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50th anniversary
  • Celebrations begin to commemorate 50 years of the University of Dundee

    2017
  • The University of Dundee becomes a fully independent institution under the terms of the Royal Charter.

    1967
  • Ordinances issued in 1897 made University College form part of St Andrews. and establish a Faculty of Medicine.

    1897
  • The Deed formally creating University College Dundee was signed by founders Miss Mary Ann Baxter and her cousin Dr John Boyd Baxter.

    1881

Healthcare and Community

  • date

    Fri, 14 Apr 2017

  • Running Time

    00:05:11

Dundee is very fortunate to benefit from a world-class attitude to research and development within healthcare through the often groundbreaking work of the University of Dundee.

Episode Transcript

I’m Janice Aitken and welcome to the University of Dundee and our weekly look at the moments in history – both of the institution and the city – that have created the vibrant, dynamic place that we’re now part of. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University's independence, we examine the people, discoveries and decisions that have brought us to 2017 as Scotland’s University of the Year and one of the world’s Top 200 universities, delivering teaching and research that is helping to transform lives across society and throughout the world. In the years to come we have ambitions to be the leading University in Scotland in everything we do. 

Stretching back to early efforts made in the mills to improve the health of workers before that was an accepted part of the industry, Dundee has long since had a keen interest in the health of its people.

A great example of this is the work done over the years in The University of Dundee’s Community Dentistry. The Dental Health Services Research Unit works with people and their communities who experience social exclusion to adopt positive attitudes to their oral health. The team endeavour to understand people’s problems from their perspective in order to support health improvements.  The Smile4life project works closely with people who are homeless. Research carried out shows a strong link between poor oral health and experiences of depression. This is often a result of difficult living conditions, barriers to preventative care and visits to dentists or perhaps as a result of addictions. Following this research, tools such as a training guide and intervention techniques have been created for the use of staff in the homelessness sector. The thinking is that if people feel better about how they look, they go on to take better care of themselves and are empowered to make positive changes to their lives.

DHSRU also works in socially deprived areas to encourage parents to take their children for dental check ups. One such study was funded by the Scottish Government’s Childsmile Programme and aims to give extra support to families to access dental care for their children. In collaboration with DJCAD, a toolkit was developed which uses various resources to identify challenges and solutions to oral health concerns.

Looking further afield, the University of Dundee is involved in many international initiatives in health. One far-reaching example is The Child Health, International Partnership Programme, which supports and develops education and training for overseas paediatricians and offers opportunities that are not available in the paediatrician’s home institution. This programme is sponsored by the Buist Trust and is directed by Child Health, the Medical School, College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing at the University of Dundee.

The director of Dundee University’s Mother and Infant Research Unit is Professor Mary Renfrew who has a national and international profile in research and leadership and has led collaborations with bodies including the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. The MIRU recognizes the need to attend to meeting the needs of child-bearing women, their babies and their wider families across the world. To do this, they are carrying out cutting edge research and insuring that practitioners in the field are supported and trained. The MIRU believes that their recommendations will have a huge, positive impact on areas such as infant and maternal mortality rates.

Looking still at the world of babies, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, a research scientist, was based in the at the University of Dundee since 1993. Dr Zeedyk’s main focus is on babies’ innate capacity to connect with the humans around them. In 2011, Dr Zeedyk established an independent training programme which strives to help people understand the importance of emotional connection for health and well-being. She works with organisations and parents all over the world who want to understand the science behind brain development and use that to create compassion and connection.

Dundee is very fortunate to benefit from a world-class attitude to research and development within healthcare through the often groundbreaking work of the University of Dundee. 

Tune in next week for another podcast from the series, subscribe to I-tunes to get the podcast delivered to your inbox and check out the website – www.dundee.ac.uk/50 for extra material

Janice Aitken

Janic Aitken

Janice Aitken is a Senior Lecturer and artist who has worked in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design since 2003. She currently teaches in Contemporary Art Practice and is Associate Dean for Quality and Academic Standards

She graduated from DJCAD in 1984 having studied Fine Art, Drawing and Painting. Since then she has been engaged in exhibiting, facilitating community projects, public art, gallery engagement education and scientific visualisation. She regularly collaborates with colleagues from across the University of Dundee including CAHID, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Education and Social Work. Working in a variety of media including photography, painting, animation and digital film and interactive media, Aitken’s work has been exhibited in the National Gallery of Scotland, the Science Museum, London, the Bachaus, Eisenach, Germany as well as more local venues such as the McManus Galleries and the University of Dundee School of Life Sciences. She has also contributed to internationally broadcast TV documentaries ‘The King in the Car Park’ and Cleopatra, Portrait of a Killer’.

Aitken is a trustee of several organisations including the DOJ Centenary Trust, Dundee Women’s Aid, Tin Roof Artist’s Collective and is a Director of The Centre for Transformative Change: Educational and Life Transitions (TCELT).

In her role as Associate Dean, she is responsible for ensuring that the quality of taught provision in DJCAD is of the very highest standards and is reviewed regularly and effectively. She is also a member of the School Executive Group, University Senate and Court.

All podcasts

  • Celebrations begin to commemorate 50 years of the University of Dundee

    2017
  • The University of Dundee becomes a fully independent institution under the terms of the Royal Charter.

    1967
  • Ordinances issued in 1897 made University College form part of St Andrews. and establish a Faculty of Medicine.

    1897
  • The Deed formally creating University College Dundee was signed by founders Miss Mary Ann Baxter and her cousin Dr John Boyd Baxter.

    1881
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