The MRC Medical Sociology Unit and the Public Health Research Unit (core funded by the CSO) at the University of Glasgow merge to create the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. Sam Galbraith MSP opens the Unit office at Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow.
The West of Scotland 11 to 16 study, which began in 1994, was the first major study to provide prevalence estimates of psychiatric disorder in a large sample of adolescents using a self-administered, computerised version of the Diagnostics Interview Schedule for Children (DISC). In 2002, the 16+ survey began, looking at older teenagers’ physical and mental health and health behaviours.
The Lancet paper on family histories of heart disease was led by Professor Kate Hunt: Lay constructions of a family history of heart disease: potential for misunderstandings in the clinical encounter?
The Unit organised a collaborative three day workshop to explore health inequalities with colleagues in Sweden and Finland. The group was established in the mid-1990s and continue to meet every two years.
One of the Unit’s most important and highly cited papers is published in Social Science and Medicine: Place effects on health: how can we conceptualise, operationalise and measure them?
The first schools-based research by the Unit to take place outside Scotland, DASH (Determinants of Adolescent Social wellbeing and Health) looked at how social, environmental and biological factors affect the health and wellbeing of 6,500 young people growing up in the most ethnically diverse, and poorest, London boroughs.
The Scottish Health Survey provides a detailed picture of the health of the Scottish population in private households and is designed to make a major contribution to developing and monitoring public health policy in Scotland. Unit researchers now co-edit the Scottish Health Survey report and co-author specific chapters.
The SSM 2005 conference in Glasgow attracted the biggest attendance and largest number of abstracts. Unit researcher Lesley Fairley delivered the plenary. The 2018 conference was also held in Glasgow with Unit researcher Ruth Dundas chairing the local organising committee and presentations by Unit researchers.
The M74 study assessed how a new five mile, six lane section of the M74 motorway in Glasgow affected travel and activity patterns, road accidents and wellbeing in local communities. It was one of the first evaluations of urban road infrastructure in the world.
The PaLS study was set up to investigate links between school pupils’ peer group status and levels of stress, and their relationships with mental health and health behaviours like smoking. It was innovative in measuring pupils’ physiological stress via salivary cortisol – samples were gathered from 2,995 pupils.
The Unit collaborated with the National Institute of Medical Research, Tanzania and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to evaluate MEMA Kwa Vijana (Good things for young people), the first rigorous evaluation of a preventative HIV adolescent sexual health programme in Africa. This led to further research collaborations to develop and evaluate interventions in the fields of sexual health, parenting and gender-based violence in Tanzania and Uganda.
SHARE (Sexual Health And RElationships - Safe, Happy And Responsible) involved developing a school sex education programme to improve young people’s sexual health; rigorous evaluation through a randomised trial and process evaluation; and primary research on young people’s sexual relationships.
This innovative way of explaining mortality and morbidity was later developed into a jigsaw which has been successfully used in many public engagement events.
The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: Health in the Community was set up in 1986 to investigate the reasons for differences in health by socio-economic circumstances, gender, area of residence, age, ethnic group, and family type. More than 4510 people were followed for 20 years with the initial wave of data collection in 1987/8, when respondents were aged 15, 35 and 55. The final wave of data collection took place in 2007/08 when respondents were aged 35, 55 and 75. There have been a number of sub-sample studies over the years and analysis continues today.
ALICE (Adolescent Lifestyles In Contemporary Europe) was the first multi-site European study for the Unit. The Scottish project was part of a larger, European-wide project called 'Smoking in Movies' which was able to show that young people seeing smoking and drinking in films is a predictor of smoking onset and drinking initiation.
A new programme of work begins on how the media frames public health issues including the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination, sugar tax and minimum pricing of alcohol.
Professor Dame Sally Macintyre was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to Medical Sociology and a CBE for services to Social Science in 2006. In 2013 she was one of 12 women to receive the 2013 Suffrage Science honour.
We evaluated the FFIT programme with the world’s first randomised controlled trial (RCT) set in professional football clubs.
In partnership with the SPFL Trust, FFIT is an award-winning 12 week programme aimed at improving health, while providing fans with a behind-the-scenes look at their local football club. It is now in all clubs and a model for other sports and other target groups.
Laurence Moore took over from Sally Macintyre in October 2013. Prior to taking up this position, Professor Moore was founding Director of DECIPHer, a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Laurence was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2016.
To mark the MRC’s centenary, the Unit organised activities at Glasgow Science Centre and unveiled Images of Public Health, a permanent display outside the centre.
THRIVE (Trial of Healthy Relationship Initiatives for the Very Early years) is one of the first rigorous evaluations of parenting interventions designed to promote mother-infant wellbeing amongst vulnerable and hard to reach populations to be conducted in the UK.
SEED (Social and Emotional Education and Development) was a 5 year programme to promote emotional and social wellbeing among Scottish primary school children.
SPACES (Studying Physical Activity in Children’s Environments across Scotland) was an innovative project using GPS activity trackers with 1000 Scottish school children to understand more about young people’s physical activity in their environment.
The 7th European Public Health Conference in Glasgow was chaired by the Unit’s Professor Alastair Leyland. The Glasgow conference attracted the biggest attendance and largest number of abstracts submitted to date.
The Scottish Government’s decision to fund pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment was informed by our research into barriers to uptake and use of PrEP treatment among the communities most affected by HIV in Scotland, and by findings from our Gay Men’s Sexual Health Survey.
HelpMeDoIt! is a study exploring the use of online technology and social support in the lifestyle behaviour change of obese adults. The findings will be published in late 2018.
The Unit’s Survey Office provided expert, tailored support to researchers from the Unit and wider University of Glasgow for thirty years. Re-launched as the Population Health Research Facility, it provides practical help with every aspect of a study, from the initial funding application through project set-up and management, data collection, to final archiving.
The Unit’s Dr Vittal Katikireddi and Professor Dame Sally Macintyre are members of an Academy of Medical Sciences working group which produce a major report: Improving the health of the public by 2040.
This online tool was developed to guide non-researchers through a series of questions to help review and interpret a published health research paper.
Evidence from the Tobacco In Prisons (TIPs) study contributes to Scottish Prison Service bringing forward policy of all prisons being smoke-free by the end of 2018.
Kate Hunt, former Professor of Gender and Health and Associate Director of the SPHSU, was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The Unit leads a £2m NIHR Global Health Research Group on Social Policy and Health Inequalities designed to improve population health in Brazil by studying the social determinants of health and improving understanding of how to reduce health inequalities in low and middle income countries.
Today we have 132 researchers and support staff, and 17 PhD students working across 6 research programmes: Complexity in Health Improvement, Measurement and Analysis of Socio-economic Inequalities in Health, Social Relationships and Health Improvement, Understanding and Improving Health within Settings and Organisations, Neighbourhoods and Communities, Informing Healthy Public Policy.