Amira Shaheen: Winner of the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards (one of five winners)

For this week’s alumni profile we spoke to alumna Amira Shaheen. Amira  is Assistant Prof. in Epidemiology and Population Health for An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. She is also CHIFA Country Representative for Palestine and most recently has been named one of the researchers that have been awarded the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. Amira graduated with a PhD from the School in 2009.

What did you study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and why?

I studied a PhD in Epidemiology and Population Health because LSHTM is known as a leading school in public health.  Since I wanted to investigate the epidemiology of unintentional injuries among school age children in Palestine, I found that LSHTM is the right place to do so.

How has your degree at LSHTM complemented your career?

Having a PhD is a request to be able to teach at the Palestinian Universities. Hence, it is easy for me finding a job in academia.

Were the relationships you formed at LSHTM useful – in what way?

Yes.  You can still see that I am the contact point for any MSc/staff that are willing to investigate the health of Palestinians. I co-supervised 2 MSc students from the LSHTM who used Palestinian data for their MSc dissertation.  Indeed, we are working jointly with colleagues from the LSHTM in two funded projects one from the MRC and the other from the NIHR.

Please summarise how you feel about being one of the winners of the 2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards?

I feel that years of hard work have paid off.  I feel that I am more visible now. I am very motivated to carry on with my research on gender based violence, and hopefully by the year 2030 Palestine will manage to reduce the number of women who are exposed to GBV.

What do you hope to further achieve in your field in the future?

On a personal level I am working to be a full Prof. in Epidemiology. Generally, I wish to improve women’s health through targeting GBV and its health impact, and through increasing the health system response to GBV. I am looking forward as well to improve the health of children who are witnessing violence or being themselves exposed to violence.

What advice do you have for current students?

Usually have a goal and work hard to achieve it.  No success comes easy, struggles are normal in the path, those who learn how to go around these struggles will one day reach their goal.

Any other comments?

I would like to thank the HERA team for their amazing work. As well as my University An-Najah National University for their support.  My thanks extend to Dr. Manuela Colombini for nominating me, and Dr. Loraine Bacchus and Prof. Yehia Abed for writing the recommendation letters.  Finally, I wish to thank a person who believed in me, and supported me throughout my PhD journey, my amazing supervisor, Dr. Phil Edwards.

Congratulations Amira Shaheen on your award. We are extremely proud to have you as part of our alumni community!

 

Consulting an ethicist is the least common way of seeking to resolve ethical dilemmas!

For our latest blog we are thinking about ethical issues in research. Here, DEPTH staff member Dr Catherine McGowan discusses some of the roadblocks to resolving ethical dilemmas in the public health field.

 

Ethical dilemmas are part of professional life. But how do we navigate these dilemmas successfully? How do we ensure that we are resolving dilemmas in a way that leaves us feeling as though we have taken the best possible course of action?

People regularly make difficult decisions in their daily lives and are accustomed to resolving ethical dilemmas based on personal reflection and consultation with family, friends, and colleagues. Resolving dilemmas in the workplace, for a public health professional, is different in the sense that decisions may affect the health and wellbeing of many people. For example, decisions about resource allocation – in a context in which the public need for services outweighs an agency’s capacity to deliver – can markedly reduce life expectancy in areas not receiving services. Making the best possible decision in such circumstances, one which promises the greatest common good, is often difficult. Yet recognising, understanding, and resolving ethical dilemmas is like any other technical competency. Training in public health ethics provides the basis for sound ethical decision-making, but how many public health professionals have received education or training in public health ethics? How often do public health professionals encounter ethical dilemmas? How do public health professionals approach complex moral dilemmas?

In our latest paper entitled Education, training and experience in public health ethics and law within the UK public health workforce we present the results of a survey of 562 public health practitioners in the UK. The Faculty of Public Health, the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH), the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) and Public Health England disseminated a link to an online survey asking about experience, education and training in public health ethics. Nearly 40% of respondents were public health consultants or specialists; the rest were registrars, academics, directors of public health, practitioners, managers, nurses or midwives. Over half of the respondents reported encountering ethical issues on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis whilst just under a third reported that their organisation had implemented mechanisms, adopted tools, or recommended resources to facilitate consideration or resolution of ethical issues. Interestingly, when asked to indicate how they go about resolving ethical issues the majority indicated that they resolve them in discussion with colleagues or on ‘personal reflection’. That is to say: the least common way of seeking to resolve ethical dilemmas was by consulting an ethicist!

