There is strong evidence that the social and economic conditions in which we grow, live, work and age determine our health to a much larger degree than lifestyle choices. These social determinants of health, such as income, good quality homes, education or work, are not distributed equally in society, which leads to health inequalities. Many of these social determinants of health are the responsibility of policy sectors other than "health", which means policy organisations need to promote health across all their policies if they are to have a big impact on health. SIPHER will provide new scientific evidence and methods to support such a shift from "health policy" to "healthy public policy".
OUR POLICY FOCUS
We will work with policy partners at local, regional and national level to tackle their above-average chronic disease burden and persistent health inequalities: Sheffield City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Scottish Government. We will focus on four jointly agreed policy priorities for good health:
- Creating a fairer economy
- Promoting mental wellbeing
- Providing affordable, good quality housing
- Preventing long-term effects of difficult childhoods
OUR COMPLEX SYSTEMS SCIENCE APPROACH
Each of the above policy areas is a complex political system with many competing priorities, where policy choices in one sector (e.g. housing) can have large unintended effects in others (e.g. poverty). There is often no "correct" solution because compromises between different outcomes require value judgements. This means that to assess the true benefits and costs of a policy in relation to health, policy effects and their interdependencies need to be assessed across a wide range of possible outcomes. However, no policymaker has knowledge of the whole system and future economic and political developments are uncertain. Ongoing monitoring of expected and unexpected effects of policies and other system changes is crucial so failing policies can be revised or dropped. We propose to use complex systems modelling, which has been developed to understand and make projections of what might happen in complex systems given different plausible assumptions about future developments. Our models will be underpinned by the best available data and prior research in each policy area. Our new evidence about likely policy effects across a wide range of outcomes will help policy partners decide between alternative policies, depending on how important different outcomes are to them (e.g. improving health or economic growth). We will develop support tools that can visualise the forecasts, identify policies that achieve the desired balance between competing outcomes and update recommendations when new information emerges. Whilst new to public health policy, these methods are well-established in engineering and climate science. We will
- Work with policy partners to understand the policy systems and evidence needs
- Bring together existing data and evidence on each policy system (e.g. links between policies and outcomes, interdependencies between outcomes)
- Explore citizens' preferences for prioritising when not all outcomes can be achieved
- Link policies and their health and non-health effects in computer models to analyse benefits and costs over time
- Build an interactive tool to help policy decision-making, inform advocacy action and support political debate.
SIPHER Team Members
Petra Meier, Consortium Director and WS8 Lead
Robin Purshouse, Consortium Director and WS7 Lead
SIPHER Team Members
Adam Keeley, Workstrand 3 Researcher
Aki Tsuchiya, Workstrand 6 Lead
Alan Brennan, Workstrand 3, 4, 5 and 7 Co-Investigator
Alison Heppenstall, Workstrand 3 and 5 Lead
Alistair Brown, Workstrand 1 Researcher
An Thu Ta (Anna), PhD Student
Anna Brook, Workstrand 2 Researcher
Anna Macintyre, Workstrand 1 Researcher
Asif Ishaq, Scottish Government Partner
Becky Field, Workstrand 6 Researcher
Ceri Hughes, Inclusive Growth Researcher
Chris Gibbons, Sheffield City Council Partner
Chris Wu, Workstrand 3 and 5 Researcher
Clare Bambra, Workstrand 2 Co-Investigator and Health Inequalities Expert
Clemmie Hill O'Connor, Workstrand 1 Researcher
Colin Angus, Data Visualisation and Inequalities Expert
Craig Watkins, Housing Expert
Dan Chedgzoy, Sheffield City Council Embedded Researcher
Duncan Chambers, Workstrand 2 Researcher
Ellen Stewart, Public Engagement Lead & Workstrand 8 Co-Investigator
Fiona Campbell, Workstrand 2 Co-Lead
Fraser Bell, GMCA Embedded Researcher
Greg Fell, Sheffield City Council Partner
Hui Zhang, Workstrand 6 Researcher
Jen Boyd, PhD Student
Jennifer Llewellyn, Workstrand 2 Researcher
Jessica Smith, GMCA Partner
João Duro, Workstrand 7 Researcher
John Brazier, Workstrand 6 Co-Investigator
Julian Cox, GMCA Partner
Kate Hayes, Workstrand 4 Researcher
Katherine Smith, Workstrand 1 Lead and Workstrand 8 Co-Investigator
Katrina Hann, GMCA Partner
Liddy Goyder, Health Inequalities Expert
Liz Such, Workstrand 1, 2 and 8 Co-Investigator
Louise Brewins, Sheffield City Council Partner
Mark Birkin, Workstrand 3 and 5 Co-Investigator
Mark Bryan, Workstrand 4 and 7 Co-Investigator
Mark Clowes, Workstrand 2 Researcher
Mark Strong, Workstrand 4 Co-Investigator
Mary Gogarty, GMCA Embedded Researcher
Mohammad Hassannezhad, Workstrand 7 Researcher
Neil White, Scottish Government Partner
Nik Lomax, Workstrand 3 and 5 Lead
Rachel Anderson, Scottish Government Embedded Researcher
Richard Bentall, Public Mental Health Expert
Rob Clay, Workstrand 5 Researcher
Ruth Lupton, Inclusive Growth Expert
Ruth Wong, Workstrand 2 Researcher
Victoria Johnson, PhD Student
Visakan Kadirkamanathan, Workstrand 4 Lead
SIPHER’s policy partners are the Scottish Government, Sheffield City Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Representing local, regional and national governments, they are developing new ways of working to tackle key problems, including reducing persistent inequalities and promoting population health. New strategies and frameworks are explicitly place-based and multi-sectoral in approach.
SIPHER’s academic partners bring expertise from a wide range of scientific disciplines. As well as the University of Glasgow, SIPHER's academic partners include The University of Sheffield, University of Strathclyde, University of Leeds, The University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University and The University of Manchester.
SIPHER’s Practice Partners will help us make our work applicable to a wide range of settings and policy questions. Our Practice Partners include senior representatives from the following organisations: Public Health Scotland, Public Health England, Public Health Wales, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Learn Sheffield, Sheffield City Partnership, Northern Health Science Alliance, Local Government Association, The Alan Turing Institute, Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, Behavioural Science and Public Health Network, and Hertfordshire County Council.
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