Protecting the Public’s Health
This research area covers important contemporary aspects of health and wellbeing, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This is an interdisciplinary group, including public health scientists, radiographers, medical physicists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, exercise and health scientists, psychologists and sociologists. Our research spans specific health issues (e.g. breast imaging, behaviour change, physical activity, alcohol misuse) within different settings (particularly workplaces, schools or communities) using a range of intervention and evaluation methods (e.g. making use of digital/technology; optimisation in medical imaging). On the prevention side, we specialise in applying and evaluating evidence-based health practice aimed at improving health (e.g. through diagnostic imaging) and health related behaviour (e.g. reducing alcohol consumption or smoking). Informed by the evidence base our research group designs, develops and evaluates a broad range of contemporary health interventions. Our treatment focus includes improving health outcomes for those who have been made, or become ill, for example through work, alcohol or smoking.
Our research is organised into the following themes:
- Breast Imaging in Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Populations – Concentrates on the optimisation of the breast imaging process. This takes into account the many factors involved in breast imaging, from the technical aspects, the acquisition process and the staff and patient experience. The research focusses on practical issues faced in the clinical environment, such as compression force variability, improving the positioning technique, measuring the impact of acquisition factors on the image quality and dose.
- Digital Public Health – Digital health is a growing area to support people to maintain or improve their health and well-being. Our research area’s approach to digital health looks at exploring how aspects of this can be used to support research (e.g. accurate measurement, versatile data collection, support evaluation of interventions, social media linked aspects) and/or support people’s health and wellbeing (e.g. around physical activity). Work in this theme includes the design and evaluation of digital applications (apps) for tracking of health and behaviour, consideration of the ethical implications of digital data collection; use of innovative participatory approaches to digital data collection and evaluation of the use of social media for health information and support. We also explore how we can use mixed methods to support data collection from social media, for example to allow us to understand and make recommendations around the dissemination of new public health research with a view to increasing impact.
- Industrial Epidemics: Tobacco and Alcohol – An epidemic associated with the commercialisation of a dangerous product is known as an ‘industrial epidemic’. This theme covers the impacts of the consumption of commercial products, with a focus on alcohol and tobacco. We have expertise in evaluating community-based interventions to address alcohol harm, and a strong track record in research on the consequences of alcohol consumption during pregnancy (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, FASD). The work under this theme funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the Medical Research Council, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council and Salford City Council.
- Optimisation in Medical Imaging – Optimisation in medical imaging is a complex task that requires a balance of the risk and benefit of the process. This involves technical and physical aspects, as well as patient care and staff experience, and has strong links into the development of teaching and learning across our postgraduate and undergraduate teaching programmes. We are a multidisciplinary group, working across many imaging modalities and specialisms, the main areas are image quality assessment using physical, psychophysical and psychometric techniques, and radiation risk assessment using direct measurement and modelling techniques.