at a breakfast roundtable to reflect about the emerging and current ‘social dimensions of addiction’.

These events show the phenomenal work that is happening in partnership with many partners at our universities. And they are testimony to the passion that many of us bring to this work, the caring spirit and the drive to make a difference, to have an impact, to transform lives.

In 2015 we had the pleasure to work so many new colleagues and disciplines, and we are very much encouraged to continue in this direction in 2016. It has helped us to see our local as well as our global environment with different eyes and produced new understandings of issues and solutions. We are working in close collaboration and in variable configurations with other interdisciplinary platforms and units at both universities, including CECHR, TCELT, Transforming Childhood, SISCC, DHSRU, DCHRR and many others.

In 2016 SDHI will review its current strategy ‘Connecting to transform lives’ (2014-2018), and while staying on course, we will seek further refinements and adaptations in discussion with our friends and partners.

We are pleased to co-host with ENTER the 2016 conference on emerging issues in mental health. And we will shortly announce a range of new webinars and seminars.

Join us on our journey into a new exciting year. Thank you for all your support and we look forward to working with you in 2016.

ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences PhD Studentships 2016

The ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences has listed the upcoming ESRC PhD studentship competitions for 2015/16 on its website (see below). Awards will be made in three areas.

These are 1) the collaborative competition

2) the Skills Development Scotland competition competition

and 3) the Pathway, Open and Advanced Quantitative Methods competitions

SDHI Research Retreat – 6th-7th June 2016

PG Retreat - Kindrogan

Kindrogan Field Centre

SDHI is delighted to once again be hosting a 2-day retreat for postgraduate students and early career researchers engaged in applied health research from Monday 6th to Tuesday 7th June 2016.  The retreat will be held at Kindrogan Field Centre near Pitlochry and is open to all (health-related) researchers in the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee with a preference for those who self-define as ‘early-career’.  Accommodation and meals are included in the retreat fee.  To register your interest in attending the retreat please contact Rosanne Bell (r.c.bell

Further information can be found on the flyer

Sensory Impairment & Pharmaceutical Care – Project Launch

SIPA logo 4SDHI led research project ‘Sensory Impairment and Pharmaceutical Care – what are
the needs of older people receiving polypharmacy?
’ which began in October will be holding a first Advisory Group Meeting in Inverness tomorrow, 11th December.  The project’s PI – Professor Thilo Kroll and Research Associate, Dr Kirsty Killick (SDHI) will be joined by project members Dr Mags Watson (University of Aberdeen), Drs Leah Macaden, Annetta Smith and Kath Stoddart (University of Stirling) along with members of the Advisory Group from Royal National Institute of Blind People, Sight Action – Highland Sensory, Action on Hearing Loss, NHS Tayside, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Community Pharmacy Scotland, and representatives including older people with sensory impairments and their carers.

The aims of the project are

  • to explore the pharmaceutical care needs including medicines management of older people with sensory impairment who have to manage more than one health condition and more than four different medicines
  • to study how community pharmacists provide pharmaceutical care to older people with visual and/or hearing loss

Further information about this study can be found here

UK DFID Updates Disability Framework

On the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the UK Department for International Development (UK DfiD) has launched an updated Disability Framework – One Year On, Leaving No One Behind. The framework, which drives internal and external practices to meet the rights of people with disabilities under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and in the context of the Agenda 2030 in relation to the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is reviewed annually. The commmitment to ‘leaving no one behind’ is sincere and the on-going process of revising and refining the framework in a transparent manner reflects the complexities of addressing ‘disability’ in a global context but is underpinned by a clear conviction that human rights have to be met everywhere. The updated framework emphasises mental health related disabilities to a greater extent as well as issues related to stigma and discrimination and economic empowerment. The document reports on progress that has been made in the area of violence against girls and women and illustrates how in Rwanda DFID has used a disability lens to examine their bilateral aid programme in terms of its inclusiveness, i.e. whether all programme activities are inclusive of people with disabilities. The document further provides insights into the difficulties of capturing disability data in an inclusive and comprehensive manner globally. The advocated use of the UN Washington Group Short Set of questions in censuses and national surveys will have to be accompanied by additional and more tailored methodologies to be inclusive of for example, children with disabilities.

Overall, the UK DFID approach is exemplary and progressive and we can hope for further updates in the near future on how this framework helps guide practices and national initiatives to eradicate disability-related inequalities.