The overall mission of the Centre for Public Health (CPH) is to improve health and wellbeing of the population, to prevent and manage chronic disease and disability more effectively, and to improve the delivery of health and social care.
CPH has four successful, aligned research themes: Epidemiology and Public Health; Cancer Epidemiology; Nutrition and Public Health; and Health Services.
CPH has a track record of international excellence, demonstrable in all four of the research groupings and which is evidenced by the quality of our academic outputs and our staff’s membership of prestigious funding and policy setting bodies. In research terms, the groups have porous boundaries which underpin substantial collaboration across the Centre as a whole, with obvious bridging themes of Data Science and Complexity Science; our staff are also encouraged to collaborate with the other research and education centres in the School and with researchers from other Schools within and outwith the Faculty.
Epidemiology and Public Health Group
The Epidemiology and Public Health Group focuses on both observational epidemiology and intervention studies and natural experiments, and has a broad range of international collaborations, with major infrastructure funding from ESRC, MRC, EU and NIHR. Much of this work harnesses Big Data in discovery science and novel intervention development and their application to clinical and public health practice, to help understand how both genes and environments (including social norms/networks, and policies) shape risk in individuals and populations.
Cancer Epidemiology Research Group
The Cancer Epidemiology Research Group has substantial CRUK, NCI and NIHR funding that, in addition to core PHA investment in the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR), supports research into prevention, early detection and prognosis of cancer in an international context. Notable programmes include molecular epidemiology research on pre-cancerous conditions, gastrointestinal cancer progression and precision medicine/oncology, as well as internationally renowned expertise in pharmaco-epidemiology.
Nutrition and Public Health Group
The Nutrition and Public Health Group works across the life-course to understand the determinants of a healthy diet in individuals, in at risk groups (e.g. schoolchildren, pregnant women and older people) and in whole populations, and on ways to improve diet that are sustainable. Funding from MRC, Wellcome Trust, NIHR, EU and NIH supports work on identifying fit for purpose biomarkers of a healthy diet and pragmatic trials to determine the optimum behaviour change techniques to improve nutrition in key groups.
Health Services Research Group
The Health Services Research Group focuses on improving health services and care for people with chronic conditions, and on Global Health. The group has several key interdisciplinary strands which focus on the global challenges of addressing health and psychosocial care for chronic conditions and ageing populations: (i) Ophthalmology and eye health care research; (ii) Oral health care research; (iii) Methodology research; and (iv) Health economics and policy. A developing strand that criss-crosses these main themes revolves around the health care improvement agenda and implementation science.
Future plans for CPH will build on the belief that the School needs to continue to foster interdisciplinary collaboration for better research translation and impact and include continued investment in early career scientists and expanding the pipeline for careers in clinical academic medicine.