Video of SDHI Seminar by Dr Andrea Rodriguez now available


In her presentation on the 19th June 2014, Dr Andrea Rodriguez explored the life experiences of young gang members in Rio de Janeiro who had been involved in drug trafficking. She highlighted the challenges they were facing when attempting to make the transition into a life without crime. Moreover, she laid out some strategies to facilitate the transition. The seminar was introduced by Dr Fernando Fernandes, SDHI.

How violence influences young people: three perspectives

The University of St Andrews World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for International Child & Adolescent Health Policy (WHO CC) at the School of Medicine are holding their inaugural event ‘How violence influences young people: three perspectives‘ featuring a policy debate about how violence influences young people.  This event brings in internationally renowned experts and builds on the work launched by the International Collaboration on Violence Prevention Policy Development.

This will take place on Thursday 24th April, from 2-5pm at the University of St Andrews School of Medicine (Seminar room 2).

The following distinguished speakers are confirmed:

  • Vivian Barnekow, WHO Programme Manager for Child and Adolescent Health
  • Donald Henderson, Head of Public Health Policy at Scottish Government
  • Emily Rothman, Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University
  • Renee M. Johnson, Assistant Professor, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine

This event is open to the public and is free of charge. Refreshments will be provided.

Please see flyer for further information.


Webinar recording on Human Rights, Violence, Spinal Cord Injury and Rehabilitation in Haiti Now Available

Fiona Stephenson, Clinical Nurse Specialist and founding member of the Haiti Spinal Cord Injury Working Group and Co-ordinator of the Haiti Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Database presented an inspiring and insightful webinar on the context of violence as the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in Haiti. Fiona, who is also a Co-Founder of the International Network of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses and the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS), discussed in her webinar the challenges to providing basic life sustaining care and rehabilitation for gunshot injury survivors in a resource poor environment. Mortality and medical complications are extremely high, skill and extensive despite the great skill, creative mindsets and phenomenal willpower of the health care teams on the ground. The earthquake that shattered Haiti in 2010 has taken a further toll on a very rudimentary health care infrastructure. Gun violence is not abating. Despite much innovation and legislative changes, people who live with the disabling consequences of violence still find it difficult to find support, accessible environments and opportunities for full societal participation and inclusion. Many promising facilities are threatened by closure due to a lack of funding. But despite all adversity, there were many stories of hope, human spirit and resilience, of people pulling together and becoming advocates for their own life, against gun violence and for better support services and health care.

Fiona’s webinar presentation can be viewed here.  We will add an audiopodcast shortly.

Dr Damien Williams, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews gave a very nuanced and greatly reflective response to Fiona Stephenson’s presentation. 

If you would like to learn more about gun violence in Haiti and its disabling consequences, we recommend to purchase the book ‘Gun Violence, Disability and Recovery’, edited by Cate Buchanan, Director of the Surviving Gun Violence Project. The book is available as an ebook or paperback on the organisation’s website

Edited with BlogPad Pro

SDHI Webinar – Gun Violence, Disability and Recovery

We are delighted to announce a further Webinar led by Cate Buchanan, Director, Surviving Gun Violence Project to be held on Wednesday 18th December at 3pm (GMT).  Cate will provide an overview of the book ‘Gun Violence, Disability and Recovery‘.  This Webinar will be hosted by Dr Damien Williams, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews and responded to by Dr Thilo Kroll, SDHI.


For further information on the project visit and

If you would like to join this webinar, please contact Rosanne Bell (r.c.bell or Fred Comerford (fac1

Further information is available on the webinar flyer

Strong SDHI representation at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston

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’.

SDHI Webinar ‘Surviving Gun Violence’

It is not too late to register for the first SDHI webinar. A few places are remaining. The webinar will start at 10am (GMT, UK). All you need to take part is a working internet connection and computer access. The platform we are using also allows mobile device access if you prepare to listen and watch on your iPhone, iPad or Android device (best to download the relevant Apps).

Our first speaker to start off the SDHI webinars is Cate Buchanan, Director of the Surviving Gun Violence Project, which is supported by the Norwegian government. The project was initiated in 2011. Cate Buchanan is based in Sydney, Australia. For the past twenty years Cate Buchanan has been working on violence reduction, small arms control and women’s rights. Cate is also a consultant to the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue on gender, mediation and violence reduction, and the UN Development Programme on small arms control policy development.

Over the last twenty years a significant body of work has sought to better understand the nature and extent of arms trade and gun violence across different contexts. In the last decade there has also been an increasing interest in developing effective violence prevention strategies which includes a major focus on the prevention of gun violence and reducing its negative impacts.
However, there is strikingly little information on the numbers and circumstances – physical, mental, economic, social or political – of those who survive gun violence with injuries, impairments and trauma. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “[g]lobal data on the impact of small arms on the health of individuals are far from complete. What data is available, however, suggests that hundreds of thousands of people are killed each year by those weapons. Millions more survive their injuries but are left with permanent physical disabilities and mental health problems.”[1]

Becoming impaired and disabled through an act of gun violence – intentional, self-directed or accidental – can be a profoundly traumatic experience. Such violence has an array of possible expressions and consequences: someone could become disabled after being caught in cross-fire on their way to school or work; shot and sexually violated whilst fleeing a war zone; tortured and humiliated at gun-point with no actual shot ever fired; or suffer severe impairment from a suicide attempt gone awry.

The webinar will explore why this knowledge gap exists and some of the consequences for practice and policymaking; possible contributions that social scientists and health researchers and practitioners can make on this issue and, a brief overview of the aims of the Surviving Gun Violence Project.

If you would like to join this webinar please contact:

Fred Comerford (fac1 or Rosanne Bell (r.c.bell

[1] WHO (2001), ‘Statement for the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects,’ delivered 13 July by Dr Etienne Krug.