Professor Sally Wyke
- Deputy Director, Institute of Health and Wellbeing / Interdisciplinary Research Professor, Professor (Institute of Health & Wellbeing Social Sciences)
- Deputy Director of Institute of Health and Wellbeing (Institute of Health & Wellbeing)
- Dean of Research (Social Sciences College Senior Management)
- Associate (School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing)
My expertise is in applying interdisciplinary social science theory and evidence to developing and evaluating complex interventions for health and wellbeing which are appropriate to context and culture.
I have been awarded 62 research grants, studentships or fellowships (including three programme grants) totalling over £12 million.
I co-led the award winning Football Fans in Training Programme (FFIT). FFIT is a highly effective and cost effective gender-sensitised, group-based weight management programme for men delivered in professional football clubs. It is now delivered across Scotland, Germany, parts of England and the Netherlands under the leadership of the Scottish Professional Football League Trust.
I led the EU-funded consortium ‘EuroFIT’ which is an effective and cost-effective lifestyle change programme for men to increase physical activity. It is now being developed for wider implementation across Europe by Healthy Stadia.
I have been Director of the Scottish School of Primary Care (2000-2005), Director of the Alliance for Self Care Research (2005 – 2010), Deputy Director of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing (2011-present) and Dean of Research, College of Social Sciences (2017 – present).
I has served on a number of grant awarding bodies, including: Canadian Institute for Health Research Advisory Committee Member for Networks in Chronic Disease, 2015, Research Council for Norway, Health, Care and Welfare Services Research Committee, 2016 and 2018, Prevention Expert Review Panel, CRUK Population Health Committee, 2016 -
I was appointed distinguished International Affiliate, American Society for Health Psychology, 2017, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2015, Member of CRUK/BUPA Foundation Cancer Prevention Initiative International Advisory Board, 2014, Valkhoff Professor 2012, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, Honorary Professor, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, July 2015 - .
I am interested in complex intervention to improve health, in public health, community settings or primary care. I bring mixed methods intervention development and evaluation skills and use evidence, theory and experiences. I am also interested in policy and programme evaluation, in evaluation methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches.
This means that my work covers organisational and individual approaches to supporting people in all social positions to:
- live healthily and reduce risk of illness
- manage multiple conditions, particularly long term conditions
- consult early with symptoms that might be cancer
- enable health and wellbeing in later life
- self-manage illness
I am also committed to working in participative ways with people, practitioners and policy makers to support the use of research to improve health and illness.
Surveillance integrating Phylogenetics and Epidemiology for Elimination of Disease: Evaluation of Rabies Control in the Philippines (SPEEDIER)
Medical Research Council. £366,833. 01/07/2018- 30/06/2021. PI Katie Hampson, Co-Is Sally Wyke, Nai Rui Chng, Roman Biek, Paul Johnson, Betsy Miranda, Dario Manalo, Betty Quiambao, Jobin Maestro, Peter Craig
Rabies, a horrific but preventable disease, kills over 200 people annually in the Philippines. Our aim is to deliver a cost-effective, epidemiologically robust, surveillance package that can be rolled out across the Philippines to guide and sustain the elimination of canine rabies.
Through implementation research we will develop best practice for an enhanced surveillance approach using Integrated Bite Case Management (IBCM) as a strategy to detect rabid animals, with risk assessment of bite patients triggering epidemiological investigations. IBCM is also an effective way to improve PEP administration, ensuring at risk persons are treated and unnecessary PEP use is reduced.
Within our implementation study, we will conduct a pragmatic stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate the potential for cost savings and improved patient care through rationalized PEP. We estimate that if implemented effectively, rationalized PEP could save over $9 million every year in the Philippines.