We also asked respondents how dealing with ethical issues affects them: over half questioned whether they dealt with ethical issues in the best way and a quarter reported feeling anxious about dealing with ethical issues at work. Interestingly, many respondents indicated that they enjoyed the challenge of dealing with ethical issues. Unfortunately, relatively few respondents had received training in public health ethics.

 Moving forward, we believe there is a need to develop and support capacity among the public health workforce through the provision of education, training, guidance, and mentoring in public health ethics. Public health professionals should be equipped to make the best possible decisions in complex circumstances for the betterment of health, and wellbeing and equity.

Look out for our upcoming paper in the Journal of Public Health – it will be published as part of a thematic issue on public health ethics. We’ll post about it on our Twitter feed and DEPTH website, so look out for updates.

What do you think? You can comment below (if you’re reading this article on the DEPTH blog mainpage, click on the title of this post and comments will open at the bottom). We’d love to hear from you.

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3-year PhD studentship available

We have a funded (fees + stipend) three-year PhD studentship available for entry October 2019. If you are interested in big data, spatial analysis and the effect of the food environment on diet, please apply.

The aim of this project is to explore whether different elements of the local food environment are associated with changes in purchasing of food and drinks for consumption both inside and outside homes over time and how these may influence diet and dietary outcomes.

The objectives are:

1. To construct novel time-varying relative and absolute measures of the local food environment and matched with data on household food purchasing.

2. Examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between features of the local food environment and household food and drink purchasing for consumption both in- and outside of the home.

3.  Analyse whether these effects are distributed and whether they are modified by markers of socio-economic position, product price and household composition.

4. Utilise the effects of changes in purchasing behaviour to estimate the effect on diet-related health outcomes.

 

The project will be supervised by Prof Steven Cummins (primary),  Dr Laura Cornelsen (secondary) and Dr Andrea Ballatore (secondary; Birkbeck University).

Closing date for applications is: Monday 8th April 2019

More detailed information on the projects is available here.

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30 years alumna – Dr Isabella Danel

This interview was conducted and written up by Lydia Di Stefano, MARCH Centre B Theme student liaison & current MSc Reproductive & Sexual Health Research student. It is part of a series of alumni profiles that the MARCH Centre (Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health) are planning as part of MHR@30 – Celebrating 30 years of maternal and newborn health research.

 

I called Dr Isabella Danel on her mobile from LSHTM while she was at home in Washington. We had originally planned to Skype, but snow storms in D.C. meant that she was not in her office. I was nervous before making the call — Dr Danel is a big name in public health. Currently Deputy Director to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), she has a long list of achievements behind her. Despite her vast experience, we do have something in common: I am beginning my research career at LSHTM, and likewise in 1990-91, she completed a master’s degree at the School. During that time, she worked closely with the maternal health group. As 2019 marks the 30-year anniversary of the group at LSHTM, Dr Danel kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of the celebrations. We spoke about her time as a student and Clinical Research Fellow at LSHTM, and of the past, present and future of maternal health.

A medical doctor, Dr Danel’s focus on maternal health began when she undertook her residency at a public hospital in Chicago where she completed a fellowship in medical complications during pregnancy. Dr Danel was attracted to public health because she wanted to have “a bigger impact”. So, in 1985, she took a break from her medical training in the States and relocated to Nicaragua, where she worked as a medical consultant and was an advisor on tuberculosis control to the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health. Although she enjoyed this field work, she soon realised that her and her team “hadn’t done the research well”: this experience provided Dr Danel with insight into the challenges of research in the field, including techniques for measurement.

