ESRC seminar series event detail

Next event:

Synthesis from series, future agenda

Hosted by Public Health England, March 2017 – exact date/ venue tbc)


Previous events:

‘Launch event: Town & Country Planning special edition on planning for health’

‘Round-table on Implementing the Gouse of Lords “Builsing better places” report  – Tuesday 1st November 2016, Houses of Parliament London

‘Reuniting Planning and Health’ –  Thursday, 7th Aprril 2016, FUSE, Newcastle

Evidence, Governance and Policies for Health and Planning‘ – Monday, 29th June 2015, University of Bristol

Reuniting the Evidence Base for Planning and Health ESRC seminar – Monday 23 February 2015, PHE, London

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Life between water and sand: Promoting mental well-being in communities affected by El Niño, Peru”

Elaine Flores, PhD student at LSHTM won a small grant for a public engagement activity entitled: “Life between water and sand: Promoting resilience and mental well-being among communities affected by El Niño-related floods and landslides in Peru”

The machines cleaning the river bed. Insufficient number. We need more. Participant age 37.

I have been interested in the impact that natural or man-made disasters pose on mental health since 2007, when, as a primary care provider, volunteered in a post-earthquake area, one day after the disaster took place in a southern province of Peru, my home country.

Now, I have begun my 3rd year of PhD studies at LSHTM and I continue my research in the same topic, having witnessed the lack of preparation against these events and the extremely long processes of rebuilding and recovery the affected people endure, especially the most vulnerable groups.

I obtained funds to conduct a PhotoVoice and Art therapy project from the School´s Public Engagement small grant scheme on 2017. This project took place on December 2017 and January 2018 in Carapongo’s local health center, with adult residents of the shantytowns of Carapongo, a poor district heavily affected by the “huaycos” or landslides and floods related to a “Coastal El Niño” phenomenon nine months before.

The workshops sought to promote mental health and encourage participants to identify and portray their resilience motifs through photography and art techniques, express emotions and personal experiences. All of the participants had very little previous experience using cameras or creating art and were enthusiastic to learn and share their voices through images and drawings and engage in open group discussions.

The results caused a huge impression on me, my collaborators and the participants. Instead of portraying individual resilience motifs, as was anticipated, the pictures and drawings depicted similar images by almost all of the participants.

“All of us who live in the strip (near the river) have lived very similar experiences…we have lived through the desperation…trying to get out, how to escape, what to grab…it has been like that… Participant, age 27.

Despite having lost everything, I expect to see Carapongo like this: with solid houses, paved roads and crops. Participant age 77.

The majority of pictures depicted the Rimac river, which flooded Carapongo on March 2017. Others, showed the extremely harsh living conditions that the participants and their families continue to endure, lacking basic services. In the art therapy final activity they all expressed their hopes to see the much required urban changes for them and their community.

 We came to Carapongo intending to learn what has helped the affected people to reach resilience. Instead, we provided them with tools that allowed them to clearly express their voices, who said: our situation is far from having reach the resilience stage, we are still struggling, and we need support.


I want to thank our project collaborators: Dr. Elba Ramos & Annie Flores (Co-organizers, presenters), Oliver Elorreaga, Percy Soto & Ricardo Galvez (EMERGE-UPCH), Dr. Patricia Bueno & Julia Huachua (Carapongo health center), Kurt Van Aert & Joaquin Rubio (Presenters), Manuel Flores and Jean Paul Vaudenay (logistic support), Veronica Atala (Volunteer photographer) and the team of volunteers (recruitment and facilitating). Finally, our donors: Universidad de San Martin de Porres and AELUCOOP, Cooperativa de ahorro y crédito.

26 February – 4 March 2018

Heidi Larson writes for the Financial Times about how governments must regain social trust to eradicate measles and restore confidence in vaccines. The piece marks twenty years since the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s faulty research into the MMR vaccine. Heidi says:The long cherished dream of eliminating measles is not an impossible task. Every country that achieved the goal would also demonstrate the strength of its citizens’ trust — a measure of its ability to manage future threats.”

Heidi also wrote an article for Time about vaccine confidence and the myth around autism and MMR vaccination.

The UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST) has deployed to Nigeria to help control the current outbreak of Lassa fever. The team will offer the Nigerian government specialist support that will benefit the country now and in the future. Jimmy Whitworth, who is Deputy Director of the UK-PHRST says: “This deployment gives us the opportunity to ensure that operational research is integral to the response to combat the Lassa fever outbreak. By collecting information in a systematic and structured manner we will be able to learn and adapt our response as the situation evolves.” The deployment is covered in The Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

A new LSHTM study finds that STI testing in rural South Africa detects a higher burden of infections among young women than men. The study shows that STI prevalence data can be efficiently obtained in areas where burden of STIs is less known. Suzanna Francis says:Adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable to STIs, yet STI prevalence is largely unknown in many high HIV prevalence settings, as these types of studies can be expensive to carry out.” Suzanna is interviewed by Channel Africa about the study and findings.

