News from the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing

News from the Public Health and Wellbeing Research Group


Celebrating 21 years of teaching and research

The Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing celebrated 21 years of the multidisciplinary MSc Public Health programme in an online event on 7 October 2020. Coupled with the launch of the Global Health theme within the Centre, the event was enjoyed by over 70 participants from around the world. Professor Jane Powell, Centre Director, introduced presenters, Tracey Daszkiewicz (Deputy Director of Population Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, formerly the Director of Public Health and Safety for Wiltshire), where in 2018 she played a leading role in the response to the Novichock poisonings; Professor Maggie Rae (President, Faculty of Public Health); Dr Nick de Viggiani (Programme Leader, MSc Public Health at UWE Bristol) and reflections from the international alumni over 21 years.

The Global Health theme was launched and presented by Theme Leader, Professor Julie Mytton, with presentations from the NIHR-funded Global Health Research Team and Professor Sunil Kumar Joshi, from the Nepal Injury Research Centre (Kathmandu Medical College, Nepal). Professor Jane Powell concluded the online event with celebrations alongside the UWE Bristol Public Health Programme Team. View the recording of this virtual celebration event (restricted access).

Postgraduate research funding success for our students

Two new students, Florence Neville and Rebecca Reece, have been successful in securing 3+1 postgraduate research funding from the Health and Wellbeing pathway of the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership. Many thanks to Dr Stuart McClean who helped prepare the students for their interviews very successfully.

Semi-finalist in the Food System Vision Prize competition

In August 2020, Dr Matthew Jones, Janet Ige, Dr Sanda Ismail and a group of UWE Bristol MSc Public Health students originally from Nigeria reached the semi-finals of the Food System Vision Prize. This was a global competition initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation. It had over 1,300 entrants from 120 countries seeking to envision the food system in the year 2050. UWE Bristol collaborated with a group of agencies in Lagos (Nigeria) led by the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, to co-develop a vision for the city. Our focus was the impact of the information revolution and active citizenship on the city’s food system.

The project involved applying skills in systems thinking, future casting and community co-creation alongside a wide-ranging analysis of the changing food system. We are now part of a global research and practice network of food system visionaries convened by the Rockefeller Foundation. Read more about the Lagos Foodscape 2050.

The British Society of Gerontology 49th Annual Conference

British Society of Gerontology 49th annual conference was held online from 1 to 3 July 2020 with keynote speakers and flagship symposia. There were over 700 delegates from 23 countries. Thanks to organising committee led by Dr Gary Christopher, including Dr Matthew Jones, Emeritus Professor Robin Means, Dr Sanda Ismail, Sheila Mackintosh and Professor Jane Powell.

COPE-19 research

Dr Nick de Viggiani, working with Ruben Walsh, has been leading this research and knowledge exchange project examining Public and Environmental Health Students’ experiences of living and working during the COVID-19 pandemic. COPE-19 focuses on PH and EH students' personal and/or professional experiences of living in social isolation, under lockdown or of working in any “key worker” role. Students can choose whether to be an anonymous participant or to take part in a podcast for use on social media. For more details, contact Nick de Viggiani ( or Ruben Walsh ( COPE-19 has been granted full UWE Bristol ethical approval.

'Apart but not alone’ – neighbour support and the COVID-19 lockdown

An online survey was created to identify neighbour support in Bristol and the West Country. Early findings are: Despite the lockdown restrictions, people are connecting with each other through a range of means, including leafleting their neighbours offering help, organising through social media at postcode level or simply by talking to their neighbours at a safe social distance. The majority of groups have been self-organising and much of this activity occurred before more formalised volunteering had been established through voluntary agencies, local authorities or the NHS. People are reaching out to a range of groups beyond those vulnerable to the virus – these include people living alone, people with mobility issues, those experiencing financial issues or who are living in a home with no outdoor space. There is emerging evidence that there is a greater need within these particular groups in areas of high social disadvantage. The project's research team comprised Dr Matthew Jones, Amy Beardmore, Michele Biddle, Dr Jo White, Dr Sanda Ismail, Dr Stuart McClean, Dr Andy Gibson and Abby Sabey.

