Child health and wellbeing is the foundation of lifelong mental and physical health, as well as human and social capital formation, yet UNICEF recently ranked the UK bottom of the league table of 21 high income countries. It is strongly affected by family health and functioning (e.g. parenting practices), neighbourhood factors (e.g. access to play facilities), health services (e.g. inequalities in access), school environments (e.g.literacy), and broader social factors (e.g. income inequality and poverty). Cities such as Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford bear witness to the fact that many children are failing to obtain the foundation required for lifelong health, with diseases such as obesity reaching epidemic levels amongst parts of the population. There are many burgeoning problems that need urgent intervention to prevent a generation being blighted by lifelong health problems.
Our theme focuses predominantly on applied research. However we have an excellent track record of translation of research into practice. In our pilot CLAHRC we have established successful Communities of Practice for health visitors, midwives, paediatricians, GPs and school nurses. We are building on these networks. We are also closely involved in the new AHSN Transformation Academy for Yorkshire and the Humber which will provide a quality improvement network.
Through the Born in Bradford cohort we have strong public engagement which has been a powerful mechanism for promoting change. We also have strong senior NHS, Local Authority and media engagement in the study and have been able to harness each of these links to promote change in policy and practice.