New collaboration to tackle Scotland's poor health record
posted on: Aug 8, 2008
A new initiative which aims to come up with fresh strategies to tackle Scotland's poor health record has been launched in Edinburgh.
The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy has been formed in response to the need to bring together the best minds in public health to tackle alcohol abuse and violence, and the looming epidemic of obesity complications, the biggest health problems Scotland faces now and in the future. The Collaboration's initial challenge is to identify opportunities for public health intervention research, then to devise and test innovative ideas to enable public health policy and programmes to be developed that are designed specifically for the Scottish population.
Professor John Frank, the scientist recruited to head the Collaboration, explained: "You can't tackle the impending obesity pandemic simply by classifying a third of the child population as patients. The solution is to change the culture. Unfortunately, we can't simply go to the bookshelf and find a recipe that might work for Scotland. We need to come up with home grown and home tested solutions."
He continued: "Many public health problems are biologically reversible, and that's the best reason I can think of for getting involved. I believe that the Collaboration will soon be ready to work with researchers and policy-makers across the country, to bring the best minds available to the problem, and that's got to be a good thing."
Professor Frank will hold a chair in public health at the University of Edinburgh, and will be based at the Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit in the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine. Funding will be provided by the Medical Research Council and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates, and the Collaboration has a budget of £3.5 million for the first five years.
The Social and Public Health Sciences Unit is part of the Collaboration and we look forward to working with Professor Frank.