Connecting public health and population sciences
– a message from the Director, Professor Carol Brayne
Public health covers the organised efforts of society to improve and sustain health in populations – integrating population level and individual level action and encompassing many disciplines and approaches. Public health has historically transformed the health of populations around the world, from sanitation to vaccination and tobacco control.
As public health professionals, our objective is to extend healthy lives in populations around the world.
‘New global challenges continue to emerge as demographic and technological changes collide with urbanisation, migration and economic change. Longer lives are coming with a burden of ill health, often linked to poverty.
Epidemics of non-communicable disorders, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes, pose challenges in the developed and developing world alike. Re-emerging communicable diseases and increasing antibiotic resistance are also public health concerns. Inequalities in access to health services and interventions persist or enlarge while new approaches and technologies offer tremendous potential.
The Institute brings together a globally successful cadre of scientists and investigators to propel thinking on public health questions using a rich variety of perspectives, if appropriately developed and deployed.’
Who we are
The Institute is a vibrant and multidisciplinary partnership of academics and public health professionals, based at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine.
The Institute was set up in 1993 to facilitate collaboration between population health scientists and the health service. Now, our strategic connections reach right across the academic, health service and policy arenas for public health. We operate at the heart of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, at the forefront of innovation and research in healthcare. Our health service partners include public health teams in local authorities, Cambridge University Hospitals, Papworth and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trusts. Our partnership at the Institute includes world-class scientists working in many of the disciplines that are needed to address the multifaceted wicked problems that face our global populations, from obesity and cardiovascular disease to dementia and mental illness.
At the Institute, the internationally recognised research focus has been on non- communicable diseases and diseases of ageing; we look in depth at how they reduce well-being in populations in the UK and internationally; and we are concerned with prevention, treatments, interventions and services to reduce the impact of these disorders and improve health.
The PublicHealth@Cambridge Network that the Institute hosts for the University has a wider remit to connect research on all aspects of public health and population health across the six schools of the University and the wider Cambridge research base. The Network has already established an 850-person strong community of engineers, sociologists, clinicians, geographers and many others working on population health and well-being.