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.

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