Social sciences shaping health

Health is about people, and is shaped through interactions between the practices of individuals, groups and institutions. By understanding how health is a product of its social and political environment, the social sciences can help shape health improvement as well as reflect on the practices of public health and health research.

Social sciences shaping health

Yet the contributions made by social scientists and their disciplines may not always be visible, especially when incorporated as part of large-scale mixed method and multi-disciplinary designs.

Social sciences shaping health is a new 20-page report that reflects the diversity of social sciences work at the School. It is published to coincide with a symposium held on 31 March 2014.

There are now more than 100 social scientists working at the School, in diverse disciplines including sociology, anthropology, history, geography, and political sciences. All aim to understand health related practices – of individuals, researchers, communities, populations, institutions, and interventions in context, exploring how the operations of public health and research construct health and evidence in different ways.   

“The social sciences provide a critical perspective on the institutions and practices of medicine and health care and also help to deliver more effective interventions for individuals and populations. These contributions are very well illustrated by the array of social scientific studies currently in progress at the School…”  Prof. Mike Kelly, Director, Centre for Public Health, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

This Spring, we also welcome three new senior academic appointments in the social sciences: Janet Seeley, Professor of Anthropology and Health; Simon Cohn, Reader in Medical Anthropology; and Melissa Parker, Reader in Medical Anthropology.