1. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit is established

    1998

    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.


    Photo of Lilybank Gardens, University of Glasgow

  2. Major study of teenagers’ physical and mental health and health behaviours

    1999

    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.

    Teenaged school children walking down a school hallway and laughing

  3. The Lancet publishes the Unit’s first qualitative research paper

    2001

    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?

    A semi-transparent computer tracing of a heart

  4. Unit hosts Scottish Swedish Finnish workshop

    2002

    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.

    Finnish, Swedish and Scottish national flags flying

  5. Place Effects on Health paper published

    2002

    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?

    Glasgow central station sign

  6. DASH study of adolescents’ health and wellbeing begins

    2003

    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.

    DASH study logo

  7. Unit researchers become part of the Scottish Health Survey team

    2004

    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.

    Scottish Health Survey covers over the years

  8. Society for Social Medicine Annual Meeting is held in Glasgow

    2005

    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.

    Society for Social Medicine logo

  9. M74 motorway study begins

    2006

    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.

    Glasgow motorway in heavy traffic

  10. Peers and Levels of Stress (PaLS) study begins

    2006

    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.

    A group of young people laughing

  11. First rigorous evaluation of an adolescent sexual health programme in Africa

    2007

    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.

    Two women and a child dressed in traditional African clothing

  12. School sex education programme developed and evaluated

    2007

    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.

    A girl in a classroom putting her hand up

  13. ‘Mountain Plot’ diagram developed to explain mortality and morbidity

    2007

    This innovative way of explaining mortality and morbidity was later developed into a jigsaw which has been successfully used in many public engagement events.

    A scientific 'mountain plot' diagram

  14. Final wave of data collection for the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study

    2008

    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.

    West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study logo

  15. The ALICE study examines how smoking and drinking in films influences young people

    2010

    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.

    ALICE Study logo

  16. Research on media framing of public health issues

    2010

    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.

    A stack of colourful newspapers

  17. Unit Director Sally Macintyre receives Damehood

    2011

    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.

    Dame Sally Macintyre and her partner at Queen's Honours ceremony

  18. Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme kicks off

    2011

    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.

    FFIT participants posing for the camera

  19. Laurence Moore joins the Unit as Director

    2013

    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.

    A headshot of Professor Laurence Moore

  20. Unit celebrates The Medical Research Council’s centenary

    2013

    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.

    Permanent displays outside the Glasgow Science Centre

  21. The THRIVE and SEED trials begin

    2013

    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.

    A baby smiling and looking at the camera

  22. SPACES project tracks children’s physical activity

    2013

    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.

    A group of young children playing football

  23. European Public Health Conference held in Glasgow

    2014

    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.

    Glasgow Exhibition Centre hallway

  24. Research on attitudes to HIV prevention treatment

    2014

    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.

    HIV test blood sample in a laboratory environment

  25. HelpMeDoIt! trial begins

    2015

    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.

    Help Me Do It! Study logo

  26. Unit’s Population Health Research Facility is launched

    2016

    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.

    A graphic illustrating a pie chart of a population

  27. Improving the health of the public by 2040 report published

    2016

    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.

    Improving the health of the public by 2040 report cover

  28. Understanding Health Research web tool launched

    2016

    This online tool was developed to guide non-researchers through a series of questions to help review and interpret a published health research paper.

    Understanding Health Research logo

  29. Tobacco In Prisons study evidence published on exposure of prison staff to second-hand smoke

    2017

    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.

    Tobacco in Prisons Study logo

  30. Professor Kate Hunt FSRE

    2017

    Kate Hunt, former Professor of Gender and Health and Associate Director of the SPHSU, was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

    A headshot of Professor Kate Hunt

  31. Global Health Research Group partnership with Brazil begins

    2017

    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.

    A photo of the map of Brazil

  32. 20 years as MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit

    2018

    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.

    MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit graphic illustrating research programmes