The award enables Dr Evans to travel to further her understanding of international innovation in suicide prevention among care-experienced children and young people.
The Churchill Fellowship supports UK citizens to follow their passion for change through learning from the world. It was founded in 1965 as the living legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. On 27 June 2023, the Fellowship named its Fellows for the forthcoming year:
‘We are pleased to announce that 141 remarkable people have been selected as new Fellows for 2023. This remarkable group of people represents a diverse range of backgrounds, expertise and aspirations.‘
Dr Evans’ project is titled Prevention of suicide in care-experienced children and young people. Over the past decade, her research has explored the prevalence and causes of self-harm and suicide among this population, in addition to the experiences of current provision. However, after leading an NIHR-PHR funding systematic review of interventions in this area, it was clear that there is a significant lack of effective approaches. particularly in the UK.
In response to this limitation with existing practice, Dr Evans applied for a Churchill Fellowship to spend time visiting academics and practitioners in Denver, USA and Seoul and Busan, South Korea. Both of these countries are testing novel approaches to suicide prevention among care-experienced populations, that might have relevance to the UK.
‘It is an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to spend time visiting other communities and contexts to explore exciting new approaches to preventing suicide among children and young people who have been in care.’
This work will strengthen the collaboration that DECIPHer built with Professor Heather Taussig during her Fullbright Scholarship visit to Cardiff University in 2020, which has already led to a number of key outputs in the field.
Rhiannon will also be spending time at the world leading ACCORDS Dissemination and Implementation Science (D&I) Program at the University of Colorado, further building on DECIPHer’s international reputation in intervention adaptation. In particular, she will be considering how to advance methods in adaptation research to support the adaptation of approaches identified through the fellowship to the UK context.
Dr Evans said of the Fellowship: ‘It is an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to spend time visiting other communities and contexts to explore exciting new approaches to preventing suicide among children and young people who have been in care. I am looking forward to sharing my learning and ideas with colleagues when I return to Wales, and working towards improving suicide prevention for this underserved group.’
Another Cardiff University researcher, Lorna Stabler, who is located in DECIPHer and CASCADE, was also awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2019. Her project for the Fellowship is titled Exploring approaches to support kinship carers and the Fellowship enabled her to carry out research in Cambodia, India and Japan.
Learn more about the Churchill Fellowship here: https://churchillfellowship.org/. Applications for the next round of Fellowships open in September 2023.