Wanting to learn more about the theory behind public health and conducting good research, Dr Danel attended LSHTM for her Masters. At that time, the maternal health group was newly formed. When Dr Danel told me she had worked closely with Professors Wendy Graham and Oona Campbell, I smiled: I have worked with both researchers during my time at LSHTM, and it is amazing to think of the generations of early career maternal health researchers they must have seen come through the school in the past 30 years. Dr Danel reflected on her time at LSHTM fondly. She particularly emphasised her enjoyment conducting fieldwork, and the many interesting people she encountered whilst at the school: she enthusiastically explained to me how “fantastic” it was meeting Cesar Victora at a party hosted by Oona.

After finishing her masters, Dr Danel joined the LSHTM maternal health team as a research assistant. She worked on several projects including Saving Mothers Giving Life which involved measuring and looking at causes of maternal mortality. Dr Danel emphasised the importance of such studies, as “maternal mortality is probably the best indicator of whether the system is working… it’s not just about, you know, whether you have an obstetrician. You have to have an obstetrician, in a hospital, with anaesthesia, with the nursing, with the transportation that gets women from the community, with the community that understands what a complication is.

Even though Dr Danel thinks that “maternal mortality has absolutely improved and… will continue to improve”, she says that a lot of the challenges for maternal health researchers 30 years ago were not so different from the challenges faced today. For example, earlier in her career she helped to field test an application of the sisterhood method to measure maternal mortality, which “was hard to do and it still is hard to do”.

When asked about the challenges for the future of maternal health in her WHO region, Dr Danel spoke about the major inequalities both across and within countries in the Americas. Although the averages are “pretty good”, they “don’t tell the story because there are huge differences by age, by ethnicity, by race, by rural-urban”. For example, the disparities in maternal outcomes between white and African Americans. Social factors contribute to these disparities, and they also drive other increasing issues for maternal health which Dr Danel mentioned: advanced maternal age, infertility, IVF and overmedicalisation (for example, the C-section rates in Brazil).

Dr Danel concluded that these issues are “really about women” and that “we need women to be empowered and to protect and to fight for their health and their rights… we need to … insist on political power, social power [and] economic power”. Dr Danel hopes that with social changes, such as the #MeToo movement, and more women in politics, issues such as access to family planning will be a higher priority on national agendas.

For future maternal health researchers, Dr Danel’s advice is to follow your passions and interests. Although she thinks that research is “funny because it depends so much on finding money… and getting grants… which means that you have to address what other people are interested in” she says that this should not stop researchers “from asking the right questions”. Her advice is to “find the people that you enjoy working with and talking to… and not necessarily likeminded, but where you can have a debate or discussion that’s stimulating and thoughtful… and keeps you real”. Her final remark was “I had the most fun in the field… so enjoy yourself would definitely be a message… and save the management part for when you get older cos it’s not too much fun anyway”.

 

International Women’s Day: 2019

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Today is a great chance to remind ourselves of all the women who have contributed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics throughout their various histories and who may have been forgotten somewhere along the way.

 

Dr Hilda Phoebe Hudson (1881-1965)

Dr Hilda Hudson was born in Cambridge to a mathematical family, her father W.H.H. Hudson was Professor of Mathematics at King’s College, London and her mother an early attendee of Newnham. Between 1900 and 1904 Hudson attended Newnham herself and then the University of Berlin for a further year; she went on to have a rich academic career from positions as Lecturer and Research Fellow to Technical Assistant at a range of institutions such as Newnham, Bryn Mawr College, U.S.A, Westham Technical Institute, and for the Civil Service at the Air Ministry. She is best known for her thesis on “Cremona Transformations in Plane and Space,” a text which combined sixty to seventy years of publications on a field which had a vast research base.

Our largest collection is comprised of the papers of Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932), a British medical doctor who is best known for discovering the link between mosquito bites and malaria, a discovery that went on to facilitate further advancements in tackling the disease. The collection includes various correspondence, manuscripts, reprints and newspaper cuttings collected by Ross.

