PhD opportunity

This may be of interest and an opportunity to embed environmental health!:

Research studentship
University of BedfordshireSouth East
£14,057 a year


For further details click here.

Call for Papers: Publish Your Paper Open Access in Public Health

This may be of interest:

Public Health is now offering an opportunity for open access publishing and for authors who select to publish Open Access, read and download here.

On behalf of the Royal Society for Public Health, Public Health published original papers, reviews and short reports on all aspects of the science, philosophy, and practice of public health and if of interest to academics and practitioners in public health.

Some examples of open access articles relevant to environmental health include:

Milton et al (2014) Why do local authorities undertake controlled evaluations of health impact? A qualitative case study of interventions in housing

Reddy et al (2014) Prioritising public health guidance topics in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence using the Analytic Hierarchy Process

Reis et al (2013) Integrating health and environmental impact analysis

Tannahill and Kelly (2013) Layers of complexity in interpreting evidence on effectiveness

And there are many more besides.

2015 political manifesto poverty audit

I’m just about to break the promise I made to myself not to write anything here about Thursday’s general election. Therefore my apologies to all reading this, but I’ve just come across the poverty audit of UK political party manifestos produced by the UK representatives of Academics Stand Against Poverty ( Written by some of the UK’s leading public health academics in a very short space of time it makes for fascinating reading and covers most environmental health related areas. The report can be downloaded via:

Owen Jones recent plea for people to vote is also well worth a few minutes of viewing, via:

With best wishes for Thursday, then Friday, maybe Saturday…,


Declaration of interests: member of the Green Party

Housing and human rights

This new report referred to in The Guardian – Just Fair – about high UK rents, unhealthy housing conditions and homelessness, is definitely worth a read.

So is this (In the Shadow of the Tower), from Tom Wall of EHN Online

Following the last blog, this link to food and obesity (also from EHN Online) is also good and a reminder of the constant pressures of marketing, but personally I would add how much the housing environment affects food access and choices.

Food (and housing) for thought, once again.


Food Glorious Food – and hotel living

Originally posted on Blogging about Public Health and Wellbeing:

Did anyone watch Panorama last night on The Great Housing Benefit Scandal? Catch up on iplayer. It tells of the enormous sums of money paid by housing benefit sometimes going to conditions and that are really unsatisfactory, presenting health and safety risks to those who have few (if any) choices, including filthy shared kitchens, inadequate bathroom facilities and cockroach infestations. Many working in housing and environmental health will be only too familiar with similar conditions and how difficult they can be to address particularly when there are few alternate options for so many people trapped in poor housing.

Straight after came MasterChef (again you can catch up on iplayer) . Winston Churchill’s grandchildren and academics sat and enjoyed exquisite foods created by those at the top of their game, though the chefs were really feeling the stress. Many watching (me included) would have loved to have sampled those…

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Are you a houser?

I am nearing the end of some fascinating work on housing in interwar England (more on this another time…) and quite by chance came across a Catherine Bauer who was highly influential in the US advocating for the poor, recognising the relationship of people with their environment and influencing public policy, particularly around housing and planning. She and her colleagues were known as the ‘housers’. What a great term which is now firmly established in my vocabulary!

In parallel in 1930s London, Elizabeth Denby was key in advocating for the urban poor. She wrote about slum dwellers from their perspective, a radical departure from top down and male dominated approaches of the time, and was the first woman to present at a RIBA conference. With Maxwell  Fry, she designed Kensall House in Ladbroke Grove, offering good quality housing, but also much more in terms of quality of life to its new residents.

But back to the US, and all due respect to their research that helps us understand housing and communities far better, in particular around issues like social capital, architecture and surveillance, defensible space and  the urban environment generally.

The US continues to have some radical approaches to housing highly vulnerable people with complex needs who have fallen outside of the mainstream. To watch a short YouTube film on this click here. Informed by this work, Housing First in England is using a similar model to support individuals and meet their needs in new and innovative ways. Their work has been very well evaluated by respected academics, and to find out more click here.

On the subject of complex and chaotic lives, it was in fact a social worker (interestingly not anyone I know in housing) who first referred me to the biography Stuart: a life backwards, which was also made into a film (and for the foodies amongst you, click here). It seems to me that many of the issues are about housing as much as care and support and I recommend that all my students read it. (As a related aside, there is also a body of research on the importance of the humanities in teaching and learning about public health generally. For a very brief introduction and to access some wider references, click here).

Combined, this shows us once again that housing is an unparalleled cornerstone in people’s lives and on so many levels. That is something that I have never doubted. I do however continue to be amazed and inspired by what people have done in the past and continue to do today with integrity and commitment, often against many odds.

So, are you a houser? Could you be? Could we all do more?

Best wishes, Jill