Using big data to accelerate design and delivery of nature-based interventions for older adults with multimorbidity.
Are you interested in mental health, physical health and the environment?
Do you want to work at the leading edge of environmental and population science?
Do you want to undertake a Doctoral training programme in a rich interdisciplinary environment at one the UK’s leading centres for applied mental health research?
There is now an emerging policy consensus that novel prevention strategies are critical to reengineering the way we improve mental health and tackle isolation and loneliness among older adults. This is likely to be achieved by developing population health strategies that blend intelligence about the wider determinants of ill-health with the development and implementation of placed-based and asset-based interventions, with a focus on improving mental and physical health together. The use of natural environment – green and blue space – to promote mental and physical health is a candidate solution to the challenges of population health in the 21st century. Critically, the creation of age friendly environments that afford opportunities for older adults to engage in purposeful outdoor activity has the potential to improve mental health and delay the onset of frailty in older adults.
This PhD project will investigate the link between the environment and mental health. You will build a data platform that will facilitate analysis of how environmental exposures (e.g. proximity to green and blue space; air quality) impact on the mental and physical health of older adults. You will use advanced data linkage to combine rich existing health data sets (curated older adult cohorts, with rich phenotypes) with high resolution open source environmental datasets. Additionally there may be scope to use evidence synthesis to generate research hypotheses about the relationship between environmental exposures and mental and physical health. The methods you will include spatial cohort analyses and quantitative and/or qualitative evidence synthesis.
This PhD studentship will be embedded within Yorkshire and Humberside Applied Research Collaboration (YH-ARC). You will be part of an exciting £18M programme of research based in the health-knowledge economy of Yorkshire and Humberside (population 6.2M) which runs between 2019-24,
the PhD studentship will span two themes of the YH-ARC:
1. Mental and physical multimorbidity, led by Professor Simon Gilbody https://www.york.ac.uk/healthsciences/our-staff/simon-gilbody/
& Dr Peter Coventry https://www.york.ac.uk/healthsciences/our-staff/peter-coventry/
(University of York). This theme aims to address complexities that arise from coexisting mental and physical health problems. Specifically it will link to projects with a focus on the evaluation of asset-based greenspace interventions for groups at heightened risk of mental and physical health problems, such as older adults.
2. Older People with Frailty, led by Professor Andrew Clegg (University of Leeds). This theme aims to improve physical and mental health of older people living with frailty, including care home residents, and generate major health and care efficiency savings. A major focus of work will be the co-production and testing of prioritized interventions.
Interwoven with the first year of the Doctoral programme will be the opportunity to enhance your knowledge and skills by via the advanced postgraduate training programme of the University of York Department of Health Sciences (judged the joint-leading UK centre for training in the 2015 REF for Applied Health Research) https://www.york.ac.uk/healthsciences/mphil-phd/
. Your training programme will be personalised to ensure the optimum mix of quantitative and qualitative skills, and will be formulated to match your needs at the commencement of the PhD.