Learning about Public Health in the Local Government context

As part of a scheme run by the Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School, I am currently enjoying the privilege of being a visiting postdoc with the Newcastle City Council Public Health Team.

I have2012-11-17 16.39.04 learned a vast amount in my first few weeks. I have witnessed a small team with a large portfolio, doing some heroic work. They deal with everything from the classic issues such as obesity, sexual health, smoking, and alcohol and drug use, to wider determinants of health including active transport, pollution and parks. They juggle the local politics of councillors, which can require a short-medium term outlook, with the priorities of Public Health, which are necessarily long term ones. All of this is done in the context of budget cuts and increased pressure from seasonal issues such as flu, and novel concerns such as Ebola. No easy task.

I intend to use this experience to learn how to make my future research more useful to policy makers and public health practitioners. As part of the experience, I will document my learning in my blogs and in my tweets.


Videos: Why should medics care about evolution?

A friend of mine, the wonderful Thomas Carpenter, is currently studying medicine at Edinburgh University. He is part of a group of medical students with an interest in evloution, who are calling themselves the Evolutionary Medics.

The Evolutionary Medics recently ran an event, which was entitled “Bringing Darwin back to Edinburgh: wine, cheese and evolutionary medicine.” The excellent presentations are now available to view on YouTube and I wanted to promote them here:

Dr Sam Brown – Can we make evolution proof drugs?

Prof Gillian Bentley – The Clinical Significance of Evolutionary Medicine


Video: Being there (talk at the ESRC Festival)

Being there: a brief visit to a neighbourhood induces the social attitudes of that neighbourhood

Here is a video of one my recent talks as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science event, “Using social sciences to tackle the toxicity of urban life”. The video just gives footage of me talking, so you will need to download the slides as a PDF here: beingtherepresentationslides.pdf.

The publication associated with this presentation can be found at: https://peerj.com/articles/236/

A delayed post about Prosocial Place

I recently gave a talk about my work as part of an Economic and Social Research council festival of Social Science event in Liverpool. The event was titled, “Using social sciences to tackle the toxicity of urban life” and the speakers came from a range of disciplines, from Evolutionary Anthropology to Sociology. The common goal? To understand the impacts of urban environments on physical and mental health.

Several of the speakers were part of the Prosocial Place initiative, which brings together researchers who have an interest in improving urban life. Prosocial Place is still young, but given the obvious implications of their work for city dwellers around the world, it might be one to watch.

You can follow the Prosocial Place blog here: http://prosocialplace.blogspot.co.uk/