Published in 1917; An Application of the Theory of Probabilities to the Study of a Priori Pathometry – Part I (Ross/163/11/03), Part II (Ross/163/11/03) and Part III (Ross/163/11/04) can all be found in the Ross collection through our catalogue. Ross sought to explore the role of statistics and probability in the development and spread of disease. For this investigation to get under way Ross needed some mathematical expertise to combine with his own proficiency in medicine, leading him to seek the talents of Dr Hilda Hudson. Part II and Part III of the publication see Hudson listed as a joint author and page 213 of Part II demonstrates the value Ross placed on Hudson’s assistance.

“The continuation of the paper has accordingly been written in conjunction with her; and I should like to take the opportunity to express my obligations to her for her valuable assistance, especially in regard to Part III”.

 

Mary KingsleyMary Kingsley (1862-1900)

Mary Kingsley, a pioneering anthropologist and explorer who greatly influenced European ideas about Africa and its people and became an outspoken critic of European colonialism. She wrote a book called ‘Travels in West Africa’ in 1897, which we have a copy of in the rare books collection and she also corresponded with Sir Ronald Ross. Many members of LSHTM staff were awarded the Mary Kingsley Medal, including Sir Patrick Manson, founder of LSHTM, and Sir Andrew Balfour, First Director of the School.

 

Dr Jennifer Roberts

Jenny Roberts was a pioneer of Health Economics, becoming the first Health Economist at the School. Throughout her forty year career, Jenny’s research was closely linked with NHS changes and reforms, beginning with the 1974 large-scale administrative reorganisation of the NHS in England which placed all health services into regional and area health authorities.

To prepare for the reform, in 1972 the Centre for Extension Training in Community Medicine (CETCM) was created at 31 Bedford Square, in order to retrain NHS staff. It especially focussed on retraining doctors who were in medical admin moving to new roles in ‘integrated Health Service’. The Centre was funded by the DHSS (Dept.. of Health & Social Security) with Dr Roy Acheson its first Director. Jenny joined in 1973, as Senior Tutor in Health Economics. The Centre was amalgamated with the School’s Department of Community Health in 1976.

In the 1980s, Jenny researched the market-based NHS reforms, in particular looking at the links between the use of contracted-out NHS services, and the increase in Hospital Acquired Infections. She was a passionate teacher, and introduced the Health Policy, Planning and Finance MSc to the School.

 

 

30 years alumni – Dr Isabella Danel

By Lydia Di Stefano, MARCH B Theme student liaison

I called Dr Isabella Danel on her mobile from LSHTM while she was at home in Washington. We had originally planned to Skype, but snow storms in D.C. meant that she was not in her office. I was nervous before making the call — Dr Danel is a big name in public health. Currently Deputy Director to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), she has a long list of achievements behind her. Despite her vast experience, we do have something in common: I am beginning my research career at LSHTM, and likewise in 1990-91, she completed a master’s degree at the School. During that time, she worked closely with the maternal health group. As 2019 marks the 30-year anniversary of the group at LSHTM, Dr Danel kindly agreed to be interviewed as part of the celebrations. We spoke about her time as a student and Clinical Research Fellow at LSHTM, and of the past, present and future of maternal health.

A medical doctor, Dr Danel’s focus on maternal health began when she undertook her residency at a public hospital in Chicago where she completed a fellowship in medical complications during pregnancy. Dr Danel was attracted to public health because she wanted to have “a bigger impact”. So, in 1985, she took a break from her medical training in the States and relocated to Nicaragua, where she worked as a medical consultant and was an advisor on tuberculosis control to the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health. Although she enjoyed this field work, she soon realised that her and her team “hadn’t done the research well”: this experience provided Dr Danel with insight into the challenges of research in the field, including techniques for measurement.

Wanting to learn more about the theory behind public health and conducting good research, Dr Danel attended LSHTM for her Masters. At that time, the maternal health group was newly formed. When Dr Danel told me she had worked closely with Professors Wendy Graham and Oona Campbell, I smiled: I have worked with both researchers during my time at LSHTM, and it is amazing to think of the generations of early career maternal health researchers they must have seen come through the school in the past 30 years. Dr Danel reflected on her time at LSHTM fondly. She particularly emphasised her enjoyment conducting fieldwork, and the many interesting people she encountered whilst at the school: she enthusiastically explained to me how “fantastic” it was meeting Cesar Victora at a party hosted by Oona.