Cultural, social and economic influences on ongoing Schistosoma mansoni transmission, despite a decade of mass treatment, and the potential for change
Medical Research Council. £360, 299.06. 1/4/2017 – 31/3/2019. PI: Poppy Lamberton; Co-Is: Nick Hanley, Lucy Pickering, Sally Wyke, Janet Seeley
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease which infects over 240 million poor people worldwide, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Improved sanitation and access to clean safe water supplies can stop people from getting infected but many areas affected by schistosomiasis lack money and resources to improve sanitation and when sanitation is improved, it is not always used.
This project aims to understand better how people living in endemic communities manage their risk of schistosomiasis and how they might change their behaviour if additional resources were provided.
We are doing that by working directly with communities who experience a lot of schistosomiasis to establish how people currently try to reduce the risk of infection for themselves and their families as well as the risk of passing those infections on through open defecation. We are working in three villages in Uganda using social science methods to observe people going about their everyday life. We have interviewed them in groups and individually about their understanding of the disease, its effects, how they get infected and their current and desired strategies for reducing infections in the whole community. We are using these data will be used to build up a picture of high and low risk practices and perceptions of disease risk, and how practices and perceptions vary by gender, age, occupation and other factors.
We are also conducting a household survey to measure what is needed to change an individual’s behaviour. Our methodologies allow us to quantify the ways in which people currently respond to the risks posed by schistosomiasis, and how they might respond if investments in washing, sanitation and hygiene resources in their communities were made.
Our findings will help us identify “best bets” for investments likely to reduce transmission and re-infection which are likely to work in the long-term. Results will inform future research studies, where these interventions are tried out at village and regional levels. Together the programme of work we plan will inform us on how best to control and potentially eliminate bilharzia in given areas, helping to improve the health of children in infected communities.
NIHR Global Health Research Group on estimating the prevalence, quality of life, economic and societal impact of arthritis in Tanzania: a mixed methods study at University of Glasgow
National Institute for Health Research. £1,993,935. 1/04/2018-31/03/21. PI: Emma McIntosh; CoIs: Blandina Mmbaga, Richard Walker, Iain McInnes, Sally Wyke, Christopher Bunn, Emma Laurie, and others
The 2010 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study reported that musculoskeletal diseases accounted for 20% of all years lived with disability (YLDs) in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Significantly contributing to the global burden associated with the musculoskeletal system are arthritis diseases, with YLDs attributable to osteoarthritis increasing dramatically by 75% from 1990 to 2013.
We do not know anything about the epidemiology, economic, social and quality of life impacts of arthritis in LMIC. Arthritis and joint pain encompass a wide range of conditions with varying impacts and management requirements. It is important to understand the distribution and impact of these in order to inform future prevention and intervention strategies.
This research will: conduct a population census to establish the prevalence of arthritis in Tanzania; understand and describe the lived reality of arthritis in Tanzania; identify and test the best methods to measure the quality of life and health care resource use of people with arthritis in Tanzania; train early and mid-career Tanzanian researchers and clinicians in conducting research program and develop capacity.
How do people with chronic conditions and their healthcare providers negotiate the self-management imperative?
Australian Research Council, 2015-2017, PIs: Lorraine Smith and Karen Willis; UK co-investigators: Anne Rogers and Sally Wyke
Despite numerous self-management programs, significant funding for chronic disease management, and training healthcare providers (HCPs) in best practice, the fact remains that medically driven solutions do not work for people who are living with chronic conditions. Our research answers the question: How are self-management goals negotiated and enacted between people with chronic conditions and their healthcare providers?
The study has:
- shown how interactions between people who live with a chronic condition, and their HCPs, shape self-management goals and engagement with self-management support;
- provided explanations for difference in perspectives about goals between people with a chronic condition and HCPs;
- contributed to and extend goal theory as it relates to healthcare settings; and
- considered the implications of interactions about self-management goals in order to propose testable practice solutions and recommendations for policy.
Can HIV transmission to young women and mortality in men be decreased by a home-based intervention to test and treat which includes financial incentives and gender-sensitive counselling?
