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Professor Ruth Hunter

Professor of Public Health and Planetary Health, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences

Professor Ruth Hunter is Professor of Public Health and Planetary Health in the Centre for Public Health, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

Tell us about your research

My work primarily involves investigating how we can improve the environment where we live for better health, mental health and brain health. This includes aspects such as designing and evaluating interventions to increase the quality and amount of green and blue spaces, and improving air quality through interventions that reduce our usage of cars. My research also involves the integration of different environmental data sources, including satellite and aerial imagery which enables us to do research at a global scale.

What first attracted you to your research field?

I really got interested in this area of research during my first postdoc position in the Centre for Public Health at Queen's. This involved evaluating the public health impact of the Connswater Community Greenway in east Belfast. I got to see first-hand what impact the local environment could have on the health and wellbeing of local communities.

What impact is your research having on people's lives?

One example is through our research on the Connswater Community Greenway. Here we found that the greenway had made a significant improvement, particularly for those in low-income communities through improved health and quality of life.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

I really enjoy working with other researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines. I’ve had the opportunity to work with great researchers across all parts of the University. I also enjoy working with our community partners. They provide invaluable real-world experience that helps with the design, implementation and translation of our research.


About Ruth

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time you can usually find me and my family somewhere along the north coast in my campervan with a surfboard. My family also have a sheep farm so I can quite often be found there helping out at busy times such as lambing and shearing.

What is your favourite app?

MagicSeaWeed is a great app for keeping an eye on the local surf reports along the north coast.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I’m a twin – not sure if that counts as interesting! We completed our PhDs at the same time.

What are you currently reading?

I’m a member of the WHSmith book club and am currently reading The Match by Harlan Coben.


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