After finishing her masters, Dr Danel joined the LSHTM maternal health team as a research assistant. She worked on several projects including Saving Mothers Giving Life which involved measuring and looking at causes of maternal mortality. Dr Danel emphasised the importance of such studies, as “maternal mortality is probably the best indicator of whether the system is working… it’s not just about, you know, whether you have an obstetrician. You have to have an obstetrician, in a hospital, with anaesthesia, with the nursing, with the transportation that gets women from the community, with the community that understands what a complication is.

Even though Dr Danel thinks that “maternal mortality has absolutely improved and… will continue to improve”, she says that a lot of the challenges for maternal health researchers 30 years ago were not so different from the challenges faced today. For example, earlier in her career she helped to field test an application of the sisterhood method to measure maternal mortality, which “was hard to do and it still is hard to do”.

When asked about the challenges for the future of maternal health in her WHO region, Dr Danel spoke about the major inequalities both across and within countries in the Americas. Although the averages are “pretty good”, they “don’t tell the story because there are huge differences by age, by ethnicity, by race, by rural-urban”. For example, the disparities in maternal outcomes between white and African Americans. Social factors contribute to these disparities, and they also drive other increasing issues for maternal health which Dr Danel mentioned: advanced maternal age, infertility, IVF and overmedicalisation (for example, the C-section rates in Brazil).

Dr Danel concluded that these issues are “really about women” and that “we need women to be empowered and to protect and to fight for their health and their rights… we need to … insist on political power, social power [and] economic power”. Dr Danel hopes that with social changes, such as the #MeToo movement, and more women in politics, issues such as access to family planning will be a higher priority on national agendas.

For future maternal health researchers, Dr Danel’s advice is to follow your passions and interests. Although she thinks that research is “funny because it depends so much on finding money… and getting grants… which means that you have to address what other people are interested in” she says that this should not stop researchers “from asking the right questions”. Her advice is to “find the people that you enjoy working with and talking to… and not necessarily likeminded, but where you can have a debate or discussion that’s stimulating and thoughtful… and keeps you real”. Her final remark was “I had the most fun in the field… so enjoy yourself would definitely be a message… and save the management part for when you get older cos it’s not too much fun anyway”.

University Mental Health Day 2019: Student Mental Health at LSHTM

Today, March 7th, marks University Mental Health Day 2019. This year’s theme is “Use Your Voice”, so we’re using ours to highlight the need for good mental health care in the university setting, to highlight the work of our Student Advice & Counselling team, and to share some top tips for maintaining positive mental health for yourself and others.

Hi, and thanks for us to talking to us today. Please can you introduce yourselves, and tell us what you do here at LSHTM?

Olivia: I’m Olivia Cunningham and I’m one of the Student Counsellors.

Flo: I’m Flo, and I’m a Student Adviser.

Olivia: Our team is the Student Advice and Counselling team, which is responsible for providing counselling to students on a one to one basis, give inductions to students at the start of their programmes and deliver advice on wellbeing throughout the year, too.

Flo: I work closely with the Student Counselling team to assist students with disabilities and also advise on accommodation, hardship and general welfare.

How do you ensure that you deliver good mental healthcare for students?

Olivia: We listen effectively to students, and are very responsive – waiting lists for counselling and advice are very short compared with some other universities. We provide services like exam stress workshops and mindfulness groups at key times throughout the year.

Flo: We keep really good communication between each other and with students. The good thing about being such a small institution is that we can keep a close eye on students we are worried about as we have a close working relationship with them.

What support do you offer specifically for international students?

Olivia: Many of our students are international, so we have a lot of experience working with these students and know the issues they tend to face: culture shock, loneliness and isolation – we do offer an orientation session at the start of the academic year which addresses these types of issues.

Flo: Many students are coming to the UK for the first time, so we touch on logistical issues such as setting up a bank account, but we also talk about wellbeing and cultural differences and arrange social activities to help students meet one another and settle in.

How can students look out for each other’s mental health?

