Public Health News

A recent new appointment in Liverpool, Professor Sarah Rodgers is working with new colleagues and also continuing to work in collaboration with HDRUK colleagues in Wales and further afield to develop new projects using emerging libraries of algorithms identifying various health conditions, that are sensitive to changes in various non-health care interventions.

Her projects include:

(1) An NIHR PHR project using the SAIL Databank to investigate the mental health and wellbeing impact of access to natural spaces. We are creating a national green and blue spaces longitudinal data resource and using validated mental health algorithms to investigate the impact of natural environments. We are also using individual level National survey for Wales data linked at the individual level to assess the impact of visits to outdoor parks on wellbeing.

(2) The development of a project investigating the impact that small home modifications have on fall related emergency hospital admission for older people with different frailty levels. Sarah is working with clinical colleagues who developed an electronic frailty index (eFI) on a different databank. They have validated the eFI algorithm in SAIL and are now using longitudinal modelling techniques to calculate the impact on delayed discharge from hospital to return to their own home, or delay in moving to a care home. Sarah pioneered the development of the Residential Anonymised Linking Field and is now developing a specific version for care homes during this project that is much in demand.

(3) Sarah is working with HDRUK Scotland and the Dementias Platform UK to implement their new dementia case identification algorithm. Working with colleagues in NWC CLAHRC and HDRUK Wales & NI, they are working to deploy the dementia case algorithm in the SAIL Databank on an inequalities project. They hope that, if investigations uncover potential difficulties in access to care homes and treatment due to deprivation, their work will influence policy and practice to minimise these in future.

(4) Sarah is part of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research and her doctoral student created the Welsh Asthma Observatory. He conducted an extensive international scoping study identifying hundreds of different algorithms to be deployed on routinely collected data. He then developed validated asthma algorithms that are available to use as a resource. They used the algorithms in an air pollution project investigating impact of air pollution on educational attainment for GCSE students who were recently treated for asthma treatments by their GP. Two of Sarah’s former doctoral students now have postdoctoral positions and are contributing to this work.