From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

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Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health


Health inequalities remain constant or are increasing and it is unclear how to reduce them. We propose to improve methods for analysing routinely collected health data and population-based studies and to use novel linkages to social data, aiming to improve our understandings of inequalities in health and improve intervention strategies. The programme is organised into three themes: Health inequalities and linked data analysis; Natural experiments from observational data; and Enhancing cohort, survey and routine data sources. We benefit from our location in Scotland with its outstanding systems of linked routine health data, and our research team is recognised internationally for expertise in the analysis of these data and for methodological rigour and innovation. Our longer-term vision is to develop our reputation internationally as a centre of excellence for the study of inequalities in health using routine data.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this programme is to improve the methodology for the measurement and analysis of health and inequalities in health using observational data with particular emphasis on improving our understanding of causes and informing strategies for intervention. Our objectives and associated research questions are:

1. To improve population health outcomes through conduct and translation of research based on the evaluation of policy or large-scale intervention.

  • How do different policies and interventions impact on health and health inequalities?
  • How can we improve the use made of observational data in general, and for the evaluation of natural experiments in particular?

2. To maximise the use of existing routine, linked and population-sampled data sources and, in so doing, enhance the return on the investment made in these resources.

  • How do we combine data sources to increase their power (surveys and cohorts) and utility (routine data) to improve our understanding of population health?
  • How do we harness the potential of these data to examine the influence of small clusters and to analyse rare outcomes?

3. To inform intervention strategy through research enhancing our understanding of health, inequalities in health and the determinants of health.

  • How do the different levels of the socio-ecological framework contribute to health and health inequalities?
  • How do health and health inequalities develop across the lifecourse and how influential are the different transitions?

4. To build capacity in the measurement and analysis of inequalities in health using observational data.

For more information, please contact Alastair Leyland.