National Institutes of Health. $2,137,728, 1/7/2016 – 30/6/20. PIs: Frank Tanser and Till Barnighausen; Co-Is Nuala McGrath, Ben Sartorius, Maryam Shahamanesh, Janet Seeley, Sally Wyke
HIV incidence and mortality rates remain unacceptably high in rural South Africa. In particular, young women (aged 15-30) remain at extremely high risk of HIV acquisition and more effective prevention programming is urgently needed for this group.
There are two problems in current HIV programs – continued high HIV incidence in women and comparatively low ART access in men – and they are inextricably linked. For successful treatment-as prevention, it is urgent that those large numbers of HIV-infected men – who are currently not benefitting from ART and who are infecting young women – are started on ART.
Our aim is to reduce young female HIV incidence and male HIV-related mortality through a once-off, two-stage financial incentive to encourage HIV testing and linkage to HIV treatment in a real- world setting along.
Financial incentives target extrinsic motivations. At the same time our intervention attempts to increase men’s intrinsic motivation to test and link to care via an application called Empowering People through Informed Choice for HIV (EPIC-HIV). This is an interactive App (tablet-based) that supports men in choosing whether (and how) to engage in point of care HIV testing and link to care.
The interventions have been developed and are now being implemented in a sectorial designed randomised controlled trial run by the Africa Health Research Institute.
Using a difference-in-differences design within an implementation science framework we will leverage the statistical power gained through a decade's long HIV surveillance and will compare the change in male viral load, male mortality and female incidence (15-30 years of age) pre and post intervention for residents of communities who receive and who do not receive the intervention respectively.
Participants will then be followed up routinely through the Africa Centre's ongoing population-based HIV surveillance for three years. The results of this work will directly inform the development and targeting of prevention efforts in the context of generalized ART coverage.
Health through Faith: can faith-based organisations support weight management and reduce the risk of NCDs in South Africa?
Medical Research Council. £149,973.54, 1/7/2016 - 30/6/2018. PI: Sally Wyke; Co-Is Christopher Bunn, Kate Hunt, Catherine Drpaer, Lisa Micklesfield
In high-income countries lifestyle change programmes which work with culturally-valued identities and which use culturally-valued materials can successfully engage people to long-term lifestyle change. Driven by high levels of overweight/obesity and high levels of church attendance in SA, we investigated whether a healthy living programme could be adapted for delivery through churches. The programme was called ‘Impilo neZenkolo’ (InZ) meaning ‘Health through Faith’.
Recruitment of four churches was relatively easy. Six workshops with church members led to numerous adaptions to InZ, including how information was expressed. We trained 10 volunteers to lead the 12-week programme in their church but scheduling difficulties led to delivery in only 3 and training being short. Churches recruited 84 participants and we conducted pre and post programme measurements with 42 of these. We observed sessions to capture ease of delivery and conducted 5 focus group discussions and 9 interviews to capture perceptions of delivery in each church.
The quality of delivery varied, influenced by leaders’ themselves but also levels of literacy and adequacy of training. For example, behaviour change techniques were taught well in one church, but less well others, interactive learning was encouraged in all churches but teaching more didactic in one. Church and programme leaders and participants were positive about the programme and the 42 participants measured lost on average 1.9kg.
We conclude that InZ is acceptable in SA, and has potential to contribute to tackling obesity. Further adaptations to both the form and content are necessary before wider implementation.
Evaluation of the Links Worker Programme in 'Deep End' Practices in Glasgow
NHS Health Scotland; August 2014-March 2017, led by Sally Wyke and Stewart Mercer.
The Links Worker Programme is a Scottish Government funded programme which aims to increase access to support for people living in the most deprived areas of Scotland. The Links Worker Programme uses a ‘social prescribing’ model (where patients are supported to access non-medical support and resources available in their communities), and a ‘Links Approach’, which engages the entire primary care team in developing the capacity to support people to live well in their community through enabling better access to information, knowledge, skills, relationships and resources.
