In funding public health research, our aim is to improve understanding of the relationship between people’s mental and physical health and their social and economic outcomes. Through our Oliver Bird Fund, we aim to improve the lives of people living with musculoskeletal conditions.
Our public health research explores the social and economic implications of physical disability, mental ill health and chronic illness. For example, the relationship between people’s health and their income, quality of life, and family circumstances.
We also want to understand more about health inequalities; for example, the impacts of ethnicity, socioeconomic status or geography, and what policy options might address them.
We have a dedicated fund for research into musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions – the Oliver Bird Fund. MSK conditions affect the joints, bones and muscles including arthritis, back and neck pain, as well as rare autoimmune diseases. Together, these conditions affect 17.8 million people in the UK and are the single biggest cause of pain and disability.
Our impact in public health
Professor Lucie Cluver’s project on supporting young people living with HIV to take their life-saving antiretroviral treatment is being used in National health programmes in Southern Africa. Professor Cluver’s multi-disciplinary mixed methods study provides the first evidence that key services in lower- and middle-income countries can contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals being reached.
Our report, Lone mothers, work and depression, by Professor Susan Harkness informed Gingerbread’s Make it work for Single Parents campaign and was influential in policy reform by the Scottish government.
Professor Gabriella Conti’s project on the health effects of Sure Start showed that it reduced health inequalities for young children, including a significant reduction in hospitalisations and savings to the NHS. Her public health research will inform the Early Intervention Foundation’s work – commissioned by the DfE – with local authorities on designing effective early childhood services.