Exploring Interdisciplinary Connections in the Field of Global Health Workshop
Exploring how health and social research can come together at the University of York
The Exploring Interdisciplinary Connections in the Field of Global Health Workshop took place on Tuesday 12th June to investigate how health and social research can come together at the University of York. The event was a great success; attended by over 40 academics with interests in Health representing disciplines from Politics to Psychiatry to Environment.
A number of IGDC researchers took to the stage to present a series of case studies tackling global challenges on governance, policy and intervention and interdisciplinary approaches to tobacco, prompting lots of interesting and engaging discussions on how researchers from different disciplines can work together on global health projects.
Opening the workshop was Piran White, the Co-Director of the IGDC and Professor of Environmental Management, tackling issues on governance, policy and intervention with a presentation on the Health of Populations Ecosystems (HOPE) Project. Looking at the relationship between ecosystems and health and wellbeing, Piran provided further examples of how the HOPE project links to current IGDC themes such as sustainability and development alternatives.
Following on from this, Najma Siddiqi, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at the Hull York Medical School, gave an overview of her research on Improving Mental and Physical Health Together (IMPACT) in Low and Middle Income Countries in South Asia. After her recent Centre for Future Health Partnership grant success, Najma investigates the complex two-way relationship between mental and physical health in South Asia, where there is a low budget for mental health and high incidences of related physical disorders.
Jean Grugel, the Director of the IGDC and Professor of Development Politics, and Alan Msosa, an IGDC Post-Doctoral Research Associate, rounded off the morning session with an insightful summary of their research on the Thanzi la Onse (Health of All) project. Despite a high disease incidence, the money available in southern and eastern Africa is not enough to meet needs. This four-year project, focusing on Malawi and Uganda, aims to design a model for implementing new health care allocation in a movement towards universal health coverage.
In addition, further research from within the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) prompted the discussion of the following two projects:
Martin Jones, Alice Nah and Juliana Mensah – Access to health on the frontier of the international refugee regime
Alice Nah - Well-being and human rights defenders at risk
Opening the afternoon session was Kamran Siddiqi, a Professor in Public Health, who identified his interdisciplinary approaches to tobacco with a presentation on ASTRA: Addressing Smokeless Tobacco Use and Building Research Capacity in South Asia. Smokeless tobacco use is very common in South Asia and can lead to oral cancer. ASTRA is conducting policy research into how to stop smokeless tobacco use, with a focus on youth use and tobacco sellers.
Jappe Eckhardt, a Lecturer in the Department of Politics, quickly followed with a presentation discussing his research on tobacco companies, public policy and global health. Low and middle countries are targeted more by tobacco companies, leading to high cancer incidences. The interference of the tobacco industry is a key obstacle in preventing deaths from cancers. This project uses an interdisciplinary approach to study the tobacco industry and its relationship to tobacco use.
To conclude the workshop, Piran White prompted an insightful discussion of how we can embed interdisciplinary approaches in global health research. Looking at broadening the context can help to frame things differently and create cross-sectional links and deepen our understandings of how methodologies can be used and shared to reframe problems.
Upcoming Health funding opportunities for researchers:
The Medical Research Council has made up to £15 million available for research projects of up to 5 years through the Global Mental Health funding call. Applications open on 14th July 2018.
Philip Kerrigan from the Centre for Future Health spoke about upcoming funding opportunities for interdisciplinary global projects on health and wellbeing. The next funding round will be announced in August and the deadline for applications will be in October.