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UCL INSTITUTE OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND HEALTH CARE

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Public Health Training

Public health registrars at UCL are based in the UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences (www.ucl.ac.uk/populationhealth-sciences/), which brings together expertise in health informatics, population health, global health, child health, women's and reproductive health, clinical trials and cardiovascular science. 

Its aim is to deliver outstanding research and teaching for improved human health, and the unifying concept that informs its scholarship and educational activity is the life course. Professor Graham Hart is Dean of the Faculty.

The Faculty’s research elucidates the biological, behavioural and psychosocial processes that operate across an individual’s life, and across generations, that affect the development of disease in populations. This research informs undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational teaching.

The Institutes represent each life-stage, from conception, birth, childhood, adolescence into adulthood, older age and death, and comprehensively address all these phases and periods, and the health variations associated with them at a population level. The Faculty also undertakes studies that inform the development of services, interventions and policies that address health disparities that occur as a consequence of exposures throughout the life course.

Training locations

Public health registrars can be based in any of the four accredited departments in three of the Institutes in the Faculty:

  • The Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare (led by Professor Andrew Hayward): (Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) and Department of Applied Health Research (DAHR))
  • The Institute of Global Health (led by Professor Ibrahim Abubakar);
  • The Institute of Health Informatics:  Centre for Public Health Data Science / Department of Infectious Disease Informatics (led by Professor Harry Hemingway)

These departments have a vibrant cadre of clinical and non-clinical public health registrars with high success rate in obtaining research funding and post-doctoral fellowships. Each project supervisor:

  • is a consultant in public health or a public health specialist of equivalent experience or is a senior academic and jointly supervises the registrar with the Educational supervisor;
  • is committed to providing high quality training e.g. by using a learning contract;
  • provides supervision with regular feedback on work in their related field;
  • is familiar with Faculty requirements and understands the roles and responsibilities involved in training in public health;
  • has experience in training and supervision of projects

The four departments work together to form a combined training location but have separate Public Health training educational supervisors:

The Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH)

The academic environment at the UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health (EPH) is internationally acclaimed, particularly the Department's work on longitudinal epidemiological studies of social determinants of health.  The Department, which is led by Prof Amanda Sacker, undertakes a programme of research in high priority areas of importance to the NHS including the aetiology and prognosis of chronic disease (mainly cardiovascular), and the determinants of inequalities in health and health care.  The Department is large and multidisciplinary.  Weekly research seminars are held within the Department.  A number of  research groups offer an exciting range of academic training opportunities: 

Part of the Health and Social Surveys Research Group, the Joint Health Surveys Unit, led at UCL by Prof Jennifer Mindell, an accredited public health trainer and the educational supervisor for the department, responsible for the annual Health Survey for England and also works on a number of research projects on transport and health.  Opportunities include working on the current surveys and secondary analyses of existing data, including longitudinal analyses using mortality, cancer registry, and hospital morbidity data, and exploring population changes in risk factors and drug treatment over time.  Other opportunities for work with Prof Mindell include various transport research projects, as well as health impact assessment (HIA) of local, regional or national policies, particularly transport and health. Current research projects include variations in fatality rates by travel mode when examined by age, sex and deprivation, and developing tools to measure community severance by transport infrastructure or traffic.

A number of other research groups within the department also host public health registrars.  These include Professor Sir Michael Marmot (Institute for Health Equity), Professor Nora Groce (Leonard Cheshire Unit for Disability and Inclusive Development), and Professor Martin Bobak (Central & Eastern Europe Research Group).  The MRC Unit of Lifelong Health & Ageing at UCL (another research department within the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care) also sometimes hosts public health registrars to work on the National Study of Health & Development (1946 birth cohort)). In all these cases, Prof Mindell takes the role not only of Educational supervisor but also shares the role of project supervisor with academic staff in that group or department.

