The Department of Public Health and Primary Care is one of Europe’s leading academic departments of population health sciences, top-ranked in Epidemiology and Public Health among 21 universities in the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2001-2008.
It has been headed by Professor John Danesh since 2001. DPHPC comprises ≈300 staff and graduate students, including 8 professors and about a dozen other senior academic staff. Groups in the Department are underpinned by major programme grants, such as those from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the UK National Institute of Health Research, the European Union, the US National Institutes of Health, industrial partnerships and several other sources. Examples of major developments in recent years have included:
- Major expansion of a Centre for Genetic Epidemiology since 2003
- Establishment of a MRC Centre for Nutritional Epidemiology in 2006
- Partnership in the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) from 2008
- Establishment of a new MPhil course in Public Health in 2006, and a new BHF 4-year PhD programme in 2009
- Establishment of major research initiatives in global health, including partnership in the Public Health Foundation of India-UK Consortium from 2009
- Establishment of a new Policy and Behaviour Research Unit from 2010.
The Department’s overall research objective is to generate scientific evidence that will inform the prevention of premature death and disability, the promotion of health, and provide evidence-based health policy. There is a particular focus on common chronic conditions such as common cancers, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoporosis, and metabolic diseases. Key strategies involve establishing large-scale population resources to enable investigation of the separate and combined influences of genetic and lifestyle factors in chronic diseases. The goal is to translate this evidence into the development and evaluation of preventative interventions.