Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Book Review: The Health of People: How the Social Sciences Can Improve Population Health

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Book Review: The Health of People: How the Social Sciences Can Improve Population Health

Article excerpt

This unique report was launched on 5 April 2017 at the headquarters of Nesta (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) in London. The Chair of National Health Service (NHS) England Sir Malcolm Grant, who wrote the Foreword, also gave the keynote address at the launch. For public health professionals, the focus of the report is the important role social sciences have in understanding and helping to change the environments, policies, practices and behaviours that influence health. The Health of People project was led by the Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London, Prof. Susan Michie. Unsurprisingly, behaviour change is a recurring motif through the book, alongside practical approaches to improving data for the reorganisation of health systems and improved planning or capacity-building. Supported through the Academy of Social Sciences, three Roundtable events and a score of individuals responding to a 'Call for Evidence', a multi-disciplinary Working Group and Review Panel published 13 recommendations. The two recommendations that I value most in relation to academic public health are as follows:

A review of research infrastructure could establish a number of 'implementation laboratories' to evaluate developments for both the health service and the local government;

Capacity-building should include growing greater numbers of people 'who can ally high-level data and informatics skills with substantive knowledge of health research'. …

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