I joined DECIPHer this month after seven years working in the Faculty of Public Health and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I’ve worked on joint research projects before with DECIPHer researchers so it’s great to join the team full-time and move to Cardiff. It’s an exciting time for the Centre as it continues to expand and have a major impact on methodological development and theoretical debates, such as the value of ‘Realist RCTs’. I’m looking forward to contributing to this work, and to developing new projects focussed on young people’s health and the role of schools in improving this.
Part of my job here will be to set up new collaborations between DECIPHer and other groups of researchers. This includes making stronger connections at Cardiff University with other social scientists – particularly the growing number of education researchers in the Cardiff University School of Social Sciences and the new WISERD Education team. I am also hoping to establish new international links and projects, alongside the ongoing DECIPHER partnerships with collaborators in the USA, Canada and Australia.
During a three-day visit to Denmark last week I had meetings with the children and family research team at The Danish National Centre for Social Research and represented DECIPHer on the scientific advisory board of a new four-year multidisciplinary study of migrants’ health led by the University of Copenhagen. This was a great opportunity to meet other researchers taking a life-course approach to developing and evaluating health improvement interventions. Several major international centres of public health research are represented on the advisory group, including the Harvard School of Public Health, Cornell University’s Division of Nutrition Sciences and the Department of Public Health at the University of Amsterdam.
These meetings in Copenhagen provided a great opportunity to spread the word internationally about the work of DECIPHer. There was widespread agreement that Denmark would benefit from the kind of the strategic investment British funders have made in Public Health Research Centres of Excellence, and that DECIPHer represents an important resource globally for those developing and evaluating complex interventions.
There was also great interest from the Danish team in an upcoming DECIPHer short course, which provides an introduction to the socio-ecological model of health and how it can be used as a framework to inform the design of multilevel complex interventions. I hope that several of the researchers I met who are working on the project at the University of Copenhagen will be able attend the short course next year and I look forward to visiting again soon to learn more from them.
Dr. Adam Fletcher (@DrAdamFletcher) is Senior Lecturer in Social Science and Health at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences, and an inter-disciplinary public health researcher at DECIPHer.