The NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) has funded five Impact Accelerator Awards (IAAs) in 2023. These follow the success of the first IAAs that were awarded in 2022. These awards are designed to maximise the impact of SPHR projects and enable them to reach their full potential, such as through further dissemination and supporting the translation of research into policy changes. Awarded projects span the SPHR portfolio from 2012 onwards, with activities including the development of digital resources such as infographics and videos; establishing local and national policy networks; hosting engagement events; and developing comprehensive “How To” guides.
Find out more about the funded projects below
Supporting conversations between parents and children in substance exposed families: the Safe Space children’s book
SPHR researchers examined the needs of families exposed to parental substance use and found that caregivers were concerned about the impact of parental substance use upon the child and family, however, parents/caregivers often found it difficult to have a conversation about this with the child.
This award will be used to co-produce a freely available children’s picture book about substance use. The book will support parents/caregivers to have a conversation with their child about parental substance use and the child’s feelings about this. Additionally, it will provide a novel means of communicating research findings to different audiences.
Using systems maps of child health inequalities in practice
Systems thinking addresses poor health outcomes as the result of a complex web of interdependent factors that work together as a system. For children, the focus of systems approaches has been on single outcomes e.g. obesity, rather than addressing the broad range of inequalities in health outcomes.
This award will be used to develop an interactive web resource, and associated teaching and workshop materials, to support the use in practice of a conceptual systems map created in the SPHR project “Mapping the determinants of child health at a local level”.
A co-created refinement of the First Dental Steps intervention implementation to make it more culturally inclusive for communities at higher risk of childhood dental caries
In England, nearly a quarter (23.4%) of 5-year old children experience dental decay which varies greatly by area and ethnicity. The highest prevalence of dental decay among 5-year-olds was seen among those who identify as ‘Other ethnic group’ and ‘Asian/Asian British’, with 44.3% and 36.9%, respectively. While the lowest prevalence was seen in the ‘White’ ethnic group (20.6%), however, large differences exist among the ‘white’ group. For instance, traveller communities experience a prevalence of nearly 60% compared to the lowest prevalence (14%) seen in the Irish group. SPHR researchers evaluated the First Dental Steps (FDS) intervention. This FDS intervention consists of providing oral health training for health visiting teams that work with families with children under 5 years old, preparing them to provide these families with evidence-based guidance on oral health and hygiene, dental check-ups, and signposting to dental services.
This award will be used to update the FDS with the research findings, increasing its impact by tailoring the intervention to suit the needs of different communities that are at a greater risk of dental caries, such as traveller communities, asylum seekers and refugees, minority ethnic groups such as Asian/Asian British, or families engaging with Family Nurse Partnership.
Refining, piloting and promoting a loneliness reduction toolkit
The diversity of the English population continues to grow in terms of both the range of ethnic identities and the proportion of the population identifying as non-White British, which was around 20% in the 2011 census. Net migration reached its highest recorded levels in the UK in 2015, and around 13% of the registered population of England in the 2011 census were born outside the UK. Currently there is limited public health intervention and health inequalities research exploring race, ethnicity and migration. Public health evidence and practice should reflect the needs of this diverse population. This project’s goal was to begin to redress the marginalisation of race/ethnicity and migration within public health intervention and health inequalities research in England.
Researchers will use this award to enhance the utility and uptake of an already-developed loneliness reduction ‘toolkit’ (suite of resources). The aim is to:
- shift understandings among public health practitioners of the nature and causes of loneliness among migrant and ethnic minority people,
- improve the design and delivery of strategies and programmes aimed at reducing loneliness so that they better meet the needs of these groups,
- enhance the reach, experiences and outcomes for people accessing such initiatives, and
- develop a community of practice, where learning about the effectiveness of loneliness interventions in these groups is shared.
Revising the Peer Education Project to create an open-access model
Responding to the need to support young people’s mental health, the Mental Health Foundation’s Peer Education Programme (PEP) provides a potentially effective way of improving young people’s understanding of their own mental health at a critical developmental stage using a peer teaching method. Early evaluations of the PEP have produced encouraging findings which we are proposing to build on. SPHR researchers evaluated the PEP and explored factors associated with successful implementation, including the ease with which it is embedded into school life, and the level of engagement achieved.
This award will be used to update the PEP to incorporate the researchers finding and change it into an open-access model revised. This will widen the opportunity for more schools to take part and more students to engage with evidence-based mental health literacy resources.