Healthy Places, Healthy Planet
University of Sheffield
- Commercial determinants of health – with existing skills on alcohol and gambling
- Research which is relevant to policy making and public health practice
- Public and patient involvement
- Drug use – with a particular interest in women and children
- Sexual health
Conceptualising local systems of consumption that produce inequalities: the night time economy
It is important to me to maintain links with public health practice and for research to be useful for those working in policy and practice. I’m hoping to complete a review with input from my colleagues at OHID and to undertake a placement with Sheffield City Council’s public health team.
Public Involvement and Engagement
I have previously completed patient and public involvement (PPI) work with people with lived experience of drug use and with young people, recently co-authoring a paper on involving young people in sexual health research. I want to continue developing PPI practice and follow best practice standards in my own work, as well as sharing my experience with others who are new to PPI.
What has been your career journey so far?
I previously worked for Public Health England (PHE), which later became the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), on the topics of alcohol and gambling. I was a key member of the research team for the PHE evidence review on gambling-related harm and my final role was as the national evidence and delivery lead for gambling. Prior to this, I worked in public health practice at a local level in Scotland and before that delivered frontline services, primarily with people experiencing issues with drugs and alcohol and with young people around their sexual health.
Why did you choose to do a Pre-doc Fellowship in public health research?
In my previous roles I had started to get involved in more research, which I really enjoyed, and I wanted to have protected time to develop my skills as a researcher. The pre-doctoral fellowship seemed like the perfect opportunity to transition from public health practice in to a public health research role.
What is your research focus?
Having previously worked on alcohol and gambling, these topics are of great interest to me. I am interested in looking more broadly at the commercial determinants of health. Unhealthy commodities such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and ultra processed foods share similarities in the tactics used by industries to promote these products, as well as some of the interventions which would limit harm from them. I'm interested in how we can support and influence local and national policy to understand the commercial determinants of health with the goal of improving human and planetary health.
Why is it important?
Unhealthy commodity industries are a major contributor to non-communicable diseases and climate change. Gilmore et al. 2023 found that a third of global deaths are attributable to four industries: tobacco, alcohol, ultra-processed food, and fossil fuels.
What are you looking forward to during your time with NIHR School for Public Health Research?
I am looking forward to get to learn new research methods, exploring new topics which I haven’t worked on before, and for new experiences which I wouldn’t usually have to opportunity to pursue. However, most of all I am excited to have protected time to explore my own development and take the next steps in my career.
What skills are you hoping to gain by the end?
There are academic skills that I want to develop such as writing journal articles, applying for funding, and teaching/supervision. I would also like to develop my quantitative research skills so that I can complement my existing qualitative skills and become a mixed methodologist.
What do you hope to do after completing your fellowship?
The next step I’d like to take in my career is to undertake PhD research. I will be using some of the time during my pre-doctoral fellowship to develop a PhD proposal and to apply for a doctoral fellowship.
University of Sheffield webpage: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/people/staff/zoe-l-clarke