The Department of Applied Health Research (DAHR)

The Department of Applied Health Research is led by Prof Rosalind Raine. DAHR focuses on research which will eventually have substantial impact on improving health and health services and on reducing inequalities in health and in access to health services.  More specifically, the research at DAHR involves evaluating the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, equity, and appropriateness of health care and public health interventions; investigating resource allocation in health care and public health; evaluating re-organisations and service improvement; developing the knowledge base about the adoption, implementation and dissemination of evidence based health care and public health interventions; measuring and explaining inequalities in healthcare; assessing the association between use of health care and health inequalities; designing risk-stratified cancer screening strategies, and analysis of surgical outcomes and development and validation of post-operative morbidity score.  Research at DAHR spans all health care sectors and health care specialities including cardiology, intensive care, reproductive health care, mental health, palliative care, cancer, public health genomics. DAHR has strengths in both quantitative and qualitative research. 

Prof Rosalind Raine is also director of NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames . CLAHRC North Thames is one of the 13 collaborations across England conducting leading edge applied health research for a faster, fairer, greater impact on the health of patients with long term conditions and public health. CLAHRC North Thames is a partnership between 54 organizations, including universities, NHS Trusts, local authorities, CCGs, patients/public industry and charities. CLAHRC North Thames provides unique training opportunities to work with a wide and  varied range of partner organisations to develop research proposals; contribute to research projects in areas including mental health, child and adolescent health, behaviour and engagement with treatment and innovations in systems and models of care; work with cutting edge technology and innovation in a world-class research setting.

Other opportunities at DAHR involve working with the different research groups of DAHR: evaluation (led by Dr Nora Pashayan, Educational supervisor for DAHR), health economics (led by Professor Steve Morris), health inequalities (led by Dr Madhavi Bajekal), healthcare organisation and management (led by Professor Naomi Fulop),  and the Surgical Outcomes Resource Centre (led by Dr Ramani Moonesinghe).  Registrars will be supported by project supervisors and by the accredited public health supervisors, Professor Raine, Dr Pashayan, Dr Sheringham, or Dr Barratt. 

The UCL Institute of Global Health (IGH)

UCL Institute for Global Health (IGH) led by Professor Abubakar is the thriving research and teaching community at the heart of UCL’s Grand Challenge of Global Health. Drawing on the expertise of over 200 staff from across UCL’s departments, IGH take a unique cross-disciplinary approach to global health in both our research and teaching, responding to the fact that health problems – and their solutions – are influenced by the social environment as well as medical innovation. IGH offers a range of high quality teaching programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Experienced staff have created cutting edge programmes in global health and international child health, uniting traditional public health concerns with economics, law, philosophy, geography, anthropology and other disciplines. In addition to the learning opportunities available within IGH, students have access to a wide range of seminars and lectures throughout UCL.

Research Areas

Politics, Economics and Cultures (PECs) theme is a multi-disciplinary group of anthropologists, political scientists, economists and epidemiologists who are interested in the roles that socio-economic and socio-political factors play in disease risk and progression. PECs staff work in a number of countries across the global south undertaking research ranging from primary data collection on the economics of different health interventions, to strengthening our understanding of political level decision-making around health agenda-setting.

Population Health & Health Systems  is concerned with understanding and improving the health and wellbeing of groups of people and the distribution of health outcomes and the factors influencing health within and between groups. The theme’s research covers topics of global relevance, ranging from urban health, domestic violence, vaccines, non-communicable diseases, maternal and neonatal health, disability, nutrition, reproductive health, and the development of new methods to measure population health.

Sustainability and climate change focus on health demonstrating how human values and behaviour are reflected by climate change. Placing climate change within wider and deeper sustainability contexts reveals not only the global health challenges manifesting, but also the opportunities available to use global health to achieve sustainability.

