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Durham University News

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Durham to help improve region’s health

(23 January 2008)

Durham University is playing a key role in a new national Centre of Excellence aimed at improving health in the North East.

The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health brings together for the first time leading scientists from all five North East universities as well as professionals from across the region to speed up the introduction of the latest - and best - practices and policies in public health and healthcare. Durham University’s School for Health and the Wolfson Research Institute, based at Queen’s Campus, in Stockton, will have an important role in the centre by leading on translating research into practice, ensuring that evidence surrounding issues such as smoking, obesity and alcohol misuse are acted upon by the NHS, local government and others. Academic staff in Geography, Anthropology and the School of Applied Social Sciences will also contribute to the Centre. Professor David Hunter, from the School for Health and Wolfson Research Institute, said: “Durham has particular expertise in work, unemployment and health, health inequalities and tobacco control and smoking cessation, themes which will be of relevance to the work of the new Centre.” Durham will work alongside Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside universities to help tackle the health challenges facing the North East. The new Centre for Translational Research in Public Health is one of five Centres of Excellence around the country including others in Cardiff, Belfast, Cambridge and Nottingham. A total of £20million is being invested in the new centres from a variety of funding bodies. Director of the Centre, Professor Martin White, of Newcastle University, said: “Despite knowing what works, evidence does not always reach the front line. So, with this new national funding and the backing of all the main regional agencies, we’ll be working with professionals and the public to see how we can increase the use of top quality evidence.” Dr Stephen Singleton, Regional Director of Public Health said: “We’re really excited to see all of the region’s universities working together with the NHS, local government and voluntary and community organisations in a genuine collaboration. “Although we are making positive progress, the challenges for public health in the region remain huge and this is exactly the kind of initiative that we need to make a real difference to the health of people in the North East.”

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