This PhD is part of the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership between Public Health England, King’s College London and the University of East Anglia.
For many emergency events ranging from floods to infectious disease outbreaks, the mental health effects on the population may be large (i). COVID-19 has caused unprecedented impact on our population, including considerable mental health impacts (ii). Yet our ability to monitor the mental health consequences of events on the population in real-time (i.e. day to day) is limited. This PhD provides an exciting opportunity to explore the potential of data on those consulting with health care services to provide early warning of mental health impacts and follow these through events (iii). Such information may be used to develop early interventions. This PhD will build on work undertaken by PHE, The Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre, and UEA to explore the impact of COVID-19 on health care usage (iv).
At the outset you will explore methods through which information on population mental health can be extracted from primary care databases to develop indicators of mental health. Using these methods, you will then extract mental health indicators for several previous events (e.g. flooding, school closures) to explore their impact on mental health. Finally, you will design tools (e.g. user-centric dashboards) to feedback such information to GPs / incident directors in real time.
You will be trained in the analysis and interpretation of large datasets using statistical and machine learning techniques. The PhD will offer a great opportunity to gain skills in epidemiological methods. Working with PHE provides access to infectious disease experts and public health practitioners.
Enthusiastic with a good first degree (1st or 2:1) or Masters in a quantitative discipline. Experience of Public Health, Epidemiology and statistics would be advantageous. You will have an interest and ability to handle large datasets and a keen interest in how primary care and other real-time data can be used to inform public health.