Fuse hosts meeting of national public health research school

Public health professionals from across the UK gathered in Newcastle as Fuse hosted the fourth annual scientific meeting of the NIHR School for Public Health Research, this year themed Knowledge into Practice.

The School’s academic researchers were joined by invited guests from across the public health system for a day of presentations, workshops and debates on how best to translate the knowledge and evidence generated by the School’s research into practice, and to reflect on the future priorities for public health research.

The event was attended by over 130 members of NIHR SPHR who came together to network, share ideas and take part in lively discussions about the future of public health research.

Professor Ashley Adamson, Director of Fuse, opened the event on the 10 March by welcoming members of the School to The Centre for Life.  Professor Jon Nicoll, Director of NIHR SPHR, then introduced the themes and objectives for the meeting.

Commenting on the event, Professor Jon Nicholl, Director of NIHR SPHR, said: “Today it has been fantastic to see the volume and quality of research that has been carried out by our members. The NIHR School for Public Health Research is committed to building a robust evidence base for public health research and it is heartening to hear the commitment and enthusiasm to meeting the challenges in public health research over the School’s next five years”.

The day took the format of parallel presentations on the theme of ‘Taking Stock – what has the NIHR SPHR achieved so far?’ NIHR SPHR researchers presented completed research projects on:

  • Environmental interventions
  • Young people
  • Translation to practice - this included a presentation by former Fuse Director Professor Martin White about how public health professionals view and engage with research based on a review of requests for research support and interviews.
  • Inequalities - Fuse associate Sue Lewis co-presented The Communities in Control study which is evaluating the impact on health and wellbeing of Big Local, a UK Lottery initiative.
  • Mentoring and modelling

These were followed by presentations and discussions on completed projects from the School’s Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES) chaired by Professor Jennie Popay (LiLaC).  This included Fuse’s Ruth Bell speaking about the implementation and evaluation of the region-wide babyClear© scheme which aims to improve smoking cessation rates in pregnancy.

Panel members: Bernie Hannigan (Public Health England), Dominic Harrison (Blackburn with Darwen Council) and Helen Walters (GLA) took part in an informative and thought-provoking discussion on building the evidence base to address local and national public health priorities and the challenges ahead.

After lunch NIHR SPHR researchers facilitated parallel workshop sessions on:

  • Theory in public health interventions
  • Career development in early and mid-career researchers.  In which Professor Ashely Adamson helped present case studies from the UKCRC Centre’s Fuse and DECIPHer where early and mid-career development posts had been created.
  • Knowledge exchange – making a difference?
  • Big data and methodological challenges for public health
  • Guidance to evaluation in public health
  • Impact strategy for NIHR SPHR

This was followed by a discussion ‘Direction of travel taking the NIHR SPHR into the future’ about the future priorities for public health in the current political and economic context chaired by Professor Mark Petticrew (LSHTM) This included an exciting 10 minute soapbox session which stimulated open discussion and sharing of thoughts.

Fuse Deputy Director Professor David Hunter (Durham University) chaired a final panel session reflecting on the day and highlighting challenges and opportunities for the School’s next five years.

Professor Jon Nicholl closed the event by thanking everyone for attending and contributing their ideas.

The event was live tweeted and a Storify has been created to capture activity from the day.

Last modified: Tue, 31 Jul 2018 09:13:30 BST