David Heymann is quoted in Healio Infectious Disease News about Lassa fever and how it is spread. David says:Lassa doesn’t usually transmit in the community from person to person but could possibly be spread through improper handling of the bodies of those who die from the disease.”

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ICED Newsletter: February 2018

Dear all,

What a month we have had!

We had a fabulous time at the international conference on Evidence in Global Disability and Health February 26-27, 2018 in Hyderabad, India. This conference was co-organised with PHFI, and supported by Humanity and Inclusion, Mission Vision and Forus and hosted at NIEPID. There were 200 participants, from 15 countries, and they gave diverse and fascinating presentations and posters all touching on issues around disability and health. We plan to post the abstracts online soon.

Our MOOC (online course) on Global Disability and Health has now started! We have more than 3,300 people signed up and already actively contributing to discussions. Thank you to all have enrolled – and there is still time to sign up if you have not yet done so. This is a three week online course, freely available, that will include 2-4 learning hours per week. Register here .

Our Study Unit on Global Disability and Health also started this month at LSHTM. It is a 5-week course, 2 days per week, which runs each year. We are excited to meet the new cohort of students, all committed to disability, and with a diverse range of experiences.

We are also excited to have had grant success in February. We are starting a 3-year Newton Trust funded project on the Inclusion of People with Disabilities in the Health System in Brazil, working with colleagues in three centres in Brazil. We are also delighted to be collaborating with Professor De Wet Swanepoel, who has received a Newton Advanced Fellowship to collaborate with ICED on the use of mobile tools to measure hearing loss in different settings.

Best wishes,

Hannah Kuper

International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

We have reached more than 1600 followers on Twitter – please follow us @ICED_LSHTM.


In collaboration with the Environmental Health Group at LSHTM, ICED supported a cluster-randomised trial to evaluate the impact of an inclusive, community-led total sanitation intervention on sanitation access for people with disabilities in Malawi. The findings are now out published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The study found that inclusive CLTS could improve sanitation access for people with disability, but requires support to households beyond that provided in this trial. We are particularly excited about this project as it contributes to the very small trial data that exists on interventions for people with disabilities.

Tracey Smythe and colleagues published their paper in Transactions of the Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on the Prevalence and causes of musculoskeletal impairment in a district in India. This study found that one in 5 people screened had a musculoskeletal impairment, and unmet need for physiotherapy was very high.

Tess Bright and colleagues published their review in Tropical Medicine and International Health of interventions to improve access to health among children aged 5 and above in low and middle income settings. This review is important as it allows us to identify effective strategies that could be tested for children with disabilities. Potential strategies include text message reminders, incentives, outreach and education.

Hannah Kuper and Sarah Polack are guest editing a special edition on “Disability and Global Health” for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The deadline for submission is July 31 – more information on the call is available here.

Focus On: Our research on access to health

The relationship between disability and health needs is complex, healthcare need and coverage is difficult to measure, and so the access of people with disabilities to healthcare has not been extensively researched.

At ICED we have tried to help fill this research gap through a number of different projects.

  • In surveys and case-control studies, we have explored whether people with disabilities report being able to access to the health and rehabilitation services that they need. For instance, we investigated this question within the context of a national survey in Guatemala.
  • We have undertaken qualitative research to understand in more detail the barriers and facilitators to access experienced by people with disabilities in different settings. For instance, in Malawi we investigated why children with hearing loss were not going for ENT services, even after referral.
  • We have undertaken two systematic reviews (Review 1 and Review 2) to identify ways in which access to healthcare can be improved for children, and reflected on which of these interventions may be relevant for overcoming barriers facing children with disabilities.
  • We have developed interventions, which are being pilot-tested, to improve access to health. For instance, the provision of an informational intervention to increase uptake of hearing services for children in Malawi.
  • We are also completing a systematic review on access to health and rehabilitation among people with disabilities for CBM.
  • We are exploring the inclusion of people with disabilities in the health system, both in Brazil and in Guatemala. 

Upcoming Seminars and Events at LSHTM

  • March 12, LSHTM. ICED is celebrating World Hearing Day with a British Sign Language Introductory Workshop (from 2 p.m. at LSHTM). Places are limited, but do let us know if you are interested.
  • June 12, 12:30-14:00, LSHTM. Hannah Kuper will be presenting on Non Communicable Disease and Disability at LSHTM.

Other seminars of interest

  • March 15, UCL. Judy Heumann presents on “Reflections on life as a Disability Advocate – And where do we go from here?