Olivia: It’s about noticing fluctuations in someone’s mood that may indicate that they’re in distress, if someone seems withdrawn or disengaged, be empathetic and sensitive, listen actively, ask some open questions about how they’re doing and allow them space to talk. Also, know your own limits in terms of looking after others – sometimes it can be more beneficial to signpost someone to professional services like student counselling or nightline. Most of all it is important that they feel heard and listened to, and that they are not alone.

Flo: I would say it is important not to give advice to someone unless you are asked for it. Sometimes people just want to be listened to.

Olivia: Yes, do not underestimate the power of just listening to someone, without trying to fix things or make things better.

What are your top tips for maintaining balance day-to-day?

Flo: Doing things that don’t involve school – going for a walk at lunchtime, swimming after class, Pilates, attending our mindfulness sessions – just things we can all be doing to improve our wellbeing and don’t involve taking on issues that might be challenging. Doing things “just for fun”. I’ve also found apps like Calm and Headspace very useful, as well as Simple Habits. I also recommend the Honest Bros YouTube channel. Be mindful of your caffeine and sugar intake, too – these have a real impact on stress and anxiety levels.

Olivia: It can be a bubble here, so it is important to maintain balance in such a pressurised environment. It can be helpful to talk to other students but be aware that speaking to someone who is anxious may make you anxious too, so those hobbies are key in maintaining that sense of balance. The foundation of wellbeing is to sleep well, eat well, do something that you love and maintain outside relationships – this is the bedrock to coping with your academic demands. Timetabling activities in can make it a lot easier to maintain this balance – structure helps! Even factor time in to do nothing. It’s constructive rest!

The theme of this year’s University Mental Health Day is “use your voice”. What does that mean for you?

Flo: for me, it means finding a way of being comfortable with who you are and saying how you feel.

Olivia: I think using your voice to support yourself and stand up for yourself, but also to stand up for others who are unable to use theirs. Speak up for people who might need support.

If you have serious concerns about someone’s safety, you should contact the police. If you are worried about someone’s mental health, you can refer to student advice & counselling. You can find out more about the student advice and counselling service at lshtm.ac.uk/study/studentservices/student-advice-counselling-service or email

Read more about the #UniMentalHealthDay campaign at www.unimentalhealthday.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

28 February – 6 March 2019

New LSHTM-led research finds that new HIV infections in southern Africa could be reduced substantially by offering entire communities voluntary HIV testing, and immediately referring those who test positive for HIV treatment in line with local guidelines. Richard Hayes said: “Although during the trial we found a 30 per cent reduction we think that effect will build up over time and in the next decade it would be a much larger effect. Showing that the intervention works is a very important step forward for policy makers but they will also want to know about its cost effectiveness.”

The findings were covered in The Telegraph, Healio, Scienmag and Science Daily.

Rashida Ferrand speaks to CNN News about a London patient with HIV who was given stem cell therapy. The patients HIV then became undetectable. The findings were published in Nature. Rashida said: “These findings do indicate that a cure for HIV might be possible. It demonstrates that if a patient with HIV is given this transplant then they can then become resistant to HIV.” (live link not available)

Liam Smeeth provides expert comment to the Daily Mail about statins for an article exploring how propaganda and distrust around the benefits of statins is leading to patients refusing to take them. Liam said: “What matters is your heart attack risk when treatment starts. If you have a 30 per cent risk then statins could reduce that risk by at least a quarter.”

Heidi Larson speaks to CNN about why people’s wider distrust in society is working against vaccines and helping anti-vaccination messaging gain traction, particularly on social media and the internet. Heidi said: “Anti-government control sentiment continues to be a thread in the anti-vaccine movement, particularly in this era of mistrust in government.”

Heidi also comments in the Guardian about the anti-vaccination movement, for an article about an 18 year old whose parents had never let him receive vaccinations as they felt they were unsafe and ‘government schemes’. Heidi said: “Sceptical or fearful parents who have questions about vaccines shouldn’t be shut down or ridiculed for expressing their thoughts. Many people who develop anti-vaccine views did not start that way but become more rigid in reaction to what they see as the orthodoxy and rigidity of science and medicine.”

