SDHI was represented at the 2015 Dundee Science Festival with a stand to illustrate its applied interdisciplinary work. Dr Fred Comerford, SDHI Institute Manager invited displays related to the topic ‘perceptions’. Using visual illusions Fred demonstrated to visitors that what we see and hold for being ‘real’ or ‘true’ may be deceptive. The theme was also reflected in the display by Kirsty Miller, PhD student in psychology who presented a very timely topic considering for example the refugee crisis in Europe: perceived in-group vs out-group differences that may impact on how likely we act to help others. Jean Cathro of the social enterprise, ‘Crossing countries, challenging boundaries, changing lives‘ engaged children and adults through art work, craft and video presentation. SDHI has repeatedly reported on this innovative social enterprise on this blog. Crossing truly challenges mis-perceptions about disability, ethnicity, gender, age and other characteristics that so often create unnecessary and hurtful divisions. Finally, Dr Ed Hall, Geography challenged in his display concepts of place-based vulnerabilities of communities that experience prolonged electricity failures. Simple categorisations of ‘vulnerable people’ are not useful or informative as ‘vulnerability’ is always contextual and relational. The event at the Dundee Menzieshill Community Centre was very well attended with some families spending several hours there to explore the many exciting displays and presentations.
Jason Prior, Associate Professor and Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (IFS), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will present a seminar ‘Dilemmas of planning, mapping and designing for health and wellbeing: intervention and regulation‘ on Wednesday 26th November 2014 at 3pm in Room 1LG03, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee. This is a FREE seminar and all are welcome to attend. Further details are available on the flyer
The SDHI strategy for the years 2014-2018, we have entitled ‘Connecting to Transform Lives’. It builds on the 10 years of successful, interdisciplinary, collaborative and innovative SDHI work and is a continuation of ‘Building Bridges’. ‘Connecting to Transform Lives’ emphasises the focus on social and health-related impact, and it stresses that this is best achieved through partnership working.
We aim to connect the best expertise, locally, nationally and internationally across academia, practice, public and non-statutory partners and communities to engage in research, knowledge mobilisation and capacity and capability building to improve health, wellbeing and social participation of people over the life course.
SDHI will adopt a refreshed strategy in 2014. We are in the process of finalising the strategy document, which will be available in ebook form in January 2014. Just like ‘Building Bridges’ (2011-2014) it will represent a continuation of SDHI’s successful work over the past 10 years. The new strategy is called ‘Connecting to transform lives’ and reflects a new emphasis on ‘impact’. It is indicative of the universities’ visions of transformational change and the reference to ‘lives’ reflects the real life focus of the applied health and social research conducted, initiated or facilitated by SDHI. In this preview, we would like to highlight four central aspects of the new strategy:
1. Social sciences as the ‘anchor’ of SDHI research
Social science disciplines are the foundations for our research, which will interface with health, environmental, and computing sciences and the arts and humanities. SDHI sees its contribution in being a leader – grounded in applied social science thinking – to provide knowledge and solutions to many of today’s multi-faceted problems found in local and global societies as they affect the health, wellbeing and opportunities for social engagement of the population.
2. Combination of an evidence-based with a human rights based ethos to underpin SDHI research
From its inception onwards, SDHI has been a research platform that addressed questions of health and social inequalities. We will continue to broaden this work to reflect the social justice and rights-based orientations found in modern public health and social science research, which seek to combine a robust scientific with a human rights based approach to research, education and development.
3. Dedication to working with communities, non-governmental organisations, and businesses in addition to health and social care services
We see SDHI as a platform to advance participatory and community-based forms of action research and transformational change. Research grounded in the knowledge and expertise, in the assets of communities stands the best chance of achieving sustainable impact. We will actively work with our community partners towards effective as well as meaningful change.
4. Connecting global and local knowledge and expertise
Over the past three years, we have formed an increasing number of international connections that link with SDHI’s vision of connecting local and global expertise, skills and knowledge. We seek to build on these connections and expand them further to learn from partners around the globe how they work with socially marginalised groups, families, and communities. We believe that this approach positions us well in an increasingly interconnected world and that it will advance both short-term knowledge gain as well as the development of working arrangements, structures and processes that will be of benefit all partners.
