UCL Institute of Health Informatics


Laura Shallcross receives the prestigious NIHR Research Professorship Award

10 February 2023

The CHERISH research programme will use data-driven evidence to design interventions that will reduce infections in care home settings

a picture of professor laura shallcross

In England, around 410,000 people live in 11,000 care homes for older adults. Care home residents are prone to many infections like flu, urine infections and COVID-19, which affect their well-being, physical and mental health, and impact on the delivery of health and social care services. Many infections can be prevented by simple measures such as vaccination or wearing masks, but these are hard to implement because care homes are very different to healthcare settings.

Care Home Evidence-based 'Interventions to Reduce Infection that are Sustainable and Holistic (CHERISH)' aims to build on what Prof Shallcross and her team have learned in the pandemic to reduce the impact of common infections in care homes. Her team will start by focusing on flu – the leading cause of care home outbreaks, and urinary tract infections – a major cause of illness, preventable hospital admissions and drug-resistance. Importantly, all their work will be delivered in partnership with people who live and work in care homes.

Laura is Professor of Public Health and Translational Data Science at the Institute of Health Informatics and Honorary Consultant in Public Health in the Division of Infection at University College London NHS Trust. She held a NIHR Clinician Scientist Award and leads a program of translational research applying data science methods to the analysis of electronic health records, with the  goal to improve the management of infection and reduce antibiotic resistance in  the NHS and social care.

CHERISH builds on the national COVID-19 in care homes study (VIVALDI) that Laura led during the pandemic, which measured infections, immunity and vaccine effectiveness in care home residents and staff by combining serial blood sampling in a subset of individuals with linkage to routinely collected data from >50,000 staff and residents in participating homes. The project strongly informed the pandemic response in care homes and Laura was awarded MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 for services to Adult Social Care during the COVID-19 pandemic.