Conducting Research on the Commercial Determinants of Health

Online short course

Overview - Commercial Determinants of Health short course
Short Course postponed to 29 - 31 March 2023 due to strike action​

Message from the course team:

This course has been postponed from 22 - 24 February to 29 - 31 March. As you may know, there is currently strike action across UK academia, and two of the three dates (22 and 23 February) planned for this Short Course unfortunately fall on planned strike days.

The strike action involves many university colleagues and staff, and has the support of the students' unions across the board. The strike is comprised of both a physical and digital picket line, and decisions to strike, or to cross these lines, are personal, and are inevitably shaped by the power differentials across grades and roles; many colleagues are sympathetic with the aims of the industrial action but not in a position to forego pay, and many other colleagues are not members of the union. We wish to respect individual decisions to strike or not, and would like to avoid putting you as students in the position of having disrupted sessions, or of potentially feeling uncomfortable crossing the digital picket line. Therefore, to both maximise your experience as students, and be in support of colleagues who may choose to strike, we decided to postpone the course. 

We look forward to meeting you on 29 - 31 March 2023. Please send in your application by 1 March 2023.

Global ill health due to unhealthy commodity consumption has become a chronic, complex, pervasive problem, the drivers and mechanisms of which are the focus of increasing research. The study of the commercial determinants of health (CDOH) includes analyses of unhealthy commodity industries (UCIs), the adverse health impacts attributable to commercial activities, and the strategies employed by commercial actors to promote products which can damage health. The causal pathways linking commercial products and practices with health are complex. The complexity of the problem is not limited to understanding just the drivers of unhealthy commodity consumption; it extends to the way in which corporate actors shape wider systems and public understanding to support their business interests. These themes are explored in this short course, with a focus on conducting research on the CDOH. 

This 3 day short course aims to impart conceptual understanding of the CDOH as well as the most recent evidence on how they work to impact health. The course also draws on relevant disciplines and explores the methodological implications and data/data sources for research on CDOH. This course is unique in that it approaches unhealthy commodity industries and their impact on health as a whole, rather than focusing on a specific industry (such as tobacco and alcohol). 

The course is delivered in the context of the LSHTM Commercial Determinants Research Group (CDRG) and co-organised by Professor Cécile Knai, Dr Nason Maani (now affiliated with the University of Edinburgh), Professor Mark Petticrew and Dr May van Schalkwyk. You will also have the opportunity to be taught by other internationally renowned experts in commercial determinants’ research across a range of disciplines and focusing on a range of industries, or cross-industry analyses, drawing from the Faculty of Public Health and Policy, and international institutions. 

Course objectives

At the end of the course the students should be able to:

  • articulate what is meant by CDOH, including the conditions and factors that facilitate poor health outcomes due to commercial activity
  • summarise substantive findings from the literature on CDOH
  • understand and practice a range of methods used to conduct research on CDOH
  • explore topics of interest through lectures, self-study, discussions and practicals

Who is the course for?

Practitioners and academics from a range of disciplines who are interested in learning the key concepts and approaches involved in researching CDOH. Participants should have a good command of English, some relevant work or study experience, and will be asked to complete a declaration of interests form upon registration.

Teaching methods

This is an online course which will run over 3 consecutive days. The course will be taught through a combination of pre-recorded materials and live sessions, including lectures, practicals and recommended readings. 

How to apply
How to apply - Commercial Determinants of Health short course

Applications are now closed. You can register your interest and we will let you know when applications reopen.

When applying for discounted fees, please include proof of LMIC or student status alongside your CV. LMIC status can be confirmed with a passport and proof of current residence. 

Please read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.