UCL News


Centre for Behavioural & Social Sciences in Medicine launched

26 August 2003

UCL's new Centre for Behavioural and Social Sciences has been launched.

Professor Stanton Newman

The director, Professor Stanton Newman, said: "The establishment of the centre is an exciting innovation. It will enable UCL to create an environment for integrating the behavioural and social sciences into medicine. There is a growing recognition internationally of the importance of interdisciplinarity for a full understanding of human behaviour in health and illness. Interdisciplinary working will be a feature of the centre." The centre will focus on research related to social and psychological issues in physical illness. The centre consists of three units, each offering a research-based Masters programme.

The Unit of Health Psychology will continue to develop its research in five areas: the impact of illness, surgery and medical treatments on cognition and the brain, adaptation to chronic illness, self management interventions in chronic illness, communication between patients and healthcare professionals, and adherence to treatments.

The Unit of Medical Sociology has six main research themes: ageing and retirement, stigmatising illnesses, theory construction, class and health, sport and health, and citizenship and policy.

The Unit of Medical Anthropology will focus on new illnesses, religion and health, health services in the UK, mental health in South Asia, and international mental health.

Three examples of current projects undertaken by the centre are:

  • the development and evaluation of a diabetes self management programme
  • the impact on the brain of two techniques of myocardial protection in cardiac surgery
  • the quality of life in early old age.

Professor Newman said: "Staff from the centre are currently collaborating with a number of departments in UCL, particularly in the Clinical and Life Sciences faculties. Links already exist - this will enable us to develop those links and make it easier to create new ones. In addition the centre plans to create a forum for discussions on theory and methods in our approach to understanding health and illness."

Thanks to a UCL Friends Programme grant, the centre will stage four monthly seminars, one for the centre as a whole, plus one for each unit. It is hoped that the seminars will attract other UCL departments to contribute and participate in the centre's research. Professor Newman explained: "It is increasingly important to a adopt an interdisciplinary approach to health and well being. By looking at the biological, psychological and social aspects of a chronic condition we will have a better understanding of patients' varied responses. We will therefore be able to design interventions that reduce symptoms and improve quality of life."

Professor Sir John Pattison, Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health, will formally open the centre on 29 October 2003.

For more information about Professor Newman use the link below.

Professor Stanton Newman