New book argues public involvement is key to health improvements
'People-Centred Public Health' argues for far greater involvement of members of the public in the delivery of health improvement and will be launched at an event on Friday 15 February at 3pm in the Rose Bowl Lecture Theatre A.
Changes in the NHS, including public health moving out of the NHS to local councils in April, are creating opportunities to work in different ways with local communities. This book, written by Professor Jane South, Director of the Centre for Health Promotion Research at Leeds Met, Judy White, Senior Lecturer, and Visiting Professor Mark Gamsu, examines how members of the public can get involved in public health, primarily as volunteers or lay health workers.
As Professor Jane South explains: "Public health often gets a bad name because it is seen to be about telling people to how to live their lives. This book is about a different sort of public health - where people are listened to and have opportunities to play a part alongside services in improving health for themselves, their families and communities. The research we do at Leeds Metropolitan University shows that there are big benefits when people play an active part as volunteers and community health workers. We are absolutely delighted to have Dr Ruth Hussey and all our other speakers who will join with us in debating what a fair and people-centred public health system could look like."
'People-Centred Public Health' draws on a major study of lay engagement in public health, led by Leeds Met and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) Programme. The People in Public Health study aimed to find out what community or volunteer workforces can, and currently do, to help services improve health and how these services can engage, support and sustain them. Examples included those leading walking projects, breastfeeding support groups and volunteers running sessions on healthy eating.
Involving members of the public in delivering public health programmes utilises the knowledge, skills and resources available in communities. Such workers can act as a bridge between services and communities, particularly for groups that are at risk of social exclusion.
The two-year project, conducted in partnership with NHS Bradford and Airedale and the Regional Public Health Group, Yorkshire and Humber, finished in October and culminated in the production of the Research Briefing for Practice document which offers advice on: How to recruit, train and support people willing to take on public health roles; service models for involving members of the public in delivering health improvement and how to develop appropriate systems to engage with members of the public.
The book launch event will include presentations from Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, and David Hunter, Professor of Health Policy and Management at Durham University, as well as a panel discussion with Mike Grady (Marmot Review Team), David Buck (The King's Fund), Trevor Hopkins (Asset Based Consulting) and Jon Hindley (Leeds Healthy Living Network). The event will also be an opportunity for those working in the health and social care sectors, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector to network and find out more about the involvement of volunteers and lay workers in public health and health improvement.
This event is open to the public. To confirm your attendance, please contact Sue Rooke.