In the meantime, you can find all our previous seminars (including the audio recordings and slides) here.

Work Experience Programme at ICED

We have launched our work experience programme for people with disabilities seeking experience in research. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about joining our team in this capacity: .

Upcoming Conferences

We are making every effort to make all our research findings widely available, and have launched a Resource Webpage where you can find our key reports and manuals.

Have you seen this?

The new issues of Disability and the Global South is out! Free and online:


New blog by for the Washington Group website “Disability data for effective policy design: reflections from the TEACh project in Pakistan written by Nidhi Singal (University of Cambridge) and Rabea Malik (IDEAS, Pakistan).

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Open access roundup – Winter 2017-18

Each month, the Research Publications Team will aim to provide a roundup of open access and scholarly communications news. In addition, we’ll highlight any tips, tricks and tools we’ve come across that help to make disseminating, finding and using open access content easier. Here’s our bumper roundup for Winter 2017-18 from Argula Rublack and Dominic Walker.


Monitoring the transition to open access 

In December the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group published their report on the major trends that have emerged since UK research funders established policies to promote open access. The findings are promising: more than half of UK-authored articles are made publicly accessible within 12 months and 37% of UK output is freely available immediately on publication through open access publishing. The possibilities for publishing open access are rising and open access articles are generally downloaded from publishers’ sites more than those which are not open access. 


OpenCon 2017 

OpenCon 2017, an annual meeting to learn about Open Access, Open Education and Open Data, took place on 11-13 November in Berlin, Germany. You can now catch up with all the panels, workshops, presentations, unconference sessions and its ‘do-a-thon’ with the freely available recorded content on their website.  


UCL launches open access megajournal 

UCL Press is taking steps to break with the tradition of commercial publishing and subscription journals with the announcement of the launch of its new open access megajournal in January. The journal aims to slash lengthy publication times, put the university’s research online free of charge and to openly publish peer reviewers’ comments to improve transparency. UCL Press has already successfully published 50 open access research monographs with 650,000 downloads worldwide and hopes the megajournal will continue this upward trend. 


Swiss National Science Foundation announces new open access policies 

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has committed to implementing Open Access for all its funded publications as of 2020. According to SNSF the result of research are public property, as they are financed by public funds, and therefore should be made freely and immediately accessible. For this purpose, new policies were introduced that require its grant holders to publish research results in Open Access publications. Authors need to publish via the Gold Open Access route or the Green Open Access route with an embargo period no longer than 6 months.  


Updated Elsevier embargo periods  

Good news: in December 2017 Elsevier updated their embargo periods for UK-based authors and reduced those of some journals which previously had a 18 month embargo period to 12 months. For a complete overview, have a look at this list: 


Negotiations between Elsevier and German universities continue 

Elsevier continues to provide access to its content to German universities in an effort to uphold negotiations after last year’s boycott over the increase in subscription prices. The German consortium, Projekt Deal, is now trying to reach a nationwide licensing agreement for the whole of Elsevier’s electronic journals. In addition Project Deal wants to ensure that all papers authored by German researchers are made open access and that costs are only incurred upon publication. Compromises have already been reached in Finland and South Korea. We will keep you updated on the further developments.  

It’s been estimated that German universities are saving 10 million Euros a year on journal subscription fees. With Dutch, French, Swiss and Austrian universities about to negotiate their contracts with Elsevier, it will be interesting to see what results from these discussions and the precendent Germany has set. 


The woman behind Sci-Hub  

Does the name Alexandra Elbakyan mean anything to you? She is the creator of Sci-Hub, a digital repository containing free copies of millions of scientific articles, which has drawn criticism from the traditional science publishing industry. Read more about her and how Sci-Hub works here:  


Hybrid OA Journal Monitor 

The open source dashboard Hybrid OA Journal Monitor ( uses data from 3,035 different journals by 36 publishers to visualize the increase in uptake of hybrid open access from 2013 to 2017. The number of articles using the CC BY license has greatly increased since 2013. 


The rising costs of open access  

The LSE Impact Blog published a piece highlighting the rising costs associated with the increasing adoption open access publishing. APCs (Author Processing Charges) paid by a sample of ten institutions rose by 16% between 2012 and 2016, while the consumer price index (CPI) rose by about 5%. The authors offer some suggestions are offered about what can be done to change this towards the end. 