This is just a snapshot of some of the key facets of our new strategy. If you would like to comment on this approach, please do so via Twitter @SDHIresearch #SDHIStrategy14 or send us an email at sdhi @dundee.ac.uk
If you missed today’s webinar on the ‘Spatial Dimensions of Repeat Prescribing Safety in UK General Practice: An Ethnographic Study‘ here is another opportunity to listen and view the presentation by Dr Suzanne Grant, Social Anthropologist and Lecturer in Population Health Science at the University of Dundee. To view the recording, click here. Please share the presentation link with your colleagues. Send comments and queries directly to the presenter at s.m.grant@ dundee.ac.uk or to the SDHI team at sdhi@ dundee.ac.uk
Our countdown is on for SDHI’s 10th Anniversary celebration on the 3rd December in the Gateway in St Andrews. We would like to invite you to celebrate with us in person or virtually wherever you are. Join our anniversary Twitter feed #SDHI10 and share your thoughts, experiences, views and expectations with us. Engage in a debate with us about the future direction of SDHI, about memories of past SDHI events, anecdotes and critical milestones. Over the course of the coming weeks we will use the hashtag #SDHI10 to stimulate discussion. We would like to hear from you irrespective of whether you are or have been part of SDHI. We are extending our local community and inviting people from around the globe to share their insights, information resources and experiences. Three easy steps: (1) Join Twitter; (2) Follow SDHI @SDHIresearch and (3) Engage in the celebration and discussion, remember to use #SDHI10 in your posts and to view related posts.
Like in the previous year, SDHI affiliated researchers had a substantial presence at this years largest academic and professional public health conference with an estimated 13000 delegates. SDHI Associate Director Professor Peter Donnelly (St Andrews) hosted a special session on the recent Sandy Hook School Shooting in Boston, which brought together different perspectives ranging from parents, criminologists to policy makers.
Damien Williams presented posters on the relationship between community and domestic violence and football matches in Glasgow as well as on alcohol use quantities and patterns among university students at St Andrews. Thilo Kroll contributed to a special session organised by the Disability Chairs Forum of the APHA Disability Section on ‘The a Construction of Disability and Health: The Role of Spaces and Places’, a discussion which continues on Facebook, and to a presentation entitled ‘Addressing the psychosocial support needs of cancer co-survivors in low income communities’ as part of a session on ‘Social Determinants of Behavioral Health: Addressing Root Causes through Public Policy and Community Practice’ . The latter also introduced SDHI’s sister platform, FRED (family focused research, education and development), which aims to bring together researchers, practitioners and families globally to examine and tackle social deprivation and marginalisation issues related to health. At present researchers from the Unites States, Finland and the UK are engaged in this effort. Thilo also presented three posters relating to a recently completed study on outcome measurement after stroke. The posters focused on rehabilitation professionals’ attitudes to outcome measure use, rationale for selecting outcome measures, and engagement of stroke survivors with aphasia in the discussion about what matters after stroke. Shiraz Sheriff, PhD student who is supported by SDHI team directors Ed Hall and Thilo Kroll presented his poster, entitled ‘Asthma, deprivation and the urban environment in Scotland: Evidences, challenges and directions‘. For the first time SDHI was also involved in the APHA Film Festival where Lisa Nicoll’s film ‘Wasteland’ was shown. A productive evening session with PhD students has further linked SDHI’s research portfolio and support for postgraduate researchers to a wider international group, which is part of the internationalisation ambitions of SDHI. The presence of SDHI at APHA was particularly poignant this year as the motto of the conference was ‘Think global, act local: Best practices around the world’.
After a hiatus of two years SDHI held its annual retreat for postgraduate students and early career researchers in Kindrogan on October 30-31 again. A diverse group of students and staff from many disciplines from St Andrews and Dundee discussed – in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere – what it means to undertake a PhD, how to address challenging methodological questions, career pathways, how to write for publication and how to maximise impact of research. Students and researchers presented their work and stimulated debate and constructive feedback. We feel encouraged by the positive feedback to continue with these workshops in the following years. For a personal reflection on the retreat, please visit this blog entry.