Infectious Disease and Population Health undertakes research on the epidemiology, prevention and treatment of infections including , sexually transmitted infections, HIV, Hepatitis, influenza, tuberculosis, antimicrobial resistance and other common problems particularly among vulnerable populations in primary care. Our infectious disease research aims to reduce the population impacts of infection, and to promote individual health by means of the prevention and treatment of communicable and non-communicable disease. We work locally, nationally and internationally to realize this goal. Our infections disease work is undertaken at two sites: Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research on UCL’s Bloomsbury site (at the Mortimer Market Centre, and the Margaret Pyke Centre) and two research groupings at UCL’s Royal Free Hospital campus (which also hosts the NIHR Health Research Unit in Sexual Health, HIV and Blood Borne Viruses).

The following are project supervisors: Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, Professor Sarah Hawkes, Professor David Osrin, Professor Therese Hesketh, Dr Pam Sonnenberg, Prof Caroline Sabin, Professor Andrew Phillips, Dr Anne Johnson, Dr Nigel Field.

The Institute of Health Informatics Centre for Public Health Data Science (IHI)

The Institute for Health Informatics hosts the London Hub of the Farr Institute. Health informatics uses information technologies to improve health, from big data to designing software used by clinicians, or apps used by patients and the public. The vision of the UCL Institute of Health Informatics is to conduct high quality research that leverages health informatics approaches at local, national and international levels.  The Public Health Data Science (PHDS) Group and the Department of Infectious Disease Informatics are using these approaches across a wide variety of areas of public health importance including antimicrobial resistance, tuberculosis, health of underserved populations, predictive analyses and learning population health systems.  The PHDS group has a major translational focus and we work closely with policy organisations such as Public Health England to bridge the gap between research and policy. Our research spans from community based studies employing primary data collection (FluWatch and BugWatch studies) through to clinical trials (Video-observed therapy in Tuberculosis) and analyses of routine health and social care datasets such as CPRD.  Our work is underpinned by a strong methodological focus and high level expertise in data linkage. The Institute has world class informatics infrastructure, including data safe havens for secure storage identifiable data, and high performance computing clusters. The Institute runs two popular MSc courses and opportunities to contribute to teaching and develop new material exist.

One of the first resources to be developed is CALIBER (www.caliberresearch.org) which comprises an expanding range of linkages between multiple national electronic health record sources: the longitudinal primary care data (Clinical Practice Research Datalink), the national disease and procedure registries (Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project), hospitalisation and procedure data (Hospital Episode Statistics) and cause-specific mortality and social deprivation data (Office of National Statistics) in cohorts of ~1.25m adults (with 10m years of participant follow-up).  Other ongoing projects include the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) is a collaborative project involving the UCLH Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and four other BRCs (Cambridge, Guys and St. Thomas’, Imperial and Oxford) seeking to unlock and make available for research rich phenotypic data currently held in clinical information systems covering ovarian cancer, renal transplantation, acute coronary syndrome and viral hepatology.

Professor Harry Hemingway, Professor Andrew Hayward, or Dr Julie George will supervise the projects of any public health registrars based at the Farr, while formal educational supervision will be shared with Prof Hayward.

Resources

The Faculty of Public Health has produced a guide to Public Health training "Public Health: Specialise in the 'Bigger Picture' and provides information about considering a career in public health whether from a medical, other clinical or non-clinical background. You can download this publication or order a hard copy from the FPH website.

Academic Public Health Training

We typically run an annual information session for people interested in academic placements for public health training (NB The general public health training provides opportunities to obtain all the relevant knowledge and skills for public health work).

Presentations from 3rd October 2018 Information session:

a. Opportunities for academic public health training (PP file) Prof Jennifer Mindell

b. NIHR funding for non-medics (PP file)   Dr Julie George

c. Public health training in London/Kent/Surrey/Sussex (PP file)  Dr Jean Chapple

d. Useful websites for public health training, including taster sessions (Word file) Dr Jean Chapple

e. Information about placements in the Dept of Epidemiology & Public Health, UCL (Word file)  Prof Jennifer Mindell

f. Information about placements in the Institute for Global Health, UCL (Word file)           Dr Nigel Field