All posts by pearcej1

Come and join the CRESH team!

We are currently recruiting a Postdoctoral Researcher in the field of ‘Environment and Health’ for 20 months to contribute to an interdisciplinary ESRC funded study entitled ‘Lifecourse of Place: how environments throughout life can support healthy ageing’. In this role, you will work under the supervision of Professor Jamie Pearce and Professor Niamh Shortt (School of GeoSciences), as well as collaborate with colleagues in Psychology in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (Professor Ian Deary and Dr Simon Cox) and Edinburgh College of Art (Professor Catharine Ward Thompson).

The successful candidate will play a lead role in utilising environmental datasets and the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 to explore how different environments over the lifecourse influence healthy ageing. The focus of this role will be to conduct longitudinal data analysis, contribute to final publications and help to accelerate the impact of the research. You will be a self-motivated individual with the ability to take responsibility for key components of the research plan. There are opportunities to shape the details of the research agenda.

Based at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh you will join the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH).

For further details click here.

Informal enquiries to Prof Jamie Pearce (jamie.pearce@ed.ac.uk), Prof Niamh Shortt (niamh.shortt@ed.ac.uk)

New journal: Wellbeing, Space & Society

CRESH co-Director Jamie Pearce who is co-editing a new journal focused on the role of place in understanding human health and wellbeing along with Susan Elliott who is a Professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada.The journal, named Wellbeing, Space & Society, is an interdisciplinary journal concerned with the difference that space, place and location make to wellbeing. It welcomes submissions that are theoretically informed, empirically supported, of interest to an international readership, address a problem of interest to society, and illustrate the links (potential or theorized) between (aspects of) society and space and wellbeing. We publish papers from a range of social science disciplines – geography, sociology, social psychology, social epidemiology, economics, anthropology, political science, amongst others.

The editors are particularly interested in the policy implications of the research, including work informed by policy analysis. Methodological plurality and innovation are encouraged; interpretation of wellbeing in this context may be subjective or objective, eudonic or hedonic, and may also be at the individual and/or community levels. But they are particularly interested in the wellbeing of places – how is that conceptualized, theorized, operationalised and translated?

For more information please contact Jamie Pearce

Two Postdoctoral Researchers (Health & Environment)

We are currently seeking to recruit two Postdoctoral Researchers (Health & Environment) to join the CRESH team at the University of Edinburgh and contribute to two studies on the geography of unhealthy commodities.

The first position is part of the UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) Consortium – SPECTRUM (Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To Reduce ineqUalities and harm). SPECTRUM has an ambitious programme of research, knowledge exchange and public engagement focusing on the commercial determinants of health relating to tobacco, alcohol and food.

The second role will contribute to an ESRC funded project ‘Change in alcohol and tobacco availability, population health and the lived experience’ which will measure change in the availability of alcohol and tobacco in Scottish neighbourhoods over time and explore how this change relates to health outcomes and how residents experience the availability of alcohol and tobacco in their neighbourhoods.

Closing date for both positions is 16th October 2019.

Please get in touch with Professor Jamie Pearce or Professor Niamh Shortt to discuss either role: Jamie.Pearce@ed.ac.uk Niamh.Shortt@ed.ac.uk

https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BVI122/postdoctoral-researcher-health-and-environment-tobacco-and-alcohol

https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BVI153/postdoctoral-researcher-health-and-environment

Liveable urban environments: an opportunity or threat to reducing health inequities?

Creating ‘liveable’ urban environments is seen as an important way of improving the health and wellbeing of the residents in our towns and cities. Yet it is not clear whether the focus amongst planners and other policymakers on fashioning liveability is an opportunity – or threat – to reducing health inequities. On the one hand improving the resources and infrastructure in local communities might benefit everyone but particularly those who are most dependent on what is close by. On the other hand, it is possible that if liveability interventions are poorly or unevenly implemented, or inappropriate to the particular needs of the local population, then health inequities may widen. This issue was the focus of our new research recently published in Social Science & Medicine where we found evidence that some aspects of liveability have reduced inequities, whereas other aspects have not led to a reduction, or in some cases even increased, health inequities.

The notion of liveability has been around for a long while and is underpinned by the United Nation’s New Urban Agenda. The aim is to ensure equitable delivery of sustainable urban development – including local infrastructure and services, and housing amongst many other urban features – and to improve the living social and physical conditions for urban dwellers, including their health. Given these important and laudable goals it is perhaps surprising that so few studies have looked at what effects liveability has on health inequities. Health inequities continue to increase across many countries, including the UK and Australia; identifying what works in the long-term to reduce health inequities remains a policy priority for many national governments and international agencies.

