People, Health and Communities Research Group

Supporting people to live their best lives as they age, and as they experience complex and disabling physical and mental health conditions through more equitable communities and services

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Improving health and wellbeing requires sustained evidence-based action to tackle the plethora of challenges currently seen in many communities across the globe. Such action depends upon the active engagement of researchers with people and their communities to understand the complexity of everyday lives and diversity of personal experiences of negotiating health and care in service and community settings. Co-creation and co-production of effective, evidence-based solutions are needed to ameliorate emergent health and wellbeing concerns, and to reduce the marginalisation of seldom heard populations and social and health inequities.  

The People Health and Communities (PHC) Research Group undertakes world-leading research to: 

  • understand the complex intersections between people, their communities and how these create and perpetuate marginalisation, social and health inequities.
  • understand what matters to diverse people and their communities regarding health and wellbeing in everyday life, and when using health and social care services and setting. 
  • investigate what works and what fails to work in which contexts and for whom through plural approaches to understanding what influences health outcomes.
  • make a positive difference by addressing what matters to people and communities by improving the experience of health and care and providing evidence for innovative solutions to reduce marginalisation, social and health inequities.
  • ensure that our research informs teaching in health sciences and nursing research and practice.
  • work collaboratively in knowledge translation to co-create and co-produce information to inform policy and practice. 
people in a room  looking at each other

Vision 

We aim to transform the lives of people in communities and in health and care settings through trans/inter-disciplinary research to:  

  • understand how the experience of health and care affects everyday life in local, national and global contexts.
  • examine how people living with long-term physical and mental health conditions and/or disabilities can be supported to cope with the physical, psychological and social consequences of poor health through improved prevention, interventions, rehabilitation, care delivery and management pathways.
  • improve the lives of older people through the co-production of applied knowledge in everyday, service and community contexts.  
  • embed our research in teaching.
  • translate knowledge into policy and practice to address social marginalisation and reduce social and health inequities. 

We have particular expertise in understanding the psychosocial, cultural and environmental factors that influence health and social participation in society, and in leading developments in technologies that improve people’s care experience and outcomes and enhance interventions provided by health and care professionals.  

    An elderly person in an exercise class

    We do this by:

    • conducting world-class health and related research to inform policy and practice
    • collaborating with our partners across the globe
    • working in transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary ways across disciplines, sectors and ideational boundaries
    • using a plurality of research methodologies and methods including: 
      • creative methods (including storytelling, animations and photo, image and video capture) 
      • modern psychometric techniques  
      • written, verbal and visual qualitative methods 
      • systematic review approaches including meta-analyses, meta-syntheses, and realist reviews and syntheses 
    • mixing and/or combining multiple research methods to capture complexity and diversity
    • using participatory approaches, where appropriate, to place stakeholders (including person, family and community) at the centre of research activities
    • applying innovative information and technological approaches
    • engaging plural theoretical frameworks and models
    • conducting research involving peoples’ everyday lives and how they intersect in health and social care settings 
    • studying the effects of changing health and care practitioner behaviours on social and health care outcomes 
    • engaging with key stakeholders to increase the two-way flow of knowledge and insight to enable effective knowledge translation and mobilisation including health and social care and policy sectors
    • supervising postgraduate students
    • maximising the benefits we generate for and with the public to ensure our social responsibility 
    • delivering engaged teaching activities that enhance students’ engagement skills and benefit our communities
    • developing a sustainable, high quality and vibrant research environment
    • undertaking consultancy, training and the provision of world-leading education
    A young person walking with a walking stick

    Our national and international partners 

    Our extensive networks and academic and cross-sectoral partnerships ensure that we maintain a focus on applied problems that matter to policy makers, practitioners, people who use health and social care services, community residents and wider society.

    Research expertise 

    Our work is concentrated in 4 areas of expertise.

    PHC Lead

    Members

    Post-doctoral researchers 

    Associate members  

    Postgraduate 

    Our postgraduate students are involved in all aspects of the PHC research group. To ensure their development as academics, postgraduate students are given opportunities to lead on some PHC initiatives and to shadow our researchers in PHC organizational roles.

    Main funders

    • NIHR
    • CSO, ESRC
    • Scottish Government
    • SUII