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Making every contact count: Health Professionals impact on health promotion in Scottish practice

Project Description

Average life expectancy in Scotland remains lower than the other countries of the UK and Western Europe as a result the Scottish Government(2018) has identified 6 Public Health Priorities which include the impact of lifestyle. The term lifestyle pertains to an individual’s personal way of living. It comprises of engagement within a range of daily life activities that are in line with individual needs and sociocultural norms (Velde and Fidler, 2002). Furthermore, Fidler (1996) describes lifestyle: as indivdiduals developing a configuration of activity patterns: these patterns of doing, of being engaged, emerge through the interplay of a person’s intrinsic needs, desires, and capacities, and unique expectations of the environmental context of the person’s living. The UK Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team (2011) advocated for change in health behaviour through the manipulation of environmental cues. Such lifestyle interventions are key for all allied health professions these are multicomponents, focusing on the promotion of a healthy lifestyle through dietary education, social engagement, physical exercise and behavioural modification (Basel, 2007). The announcement of the establishement of a National Academy for Social Presecribing highlights on the 24th October is evidence of the wish to mpact on improving lifestyles for all.

This research project builds on a previous MSc study (White 2018) that examined lifestyle intervention for individuals with severe mental illness and obesity. This study will be larger in scope and will examine current Scottish practice of occupational therapists and physiotherapists engagement in health promoting conversations leading to lifestyle changes within the population. Making Every Contact Count (MECC) recognises the opportunities practitioners have to improve public health through supporting behaviour in clients with whom they work with (Public Health England, 2016). Actions to change behaviour can be delivered at an individual, familial, community, or population level. The actions will produce observable, social, cultural and economic patterns than can limit or enable individuals participation in activities (NICE, 2015). In the context of the current study, behaviour change is discussed in relation to behaviours that may damage individuals’ health.This initiative supports the use of lifestyle intervention to motivate clients and reward healthy lifestyle choices and behaviours in their interactions with helath professionals. This study will establish how and in what ways practitioners are addressing health behaviours and lifestyle changes. It is envisages the a national survey with supportive qualitative data collection would be undertaken. The precise focus of the phd and data analysis will be for the successful candidate to determine in conversation with the supervisors. Dr McKay has experience of a range of research methods including survey and qualitiative methods Dr Hislop has expertise in physical activity and Dr Atherton has skill with large data sets.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy with a good fundamental knowledge of health promotion, lifestyle interventions, health and well being.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential Attributes
• Experience of fundamental public health and health promotion: policy and practice
• Competent in lifestyle interventions , excel, survey methods
• Knowledge of well being, realistic medicine, health inequalities
• Good written and oral communication skills
• Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
• Good time management

Desirable attributes:
Good understanding of behavioral change theory and or specialist knowledge re physical activity,
obesity, smoking cessation.

Funding Notes

Self-Funded Students Only


Elliot, I. (2016) Poverty and mental health: A review to inform the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation’s anti-poverty strategy. London: Mental Health
Epstein L. and Ogden J. (2005) ‘A qualitative study of GPs’ views of treating
obesity’, British Journal of General Practice, 55, pp. 750-754.
Faulkner, G., Cohn, T. and Remington G. (2010) ‘Interventions to reduce
weight gain in schizophrenia’, The Cochrane Database of Systematic
Reviews, 1. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005148.pub2.
Fidler, G. S. (1996) ‘Lifestyle performance: From profile to conceptual
model’, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 50, pp. 139-147.
Hislop, J and Gray, S (2015) An exploration of physical activity experiences
of people wir Parkisnson’s Disease. WCPT Congress
Howson, C & McKay, E.A. (2019) This is the child I love’: Older Parents of
Adults with Learning Disabilities Perspectives on Caregiving and Quality of
Life. The History of the Family pp1-16. Published online 4th Oct.
Scootish Government (2018) Report on Scotland’s six public Helath
White, R (2018) Lifestyle interventions targeting obesity in mental health
settings in the United Kingdom. Brunel University Unpublished thesis

How good is research at Edinburgh Napier University in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 22.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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