In our new work we examined the international evidence to see when and where urban liveability might pose an opportunity or threat to reducing health inequities. We looked across a series of urban liveability features (education; employment; food, alcohol, and tobacco; green space; housing; transport; and walkability) and asked whether intervening on these aspects of place can serve to widen or narrow inequities.

Our findings show that the urban liveability agenda offers opportunities to help address health inequities but the effects differ from place to place. It was also clear that we need to keep in mind that urban liveability is just one part of a much broader urban system; whilst improving aspects of urban liveability can improve the health for some populations in a local area, it may not be the case for others. In some cases, the health benefits of urban liveability are restricted to specific (and sometimes more prosperous) communities. In fact, in more extreme cases urban liveability interventions can result in local people being pushed out of their community (e.g. through associated hikes in rental prices), with negative implications for their health and wellbeing.

We believe that the findings from this research include some important messages for policymakers and urban planners tasked with identifying ways to improve people’s health and reduce health inequities. Designing our neighbourhoods to become more liveable offers some significant opportunities to enhance health. However, it is also apparent liveability interventions need to be implemented in ways that meet the needs of all population groups living in the area, including the most vulnerable. As researchers, it is important that we continue to monitor the impact of liveability interventions on inequities and seek a better understanding of how these issue relate to the wider urban and social systems affecting our health.

Hannah Badland & Jamie Pearce

CRESH seminar – Bombarded by Booze

Title: Bombarded by Booze: Children’s real-time exposure to alcohol marketing using wearable cameras and GPS devices

Presenter: Professor Louise Signal, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

Description: This presentation highlights innovative New Zealand research with children using wearable cameras and GPS devices to capture the extent and nature of their exposure to alcohol marketing.

When: Thursday 31st January, 11-12

Where: Lister Learning and Teaching Centre – 2.14 – Teaching Studio, 5 Roxburgh Pl, Edinburgh EH8 9SU

New evidence linking availability of tobacco & smoking

The connection between the local availability of tobacco products and smoking behaviour has been underlined in new research from the CRESH team this week. Published in the journal Tobacco Control, we show how moving into an area of Scotland where tobacco products are more readily available can significantly increase the risk of smoking while pregnant. We estimate that a pregnant woman living in an area with the highest tobacco availability is 70% more likely to smoke than when she was living in an area with the lowest availability of tobacco products.

Why is this important? Firstly, smoking during pregnancy is a vital Public Health issue and is recognised as a key priority area for UK health policy. It is harmful for both the mother and the developing fetus and the effects for social and health outcomes can persist into childhood and adulthood. Since smoking is so strongly associated with poverty and deprivation, it also has an important role to play in the persistence of health inequalities across generations.

But there are other reasons why the research is important. Much of what we know, including previous research from CRESH, is based on information from a single point in time. While these studies are crucial in establishing the strength of associations, they are less useful for determining mechanisms. A key question that remains is whether high availability is the cause of smoking behaviour or whether retailers preferentially locate in areas of high demand. Both pathways are plausible but both carry very different conclusions and policy recommendations. Our latest research is able to address this question using information on smoking during pregnancy which is collected routinely as part of Scotland’s hospital maternity records. By looking at multiple pregnancies to the same individual, we were able to relate changes in smoking behaviour between pregnancies to changes in exposure to tobacco retailers from residential moves. This approach provides strong evidence that availability is causally linked to behaviour.

The policy implications are clear. As more and more countries move towards a “Tobacco Endgame” policy this, and other research, highlights how a focus on tackling the local availability of tobacco products will be crucial. In a week where the UK government has suggested that preventing poor health lies with “people choosing to look after themselves better, staying active and stopping smoking” our findings are a timely reminder of the importance of considering the wider set of structural factors that shape our health of which our residential environment is one important component.

CRESH are recruiting a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher (Health Population and Demography)

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Applications are invited for an Early Stage Researcher position funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “LONGPOP (Methodologies and Data mining techniques for the analysis of Big Data based on Longitudinal Population and Epidemiological Registers)” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. LONGPOP is a consortium of universities, research institutions and companies located in Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland, The successful applicant will join a network of 14 Early Stage Researchers who are already embedded in the consortium. This is a high-profile position that offers exceptional benefits ideally suited for top graduates.

This position is based in the Centre for Research on Environment Society & Health and Longitudinal Studies Centre Scotland, School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. You will join a broad, dynamic research team with interests in population health, demography and human geography. You will be expected to work with other investigators of the network, both in Edinburgh and at the other LONGPOP network institutions.

The post is available as soon as possible and is fixed term until 31st January 2020.

Closing date: 22-May-2018

Further details: here and here