migrant health research group

Our research

Our migrant health research programme aims to take an inter-disciplinary approach to investigating migration, ethnicity and public health. Our goal is to build a reputation for raising the profile of migrant and ethnic inequalities in health as a fundamental aspect of health inequality requiring specific, sustained attention.

An estimated 50 per cent of disability and premature mortality worldwide is due to risk factors related to nutrition and physical activity. While our focus is therefore on nutrition as a risk factor and outcome, we will also – in conjunction with our research partners – look at a broad range of health and wellbeing areas requiring interrogation by migrant status and/ or ethnic group identity. Our interests also extend to the health of indigenous/ aborigine populations who are in minorities in their home countries.

Our staff have expertise in quantitative, qualitative and multi-method approaches, as well as a significant collective number of years’ experience in public health nutrition, dietetics, social science and epidemiology. Equally important to our empirical work are the dissemination and engagement and understanding of the public, addressing the needs of long-established and newly created local minority communities. Addressing systemic disadvantage in these groups is likely to also benefit the disadvantaged among the White British majority.

Our projects

Our projects encompass a range of theoretical approaches based within an inequalities framework that acknowledges ‘intersectionality’ with class, gender and wider social constraints. The three main themes of our grant-funded, postgraduate and research student projects are:

  1. Analysis of ‘Big Data’ (complex datasets providing robust evidence base), systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  2. Public understanding of health
  3. Iterative development and evaluation of culturally-acceptable dietary assessment tools, intervention content, and prevention programmes

Examples of our current projects include:

  • Ethnic patterning of pathways to type 2 diabetes: multi-level analysis of UK patient records and derivation of a risk prediction algorithm
  • Exploring lay views of the causes and treatment of diabetes among Black African origin groups
  • Food ways in three communities in Libya: cultural identity and concepts of well-being
  • Media representation of diabetes among minority ethnic groups
  • Developing new nutritional composition data for popular West African and Caribbean foods in the UK
  • Interventions to promote healthy eating among adults from diverse ethnic groups
  • Exploring school-based and place of worship-based obesity prevention among children from diverse ethnic groups
  • Change and stability in the diets of Arab students studying in the UK

Research degrees

We welcome enquiries to undertake an internationally recognised research degree in our areas of interest. You will conduct your training under the guidance of at least two experienced supervisors. The PhD, awarded on the successful completion of a programme of supervised research, will contribute new knowledge to your field and you will disseminate your findings by means of your thesis and peer-reviewed publications. Throughout your PhD journey, you will be supported with a programme of research training to enable you to develop transferable skills for your future career path.

Applicants are also encouraged to make informal enquiries by email to Dr Maria Maynard M.Maynard@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or Dr Tanefa A. Apekey T.A.Apekey@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.