Places & communities programme, Health inequalities theme
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Housing and health This is a Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES) project with the London Borough of Hackney on the effectiveness of their selective licensing scheme for privately rented housing in improving living conditions and mental wellbeing.
Health inequalities Contributing to an Equal England project (Workpackage 2) on intersectionality and health, which focuses on the experiences of young adults with multiple disadvantages.
Commercial determinants of health Developed a project on the use of framing by different stakeholders in the alcohol policy process to further develop my research interest in the commercial determinants of health.
Commercial determinants of health and health inequalities, and other more upstream factors that contribute to health and wellbeing.
Chiara is involved in the London Public Health & Housing Network, a network of public health practitioners at local authorities and academics interested in the intersection between housing and health. She has helped organise and facilitate a workshop on private rented sector licensing in March 2020.
What has been your career journey so far?
I have quite an interdisciplinary background. I did a Liberal Arts and Sciences undergraduate degree, majoring in psychology and global health, and an MSc in Health and Society – both in the Netherlands. During my studies, I co-founded a student consultancy firm where I co-led the process- and impact evaluation of a local health education programme for school-aged children. This was a participatory research project in close collaboration with local government and implementers. The experience of working in a research team and being involved in the design of a study from start to finish made me realise that research is something I want to pursue. Before applying for the NIHR SPHR Pre-doctoral fellowship I briefly worked at Maastricht University (the Netherlands) as a research assistant, where I contributed to the evaluation of a national “whole-of-society” initiative by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Why did you choose to do a pre-doctoral fellowship in public health research?
It seemed like the ideal position for me as it would give me the time to better understand what research topics and methods interest me most. I wanted to gain some additional research experience before embarking in my own research project.
What is your research focus?
I wouldn’t say I have a single research focus, but I am generally interested in the upstream determinants of health and health inequalities, including the social determinants of health (e.g. housing) and factors that affect how local and national governments make decisions about public health (e.g. commercial interests and resource limitations).
Why is it important?
It is now widely understood that public health is more than just genetics and individual behaviour. Understanding how factors that are seemingly not health-related contribute to health or disease is therefore of key importance if we want to improve population health and reduce health inequalities.
What are you looking forward to during your time with NIHR School for Public Health Research?
I am looking forward to developing new research skills, working on a variety of different projects and getting to know other researchers and fellows with similar interests to me.
What skills are you hoping to gain by the end?
My preferred research methods are qualitative research and systematic reviews, so I hope I will be able to become better at those both through experience and by doing specific training. I have already completed a course on the Photovoice methodology, for example. I also hope to improve my presentation skills and be able to effectively convey my research to an audience.
What do you hope to do after completing your fellowship?
I am using my fellowship to work towards writing my own PhD proposal, so hopefully I will be doing a PhD after this! I would like my PhD project to focus on how the public sector engages with the private sector and other societal stakeholders in their decision-making about public health.