General practice referral of ‘at risk’ populations to community leisure services: From article to animation

Dr Emma Bird, Michele Biddle and Professor Jane Powell won a competition to transform their peer-reviewed article into an animation. Their research presents the results of an evaluation of the impacts of primary care referral to ‘CLICK into Activity’, a 12-week community-based physical activity programme for inactive adults with (or at risk of) long-term conditions. The animation competition was funded by the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) and was set up to increase the visibility of research and ultimately lead to greater research impact and engagement. The animation can be viewed on Twitter or YouTube. Read the open-access peer-reviewed article.


Doctoral completions

The Centre is pleased to congratulate the following doctoral completions:

  • Jack Spicer, completed November 2019:
    The policing of County Lines in affected import towns: Exploring local responses to evolving heroin and crack markets.
    Director of Studies: Dr Nick de Viggiani; Supervisor: Dr Ian Walmsley.
  • Saadye Ali, completed November 2019:
    How can approaches aimed at preventing FGM amongst young people be improved and developed using participatory methods with second-generation young people in the UK?
    Director of Studies: Professor Selena Gray; Supervisors: Dr Nick de Viggiani and Dr Aida Abzhaparova.
  • Emma Bird, completed December 2019:
    Promoting physical activity in community settings: A critical exploration of intervention development, evaluation and implementation.
    Director of Studies: Dr Amy Slater; Supervisors: Dr Issy Bray and Dr Nicola Stock.

The West of England Healthy Ageing Trailblazer

Professor Jane Powell led UWE Bristol’s collaborative bid for the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge Healthy Ageing, Forever Homes - West of England Healthy Ageing Trailblazer led by West of England Combined Authority. The application was submitted to Innovate UK on 27 November. The vision is to create better homes for older adults, through innovative user-centred design, products, technology and care, enabling older adults to enjoy at least five more years of healthy independent living. The West of England Healthy Ageing Trailblazer will focus on the home environment, bathroom and kitchens, and bring to market a package of products and assistive technology that enable older adults to live well and independently. The key driver is prevention and tackling inequality.

Bid successes

Dr Andy Gibson was successful in his bid application 'Supporting implementation of the World Health Organization Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) elimination strategy: A comprehensive model and economic evaluation of HCV elimination among people who inject drugs in England'. The research project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, will run from October 2020 to December 2022.

Professor Julie Mytton was successful in her bid application 'Our street, our school, our safe space: A cluster randomised trial evaluating a safe systems approach for reducing road injuries among adolescent in India and Nepal', a four year research project funded by the Medical Research Council.

Applied Research Collaboration West

Professor Selena Gray is leading on Capacity Development in the new Applied Research Collaboration West from 1 October

New Link Director appointed for WEAHSN

Professor Jane Powell has been appointed UWE Bristol's Link Director for the West of England Academic Health Science Network.

Review of 20 mph speed limits in Bristol

Safer 20 mph speed limits are here to stay in Bristol, with the results of Bristol City Council’s review leaving the limits in place across the city. The review, which was a mayoral manifesto commitment, incorporated data from vehicle observations, research by the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing and the opinions of residents via a public consultation.

New role for Dr Richard Kimberlee

Dr Richard Kimberlee has been appointed by NHS England two days per week in 2019/20 to oversee the roll out of social prescribing link workers in the South West.

Developing Systems Leadership project

Professor David Evans has completed the ‘Developing systems leadership project’ with Professor Richard Bolden (Director of Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, UWE Bristol) a successful project strongly valued by Public Health England and other stakeholders. The Bolden Report is having a major impact on systems leadership to knit things together in delivery of health and social care nationally.