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Exploring health literacy and public health messaging for disadvantaged perinatal women


   Applied Health Research Hub

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  Dr Victoria Moran, Prof Gill Thomson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team: Dr Victoria Hall Moran, Professor Gill Thomson

Contact: [Email Address Removed] 

Theme: Equitable Place Based Health and Care (EPBHC)

Lay Summary: ‘Health literacy’ relates to having the appropriate skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to access, understand, evaluate, use, and navigate health and social care information and services. The provision of clear and user-friendly information that is accessible for all is essential to increase the health literacy of the population. People with limited health literacy are more likely to have an unhealthy lifestyle and are less likely to use preventive services or successfully manage long-term health conditions. Some disadvantaged groups (such as those whose English is not the first language, asylum seekers, complex lifestyles, or who have a mental illness) report difficulties actively engaging with healthcare providers, navigating the healthcare system, finding or understanding health information and in having adequate support for health, due at least in part to low levels of health literacy. Women facing multiple disadvantages receive less care, face difficulties in accessing statutory appointments, have higher levels of perinatal mental ill-health and an increased risk of preterm and low birth weight (LBW) babies as well as perinatal death and infant mortality. These women often feel they have less agency and choices when making decisions about their health and maternity care.

Engaging members of disadvantaged communities in public health initiatives has been suggested to be a key method to reduce health inequities. The overall aim of this proposed MPhil programme of study is to explore health literacy and the perceived value and impact of public health messaging available to disadvantaged perinatal women in the North West Coast. It will consist of a rapid review and stakeholder (healthcare professionals and disadvantaged women/parents) consultations to identify which public health issues should be prioritised with disadvantaged groups, including the types of content and how these messages should be delivered.

Application Process: Completed application forms and a fully completed research proposal (not more than 1000 words excluding references) related to the title you are applying for should be returned to the Research Student Registry by email [Email Address Removed] quoting the appropriate studentship reference number (RS/21/18). Potential applicants must:

  • consult the HIAT www.hiat.org.uk and demonstrate consideration of the toolkit in their research proposal
  • discuss their research proposal with the appropriate Director of Studies (DoS) prior to application
  • state the title of the project(s) they are applying for, and the preferred mode of study (PhD via MPhil, or MPhil) where indicated on the application form.

Application forms received without this information will not be considered.


Funding Notes

Funding to support this project is available on an MPhil basis only. MRes may be considered, please contact the DoS to discuss further.
Should the MPhil route be taken, there may be an opportunity for the student to convert to PhD during the course of their study; to work with stakeholders to co-produce and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of co-designed public health messaging designed for disadvantaged populations. The supervisory team, UCLan, and the NIHR ARC NWC, will explore additional funding provision opportunities for the successful candidate – subject to satisfactory progression.
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