When I worked in Ghana in the mid-1990s I loved the Adinkra symbol “Sankofa” which means “look to your past to go forward. It's been around a decade since the Centre launched, and I have been Director for about half that period.
Looking back at our history
Our School has had more than a century of transforming health around the world, with a strong record of research, policy impact and leadership development. In the early days, the School’s research focus was on infections, in particular malaria, and vaccines, on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and on chronic disease including seminal studies on smoking and exercise. As well as topic specific research, the School has led on innovations in research methods including randomised controlled trials, pragmatic evaluation designs and novel survey methodologies.
At the heart of this research was attention to children’s health, especially nutrition, and to women’s health, with decades of research leadership in family planning and maternal mortality measurement. More recently we have developed strengths in “global gap issues" that also reflect the most vulnerable points in the lifecycle including: fetal and newborn health, early child development and adolescent health.
Looking forward at research
Despite significant progress, the health burden related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health remains one of the largest in global health, with almost 10 million deaths each year. We face the challenge of going beyond working on one point in the lifecycle, or one condition or research discipline alone, and the even greater challenge of going beyond the health sector.
Our webpages, and work, are based on a journey through LSHTM’s research around the world by our A, B and C themes (summarised according to focus on Survive, Thrive, or Transform), then through conditions that affect health all throughout the lifecycle and by different sectors. By systematically reviewing our current research, compared to global burden we have identified priorities and gaps, setting a vision for the next generation of research and for research leadership across the globe.