May 02

CHSS Newsletter Spring 2019

Our Spring 2019 CHSS Newsletter is now available to read or download.

This issue is full of research news including new projects with topics ranging from Yoga for wellbeing, to increasing NHS workforce research capacity to improve clinical practice.

Recent events reported include the successful launch of a new video to promote breastfeeding among the Kent Roma community, co-produced by CHSS Visiting Darzi Fellow Philippa Burdon. Slovakian Roma mothers talk about their personal experiences feeding their children.

‘CHSS People’ on p6 meets Research Fellow and Senior Statistician Tracy Pellatt-Higgins, and p7 features publications that have attracted considerable attention.

You can subscribe to future issues by email. Our online archive is also available.

We always welcome feedback, suggestions or comments. Contact

Apr 30

Darzi project film launched to promote breastfeeding

A film to promote breastfeeding among Kent’s Slovakian Roma community was formally launched on Thursday 25th April at the Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate.

CHSS Visiting Darzi Fellow Philippa Burden co-produced the video which documents women’s own views and experiences. The event attracted over 70 people who participated in a workshop about next steps supporting breastfeeding with the Roma community. The celebratory launch – red carpet and all – was followed by a traditional Slovakian lunch.

Philippa said “CHSS has been a welcoming, supportive place to be a Darzi Fellow – thank you all – and I’m ending my Darzi year on a very positive note.  Do watch our film!”

For more details of the event and the film, view recent local press coverage:

Isle of Thanet News

Hawkinge Gazette:



You can view the film along with other CHSS videos here.

Mar 29

NEW article! Digital healthcare – let’s not leave patients behind!

CHSS visiting Darzi Fellow Dr James Hadlow (pictured) and CHSS Clinical Professor Chris Farmer have written a timely article on Digital Healthcare, newly published in the New Statesman Tech.  The fascinating piece raises ethical and moral questions about a ‘digital future’ which is already with us, highlighting the vital importance of meaningful patient engagement in this area. Work is being done to define  ‘good vs bad’ technology, but more needs to be done to decide what good and bad means for patients.

‘As clinicians we have a responsibility to do the best for our patients. Proper engagement of our patients to ensure fully informed consent is imperative.  It is not good enough to innovate without engaging the public or properly considering the moral and ethical dilemmas which might arise as the result of their design and implementation. This duty lies not only with technologists and scientists, but also with clinical staff to exercise their own moral judgement in the appropriate use of these technologies’.

Read the full article here. 



Mar 15

Researchers find way to predict kidney transplant rejection

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Transplantation and the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre have found a novel way to predict rejection of a kidney transplant before it happens by monitoring the immune system of transplant patients.

The research, featured in journal EbioMedicine showed that a signature combination of seven immune genes in blood samples can predict rejection earlier than current techniques. Monitoring these markers in transplant patients with regular blood tests could help doctors intervene before any organ damage occurs and improve outcomes for patients.

CHSS Clinical Professor Chris Farmer is Consultant in renal medicine at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) was a co-author of the report. He said: ‘this was a large multi-centre study trying to find ways of improving transplant outcome through better surveillance. These results are very exciting and may pave the way for reducing the need for kidney biopsies in kidney transplant recipients and improving tailored use of anti-rejection treatments’.

A renal transplant offers the best treatment for patients whose kidneys have failed, with around 3,000 carried out annually in the UK. Acute rejection occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack the donated organ. This is a common complication in the first year after the transplant, affecting around two in 10 patients.Currently, acute rejection can only be confirmed by taking a biopsy of the transplanted organ. While acute rejection can be treated, this can only be done when the organ is already affected and damage has already occurred.

Once the new technique is validated further, it has the potential to offer clinicians the use of a simple blood test to predict rejection. Being able to intervene before the event will help prevent damage to patients and extend the life of the transplanted organ.

Read more on the Medical Research Council website

Feb 11

CHSS Professor receives MBE at Buckingham Palace

Congratulations to Sally Kendall, who received her MBE on 31 January in recognition of 30 years of research in nursing and health visiting. As Professor of Community Nursing and Public Health she is renowned for practice-based research in the area of parenting and maternal and child health. Her parenting work is internationally recognised and implemented from Kent to Japan.

Sally said: ‘I am delighted and honoured on behalf of the nursing profession to receive the MBE. It is a particular privilege to be honoured for research in nursing. It has been an important part of my work to raise the profile of nursing and develop evidence-based practice.’

