Research Programs

Research programmes are dynamic and responsive to population trends, changes in health and social care policies and linked to a wide range of practice environments. SDHI research is proactive in the anticipation of future trends as well as responsive to current evaluation needs. Research quality and rigour, international reputation and recognition, practice relevance as well as coherence and transorganisational collaboration are critical for SDHI.

The framework is dynamic and includes a range of concentric rings that represent disciplinary backgrounds, area of focus (social dimensions) and environmental context. Each ring moves, allowing segments to align in new innovative ways.

Researchers working within and with SDHI are also affiliated to ‘home’ schools or departments within the Universities of Dundee or St Andrews, and they lead or contribute to programmes and themes within those schools or departments. SDHI aims to add value to the research associated with the programmes and themes that will be submitted for REF by supporting innovative, interdisciplinary research that fosters creative links and promotes ‘cross-fertilisation’ between them. We do this by encouraging and developing work within two main programmes:

Social and environmental dimensions of health, well-being and service delivery

Work within this programme explores the significance of ‘context’ for people’s health and efforts to improve it. We take a broad view of ‘environments’ (including for example geographical considerations of space and place, anthropological considerations of culture in healthcare organisations, design considerations of technological adaptations to support health and well-being, and research assessments) and ‘relationships’ (attending to both relative positions and interactions). Examples of recent, current and planned work within this programme include:

  • Explorations of youth and domestic violence as a public health issue in Scotland.
  • Public health perspectives on disability
  • Sources and implications of work stress on nurses
  • Sources and uses of feedback about patient experiences for quality improvements in primary care
  • The use of relational understandings of ‘autonomy’ and ‘trust’ to study and critique the ways in which health care provision shapes people’s ability to contribute to their own health and social care.
  • The role of knowledge exchange networks for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers in promoting self care in long-term conditions
  • The role of context in collective learning in health care organisations
  • The measurement of outcomes in community-based stroke rehabilitation
  • Barriers and facilitators to physical activity for people with disabilities in the community
  • Natural disaster mitigation for people with disabilities
  • Social geographies of health, wellbeing and participation
  • Employment, disability and long-term conditions
  • Socioeconomic determinants of health inequalities
  • Organisational culture in general practice

Furthermore, the programme is concerned with the development and creative use of technology to support communication, participation and the promotion and maintenance of optimal quality of life among older people, including those with dementia, and people with disabilities

Human resilience

Work within this programme addresses the particular concerns and experiences that people with physical, cognitive and/or communicative impairments have in relation to health and healthcare. It has a strong emphasis on enabling participation, and is a broad evaluative space for interventions intended to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Examples of work within this theme include:

  • Illness representations of and cognitive factors in the self management of long-term conditions
  • Perceived ability to self care among people with learning disabilities
  • Low literacy and health outcomes
  • Manualised stroke rehabilitation
  • Reducing alcohol-related harm and social disadvantage
  • Patient-centered assessment and patient experience
  • Technology-supported interventions for people with dementia

Both programmatic research strands inform one another, and both are aligned with the overarching focus on the social dimensions of health and well-being.