Papers from the Munin conference on scholarly publishing now available 

The papers from the 12th Munin conference on scholarly publishing, which took place at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, 22-23 November 2017, are now freely available for you to read up on: 


A survey on open peer review 

Back in December 2017 PLoS published an article on the attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers involved in open peer review. In the spirit of openness the survey is a freely available open access publication and can be found here: 


Open access monographs for REF 2027 

Whereas the current REF 2021 open access policy only applies to journal articles and conference proceedings, the next REF (2027?) will see monographs be brought under the policy. However, it’s yet to be decided what form this may take – whether self-archiving of an entire manuscript (or simply a chapter) will be sufficient, or whether gold will be expected (unlikely, given that the extent of monograph open access and coverage of monograph OA mandates has lagged well behind that of journal articles). There are many discussions to be had with publishers before HEFCE presses ahead with OA for monographs.  


A criticism of the success of OA 

An interesting paper, reviewing the success of the open access movement in under-mining massive for-profit publishers has been published. It concludes that there is much to do until the predictions of OA advocates are realised. 


Where are we with responsible metrics? 

This blog post, from the LSE Impact Blog, reviews how far we have come in promoting “responsible metrics”. More and more universities have signed up to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which commits universities to not using only journal-based metrics (like Impact Factor) in promotion, hiring and funding decisions. Using appropriate article-level metrics (not only citation data) is as important in determining a scientist’s success – i.e. what someone has published is more important that where they have published. The blog post shows that the UK HE sector has not come very far in delivering responsible metrics in practice, with the vast majority of universities having no policy on the use of research metrics. Moreover, funders and other bodies need to better engage with discussions on metrics to ensure the DORA principles are realised. 


What is text mining? 

The FOSTER consortium has published a 101 on text mining, reviewing what it is, what you can use it for, and how to do it.

Hacking medicine

At the International Society of Infectious Disease conference in Buenos Aires I attended an Infectious Disease Hackathon, developed by Hacking Medicine at MIT. It was really interesting.

The first thing I learnt was that a hackathon isn’t a codeathon – eg. Putting an app together is not necessarily a solution. Identifying the problem is the first step, and really trying to identify the problem! Otherwise the hacked solution will not solve the problem.

The folks at MIT presented a nice flow diagram of a hackathon that I think will be really useful to take on. It is sometimes also known as a Design Thinking Process, and focusses on identifying solutions to problems and iterating the process. I guess it’s really just a practical way of learning…

My take home from the hackathon was that investigating and engaging with past and present students on the modelling course will a great way forward. It’ll be important to understand what the learning concepts are for mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, and identify any if there are better ways to teach effectively.

Next Steps in Commissioning through Competition and Cooperation (2016-2017)

In 2016 we reported our research on NHS commissioners’ and providers’ understandings and use the rules on competition, and our investigation of how commissioners used competitive and cooperative commissioning mechanisms at local level from 2013 to 2015. Since 2015, when the last phase of field work was undertaken, the legal framework governing the procurement of clinical services has not changed. The generally pro-competitive provisions of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA 2012) remain in force. In addition, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015) came into force in April 2016 introducing further requirements in respect of competitive procurement. Despite no substantive changes in the legislation governing procurement processes, since 2015 there has been a considerable national policy shift towards cooperative methods of commissioning.

Firstly, the ‘Five Year Forward View’ (5YFV) published by the NHS England (NHSE) in October 2014 instigated a number of the New Models of Care (NMC) vanguard sites. Many of these involved the merger or at least closer cooperation of a range of NHS organisations. This view was reinforced by the national planning guidance issued in late 2015 (Delivering the Forward View: NHS Planning Guidance 2016/17-2020/21). This document stated that the NHS should concentrate on local, placed based planning to be achieved by cooperation between local stakeholders. The plans were to be called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, and the groups of organisations were named ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ (STPs). These cooperative modes of coordination were regarded as the preferable (and in fact, mandated) method by which health services would be planned and commissioned. Lastly, the notion of Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) or Systems (ACSs) was introduced in 2017. These were seen as natural successors to STPs under which NHS organisations would either merge formally or work in close cooperation. In the light of these policy developments there was a need to investigate the way in which local commissioners and providers managed the interplay between cooperation and competition in commissioning clinical services.

The aims of this stage of the field work remained the same as those of the initial study. The project aimed to investigate how commissioners in local health systems managed the interplay of competition and cooperation in their local health economies, looking at acute and community health services (CHS).

Download full report [pdf]>>

Documented Analysis of HIV Care and Treatment Data – Workshop Report Released (March 2018)

On 11th to 13th December 2017 a workshop was convened in order to update and document the analysis of the Tanzanian national HIV CTC3 database. The workshop additionally aimed to develop and build the process to enable further analyses of the CTC data to inform policy makers and health planners of the HIV service provision in Tanzania. The workshop was organised by the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) of the Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC), with members of the Measurement and Surveillance of HIV Epidemics (MeSH) Consortium at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of California San Francisco leading technical assistance in the analysis of the data and writing of the report.

See the full report here.

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