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Category Archives: Research
It is hard to believe that it is already a year since the results of REF 2014 were published, with good news of a very positive performance from the School of Health Sciences and colleagues across the University. While we enjoyed some brief time for reflection on our REF success 2015 has seen lots of hard work and plenty of research success in the School.
Two very recent grant successes are examples of the range of innovation and international engagement of school research. Prof Pat Hoddinott and Dr Stephan Dombrowski have been awarded funding from NIHR Public Health Research Programme for “Feasibility study of how best to engage obese men in narrative SMS (short message system) and incentive interventions for weight loss, to inform a future effectiveness and cost-effectiveness trial” with a total award value of £491K. Prof Linda Bauld was awarded a British Council Researcher Links Workshop Grant with Uruguay “Implementation science applied to maternal health: tobacco and alcohol use in pregnancy”, with an award of £34K.
2016 will be a very exciting year for research in the school. The integration of the School of Health Science and School of Sports offers lots of potential for working together in new research directions as well as adding considerably to our existing programmes of research. The research integration working group is currently discussing the research synergies between the Schools and the distinctive strengths of the integrated School, essentially what research we would want the new School to be known for nationally and internationally. So far have produced lots of exciting ideas with three main broad areas where synergies in research across the Schools are clear. These are:
- Lifestyle and behaviour change to health and wellbeing
- Physiological mechanisms underlying behavioural health interventions
- Policy and public organisations/ policy and implementation
Getting together to talk about research with our colleagues from School of Sport has already generated some great ideas for research projects and hopefully we will see some of these come to fruition in 2016.
A major initiative that will be initiated in early 2016 will be internal peer review of all research funding applications. While there have been various procedures for internal peer review across the School for some time these will be formalised in line with the University-wide policy for internal peer review early next year. The peer review system aims to contribute to an increase in the quality and success of grant funding applications across the School. I hope that all staff working on funding applications will benefit both from having their proposals peer reviewed and from acting as peer reviewers for colleagues.
Finally, the school will benefit from additional support from Carol Johnstone, Research Development Manager, who will have an increased focus on our School in 2016. The support we currently get from Carol and her team is invaluable and I am delighted that we will see more of her next year.
Professor Helen Cheyne, Director of Research, School of Health Sciences
17 December 2015
The state of maternity care in Scotland has been examined by University of Stirling researchers working with the Scottish Government.
The national report Having a baby in Scotland 2015: Listening to Mothers documents the story of more than 2000 new mothers.
Produced in partnership by the Scottish Government and Stirling’s Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU) – it shows women are accessing care earlier in pregnancy with significantly more contacting a midwife first when they are pregnant.
Communication between women and maternity care staff appears to be good with most women reporting that they were listened to, spoken to in ways that they could understand and involved as much as they wanted in decisions about their care. The high level of trust women had in staff was evident, in particular during labour and birth.
Areas where care could be improved – particularly in relation to mental health – were highlighted, based on women’s responses to the survey.
Around one third of women felt that they were not given all the advice they needed about emotional changes they might experience and around one quarter were not given information about who to contact for advice about emotional changes if they needed it.
Additionally 44 percent of women said they did not get enough information to help them decide where to have their baby and 24 percent said they were not offered a choice about where to have their baby.
Report author Helen Cheyne, midwife and Professor of Midwifery Research in the NMAHP Research Unit at the University of Stirling said: “One of the most striking findings was around women’s mental health in the six weeks following birth. A recent report shows that almost a quarter of women who died between six weeks and one year following birth did so from mental health related causes. It is essential that all women and their families know the signs and symptoms of mental health problems following birth and who to contact if these occur.
“The report recommends that NHS Boards should examine whether local maternity and perinatal mental health services meet current best practice recommendations to support maternal mental health. All midwives, health visitors and medical staff caring for pregnant and postnatal women should undertake recognised training to ensure there is support for mothers who experience mental health problems.”
The report from the NMAHP Research Unit concludes with six recommendations including the appointment of post-natal care champions in every maternity hospital, ensuring one to one care of women by skilled midwives throughout labour and birth remains a priority and that all women should have choices about where their antenatal and postnatal care and place of birth happens.
Media enquiries to Corrinne Gallagher, Communications Officer, on 01786 466 687 email@example.com
15 December 2015
Dr Leah Macaden, Dr Annetta Smith and Dr Kathleen Stoddart are involved in SIPA’s Sensory Impairment and Pharmaceutical Care research.
Funded by the Chief Scientist’s Office, it looks at the question “What are the needs of older people receiving polypharmacy?”
Full info here
Teenage Cancer Trust: Cancer Education sessions can help to save lives – University of Stirling Research
“Research demonstrating the value and impact of our vital education work has been published in Pycho-Oncology, the Journal of Psychological, Social and Behavioural Dimensions of Cancer.
“Last year, Teenage Cancer Trust and the Scottish government’s Detect Cancer Early Programme commissioned research into the impact of educating young people about cancer. The research was evaluated by The University of Stirling concluded that our school-based cancer education sessions are an effective and impactful way to improve awareness of the signs of cancer in young people, improve knowledge of cancer prevention, and improve communication about cancer.”
Check out the full story on their web page: https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/about-us/news/our-cancer-education-sessions-can-help-save-lives
1 December 2015
Jonathan Bryce graduates from the University of Stirling this Friday 27 November with a MRes – Health Research.
He has been awarded a University Integrating Research Into Learning Award for his Youth Alcohol Intervention dissertation research. Jonathan writes:
What was it about?
I wrote the dissertation as part of the Master of Research in Health Research course at the University of Stirling. The dissertation was made up of three parts – a funding proposal, an ethics application and a journal article.
The overall topic of the work was based around investigating the effectiveness of an intervention to reduce harmful or hazardous alcohol consumption in young people aged 16 – 24 years old. The main component of the proposal was exploring the use of a conversational style of discussing alcohol use with young people. The aim would be to do this in a way that is non-confrontational and that focuses on strengthening the motivation of the individual to make changes about their alcohol use.
Why was it needed?
The motivation behind the choice of topic follows from high rates of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related ill health in Scotland over recent decades. Data shows that approximately one-third of women and almost half of men regularly drink at levels that exceed government guidelines.
Young people also have high rates of harmful or hazardous drinking, meaning they can be exposed short-term risks such as being a victim of crime or injuring themselves. Late adolescent drinking has also been linked to dependence in later life as well as premature death.
How would it be carried out?
The research proposed was designed for use in an informal youth work setting. Examples of these may include drop-in or outreach services offering support to young people on issues such mental or sexual health, education and careers advice.
Building upon previous research that found that brief alcohol interventions were both acceptable and feasible for use in informal youth settings, interventions would be delivered by youth workers opportunistically. These would then allow the youth worker to engage the young person in a short conversation about their alcohol use and, where appropriate, setting goals such as reducing the quantity or frequency of alcohol the consume.
How will it improve/help practice?
If found to be effective, the intervention has the potential to improve current practice in youth work settings by providing a tool for youth workers that is evidence-based and which can lead to better outcomes for the young people they are in contact with. The most immediate impact is likely to be consideration and discussion about the young person’s alcohol use. Long-term benefits might include improved health and well-being and reductions in alcohol-related ill health.
Jonathan Bryce, MRes Health Graduate
24 November 2015