Public mental health programme, Health inequalities theme
University College London (UCL)
Sexual and reproductive health (SRH), including strategies to prevent/reduce the burden of sexually transition infections (STIs) and evaluating the effectiveness of digital SRH services. Shivangi is also interested in research related to workplace wellbeing, particularly in organisations aimed at supporting people affected by domestic abuse
What has been your career journey so far?
I have been working in Local Government for 15 years, with the last 6 years in the City and Hackney Public Health team. My career to date has focused on driving change to address inequalities at a local level, from developing Hackney Council’s first LGBT Staff Forum in 2007, to designing the Council’s Equalities Impact Assessment process and to co-producing and implementing the Council’s first FGM prevention strategy. As part of my role, I commission and contract managing different public health services, including GP SRH service, Open Doors (supporting Sex Workers) and the IRIS Service. The last two years I have been focusing on SRH services and been involved in the implementation of Sexual Health London (STI e-service). In July 2020, I changed portfolios and now cover tobacco control and community development. Since being in the Public Health team, I completed a MSc in Global Public Health and Policy at Queen Mary, University of London and was a Teaching Assistant for the Health Inequalities and the Social Determinants of Health module in 2019. I am also a trustee of Ashiana Network, being the Chair between 2014 and 2016, and a Management Committee Board Member for over 10 years. This is a local voluntary organisation which aims to empower Black and Minority Ethnic women, particularly South Asian, Turkish and Middle Eastern women and girls, who are affected by gender-based violence.
Why did you choose to do a pre-doctoral fellowship in public health research?
As part of my Local Government role, I often examine existing research when developing business cases to commission new services/interventions, so I have often wondered what it would be like to be part of the research team conducting the studies. I also completed my Masters in 2018 and really missed being within the academic world. This Fellowship provides me with the opportunity to explore a research role within an academic setting and help determine if am ready to undertake a PhD, while still continuing my work in Hackney.
What is your research focus?
Through my Hackney role, I have focused on sexual and reproductive health. I am currently focused on conducting a systematic review on interventions aimed at chlamydia retesting and will be involved in conducting qualitative research to explore methods to overcome influential barriers to retesting among those previously diagnosed with chlamydia. I am also linked with the Public Mental Health programme and particularly interested in being involved in a Realist evaluation
Why is it important?
Sexual health is relevant to everyone, regardless of demographic/characteristics. The burden of STIs and unplanned pregnancies is huge! The negative consequences for individuals can be life changing and the economic cost to Local Authorities (and other commissioners) has been increasing.
What are you looking forward to during your time with NIHR School for Public Health Research?
Focusing on new development opportunities while working in a different sector. I am also looking forward to networking with other researchers and getting to know different stakeholders groups.
What skills are you hoping to gain by the end?
I am hoping to enhance my analytical and qualitative research skills, as well as improving my writing skills. There is an art to summarising documents which I would love to perfect!
What do you hope to do after completing your fellowship?
Hopefully this Fellowship will give me the confidence to undertake a PhD in the future. I am also hoping my new research experience will influence my work in Local Government and inform future commissioning decisions.