Public Health, Wellbeing and Inequalities: Identifying Local Authority Staff Educational Needs

Dr Richard Cooper, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, tells us about his project within the School of Health and Related Research.

The links between the University of Sheffield and key organisations in the area like local councils are very important. In ScHARR, a key activity involves public health – both in teaching and also research.

We are starting a project linked to Master of Public Health students’ dissertations to explore how the university can best help different staff working in local councils, specifically in relation to their educational needs for public health skills. This is all the more important because since 2013 the delivery of public health in England has moved from NHS to local authority control, with important changes in how staff with different skills now work together.
A specific aim is also to identify council activities linked to reducing health inequalities in the local population and it is hoped that through conducting a qualitative methods project with interviews and focus groups with staff, that case studies and examples can be identified. A key further aim of the project is to then use these case studies in teaching, and to also identify relevant staff who would attend annual meetings into the future to provide guidance of curriculum development in public health teaching. Students on this project are also going to use video diaries to document their progress in undertaking a dissertation, and this will be made available to future students, to give them initial insights into the trajectory of post-graduate independent dissertation projects.
A further update on project progress will be provided in the summer months.

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