The Times (£) publish a letter from Heidi on the need to challenge dangerous propaganda and inaccurate information about vaccines. You can see the letter below.

Martin McKee talks to The Telegraph about e-cigarettes and the potential health risks after one of Britain’s biggest quit smoking clinics announced that children as young as 14 are seeking treatment for addiction to e-cigarettes. Martin said: “It is simply not credible to maintain that e-cigarettes are 95 per cent safer than cigarettes. We are having more and more evidence of damage they cause to the lungs, the heart and cardiovascular system. It is reckless for the UK’s public health authorities not to look with great concern at the trend for youth uptake of e-cigarettes in America.”

Martin is also mentioned in a separate Telegraph article about academics being subjected to death threats on social media after raising concerns about vaping. Martin said: “We are having more and more evidence of damage they cause to the lungs, the heart and cardiovascular system.”

Finally, Martin also contributes to a BMJ piece, Sixty seconds on….vaping.

Val Curtis is quoted in Business Insider about how the emotions of squeamishness and disgust evolved in humans to protect us from things that could make us ill. Val said: “Our ancestors who went around eating rotten food or putting their fingers into other peoples diseased lesions are not our ancestors because they’re extinct.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM twitter account sharing a message from our Director Peter Piot with students graduating on 5 March.

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Research Councils UK open access funding 2019-2020

We’re pleased to announce that we will again have Research Councils UK open access publication funds available from 1 April 2019. On that date, the ServiceDesk open access application form will be reopened for RCUK-funded work (please note we can’t accept applications for funds before that date). Wellcome Trust open access funds continue as usual.

As funds are limited we are continuing the policy, approved by the School last year, to only provide funding for eligible articles published in fully open access journals, and limiting contributions to a maximum of £2500 per article (which is enough to cover the vast majority of open access journals). If the cost exceeds £2500, the extra needs to be covered from other grants and sources of funding available to the author.

RCUK funded authors are welcome to continue publishing in hybrid journals (subscription journals with an open access option), but should not choose the gold open access option unless they have other funds available to them. If you follow this route, this does not mean the work cannot be made open access. Instead, authors should deposit their accepted manuscript in LSHTM Research Online via Elements as soon as possible after acceptance. If you are MRC-funded, you should also deposit the accepted manuscript in Europe PubMed Central (i.e. green open access). SHERPA/FACT is a very useful resource for checking the compatibility of a journal with your funder’s open access policy.

RCUK funded authors who wish to publish in an open access journal should continue to apply for funding via the Library & Archives Service. It is recommended to do this at the point of submission to ensure funding is available for your article.

If significant funds are available at the end of 2019 we may relax the policy to fund hybrid articles as the grant expires on 31st March 2020.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

 

Why have we introduced this policy?

We have reviewed the costs of open access and the average cost of an article in a fully open access journal is substantially less than a hybrid journal (c.£1700 compared to £2400). This has been discussed in more detail in a blog post written last year. The RCUK Block Grant is not an unlimited resource, so in order to fairly make use of the remaining funds it makes sense to limit the funds to those publishing in fully open access journals; those publishing in hybrid (subscription) journals can still make their work open access for free via self-archiving in LSHTM Research Online and Europe PubMed Central. We have capped APCs to ensure we can help as many authors as possible.

It is recommended to review our list of major funder policies and sources of open access funding, as well as our list of open access waiver and discount schemes. A useful resource is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which indexes open access journals including many with no open access fee.

Library resources feedback

The Library Team are currently undertaking a feedback project about resources. We’d like to hear from current students about how satisfied you are with the Library’s resources, and how and where you search for them. We will use the responses to improve our service.

We’re starting the project with a questionnaire. This should take about 5 minutes to complete:

We’ll also be running searching activity observation sessions. These will allow us to learn more about how and where students are searching for resources. The activity will take around 15 minutes, and can be done at a time of your choosing, in person, or online via Skype.

Finally, in the week of April 29th, we’ll hold focus groups to build on the information we have found in the questionnaire and observation activities. These will take 1 hour and will be held at the School.

If you are interested in participating in the searching activity observations or focus groups, please contact us on