We conducted an evaluation of the Links Worker Programme which found that it was implemented differently in different practice, with some fully integtrating links workers and links practices into the life of the practice and patient care and others only partically integrating them. We also found that patients who saw the links practitioner on three or more occasions (45% of those referred) had significant improvements in overall quality of life, depression and anxiety and exercise levels. Patients who took saw the links practitioners more often were also more likely to take up and link with suggested community resources.
Long term weight loss trajectories in participants in a randomised controlled trial of a weight management and healthy lifestyle programme for men delivered through professional football clubs: the Football Fans in Training follow up
National Institute for Health Research Public Health Programme, 2015-2016, Led by Cindy Gray; Co-Is including Sally Wyke
We developed and evaluated the highly successful Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme to help overweight make lasting improvements to their weight, physical activity and diet. Our randomised controlled trial, also funded by NIHR Public Health Programme, showed it to be very successful; men were able to maintain weight loss, and changes to their physical activity and eating habits 12 months after baseline measurement. In this study we followed up men who started the programme in 2011 and those who started it in 2012 to see if the changes they had made were sustained 3.5 and 2.5 years after baseline measurement.
We found there were significant sustained improvements in weight, self-reported physical activity and diet and that the FFIT programme continued to be highly cost effective.
Social innovation to improve physical activity and sedentary behaviour through elite European football clubs: European Fans in Training (EuroFIT)
European Commission FP7, grant agreement no: 602170, 2013-2018. PI: Sally Wyke
EuroFIT is a social innovation project funded under the European Union’s Framework 7 Programme for Research and Innovation. Its core concept was to attract people to lifestyle change through their personal connection and loyalty to the professional football club they support. The EuroFIT programme specifically targeted overweight men and was designed to support men to become more physically active, reduce their sedentary time, and to maintain these changes to at least 12 months after baseline. Participants were also given the skills to improve their diet if they wanted to lose weight.
The men were recruited from the fan bases of fifteen clubs in the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal and Norway and the programme was delivered over 12 weeks by trained coaches in club stadia. The links with the clubs were effective in attracting and retaining men throughout the programme.
The EuroFIT programme consists of 12 sessions, each of which includes collective exercise (including walking football, stretching and warmup/warmdown), as well as learning skills to both initiate and maintain behavioural changes.
We conducted randomised control trial, with 1113 participants from across Europe. Overall, the results were very positive, with significant improvements in physical activity, in diet, BMI, well-being, vitality and biomarkers of health. EuroFIT did not succeed in reducing sedentary time but did find that the programme is cost effective in the long-term.
We also studies what was required to replicate the programme in clubs which were not receiving support from the EU in the context of a funded research project. We found that scale-up and scale-out are entirely feasible, but that a supportive funding source for delivery (to pay for coach training, materials, delivery and quality assurance) is a pre-requisite.
I have supervised 23 PhD students, 21 to completion
Current supervision areas
- Complex interventions to improve health and wellbeing
- Supporting people with multiple long term conditions
- Managing health and illness in the context of everyday life
Building (de)fences - empowering farmers to take action on disease control, 2015 - present
Culture, Community Arts and Health: an integrated applied theatre approach to HIV and AIDs in Malawi, 2017 - present
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2017: Distinguished International Affiliate, (American Society for Health Psychology)
- 2014: Fellow (Royal Society of Edinburgh)
- 2004: Honorary Fellow (Royal College of General Practitioners)
Grant committees & research advisory boards
- 2016: Cancer Research UK, Population Research Committee Prevention Expert Review Panel
- 2016: Research Council for Norway, Health, Care and Welfare Services Research Committee
- 2008 - 2012: Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research UK’s population Health Committee
- 2010 - 2015: Cancer Research UK, Co- chair, UK National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI)
- 2002 - 2008: National Institute for Health Research, SDO Commissioning Board