She is currently leading a national study of breast-feeding promotion ‘Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly’, in collaboration with Yale School of Public Health. Sally is also Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University in Western Australia, contributing to research on Aboriginal Health in families and communities.

She is also co-editor in chief of Primary Health Care Research and Development, an internationally-recognised journal, and co-chair of the International Collaboration of Community Health Nursing Research, a UK charity supporting international community nursing research dissemination.

Sally Chairs the European Primary Care Forum, which seeks to develop international perspectives on community health initiatives.

Read more about Sally’s research in our latest newsletter.


Feb 08

CHSS Newsletter Winter 2018/19

Our latest CHSS Newsletter is now available to read or download.

We are working on some new and exciting research including our cover story around improving migrant health and an NIHR project to find the optimum team climate for General Practice.

Events news includes a recent World Cafe Dementia event, ‘Tea, Technology and Me’ and a FREE half-day information event around NIHR funding. This will be hosted by the Research Design Service South East in London on 8 May.

Health Psychologist and Research Fellow Dr Sarah Hotham features in our regular ‘CHSS People’ slot.  We also report on Sarah’s work on social prescribing to help patients with social problems and its potential to reduce the burden on health and social care services.

You can subscribe to future issues by email. Our online archive is also available.

We always welcome feedback, suggestions or comments. Contact



Dec 19

Congratulations to Dr Kate Hamilton-West

We are delighted to announce that Dr Kate Hamilton-West, CHSS Reader in Health Psychology, has been appointed Faculty Director of Medical Social Sciences. This is a new role within the Kent and Medway Medical School, a joint venture between the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.

Kate will work across the Faculty to develop a strong medical social sciences curriculum for KMMS and bring together colleagues to develop research and innovation. She will take up the new part-time post at the beginning of January, whilst continuing in her current CHSS role.

Kate has wide experience of working with the NHS in different roles and considerable medical education experience – read her recent blog in Times Higher:

She said: ‘The new Medical School is a really important development for the region. I am very much looking forward to this new role, building on my background as an academic and practitioner health psychologist with a passion for translating research evidence into practice via health professional training and healthcare innovation.

‘As Kent Academic Lead for the NIHR Research Design Service South East, I am aware of the need to develop clinicians with an appetite for improving healthcare through research. My vision for the role is to develop teaching, research and innovation. I have already been contacted by many people interested in contributing to this. It is really encouraging to see such high enthusiasm for medical social sciences’.

Dec 10

Medal for ‘Team CHSS’ at ESPCH Awards!

Congratulations to CHSS Research Fellows Dr Rowena Merritt and Dr Sarah Hotham!

They were delighted to receive the ESPCH (European Society for Person Centered Healthcare) silver medal for their research into experience of people with Parkinsons across Europe.

Sarah and Rowena (pictured) attended a special awards ceremony on 6 December, held in London, where they collected their medal and a certificate for their publication The subjective experience of Parkinson’s disease: a qualitative study in 60 people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s in 11 European countries.

The European Society for Person Centered Healthcare is a professional body of multi-disciplinary clinicians, academics, expert patients and patient advocacy groups.

Nov 22

CHSS Newsletter Autumn 2018

Our latest CHSS Newsletter is now available to read or download.  

This issue includes recent events including our highly successful ‘NHS at 70’ public Q&A held in July.

Research updates include Professor Chris Farmer’s work to develop a tool to assess risk of further renal damage in pregnancy. The aim is to help women with chronic kidney disease make informed choices. We also feature the NIHR Research Design Service South East, who have just launched their new five year contract.

On p6 our regular CHSS People slot is given over to Ruth Adams, a member of our Public Engagement ‘Opening Doors to Research Group.

You can subscribe to future issues by email. Our online archive is also available.

We always welcome feedback, suggestions or comments. Contact 

Sep 21

WATCH! New videos from EXCEPT project

Two new videos are now available to watch here from the EXCEPT Project (Social Exclusion of Youth in Europe: cumulative disadvantage, coping strategies, effective policies and transfer)


  • The first (below) was filmed on 25 April at the Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons where findings from the EXCEPT project were presented to invited stakeholders, young people and guests.


  • Recently, Dr Olena Nizalova, who led the UK EXCEPT team, delivered a presentation as part of the University’s Think Kent Lecture series.  Youth Unemployment: Addressing Long-Term Effects on Health and Wellbeing.

    Follow this link to view the Lecture


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