Public Health

I am an experienced
Public Health Researcher and Analyst
of the social and environmental determinants of health.

What are the social
and environmental determinants?

The social and environmental determinants of health are the factors that affect and support our physical and mental health and well-being in daily life. They must be nurtured in order to provide a stable base from which we can play a meaningful role in the promotion of our own health to ensure we lead the fullest possible lives during our short human lives.

Community-owned wind turbine, Machynlleth, Wales.
Photo: Copyright © Cathy Baldwin 2020


Health Impact Assessment

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process for assessing the effects of social and environmental change on our health and well-being in daily life. A full description is available here. I have led the research and community engagement components of several large-scale HIAs of nationally-significant infrastructure projects in the UK, and contributed research and analysis to others. My work covers high speed rail, nuclear power, nuclear waste and a multipurpose stadium. I have also conducted research on HIAs of built environments developments and petrochemical plants. This works covers Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, USA, Japan and Thailand, See my CV for full details.

Monitoring and Evaluation (MEL)

As part of my international development consulting, I have contributed to monitoring and evaluation systems for global health programmes in Africa. I designed a framework, theory of change, and Logframe with indicators for a complex research programme, Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA), a 9-African country study led from the University of Edinburgh lasting four years and aimed at improving the management of emerging and endemic diseases. The involved countries are: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The M&E Framework can be downloaded here. As a result, I contributed to an expert workshop at Chatham House to provide feedback on a global M&E framework for the World Health Organization to monitor national government policies on ‘One Health’ around the world. I also supervised a desk-top Social Impact Assessment (SIA) of DFID’s Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa Program operating in Cameroon, Uganda, Côte D’Ivoire, Niger, Mali, and Chad. I peer review M&E terms of reference and reports in this thematic area for DfID. I worked briefly as a Public Health Intelligence Adviser for NHS Health Scotland contributing to evaluations with the Scottish context, including a national vaccine transformation programme, and the implementation of a smoking ban in Scottish prisons.

Psychosocial Research

Psychosocial health is concerned with the psychological effects of social experiences, so the effect of factors in the wider society outside ourselves, on our mental health. I conduct research and design assessment processes, and data collection and analysis tools for HIAs and other applied health evaluation procedures to collect data on psychosocial health. I have published scientific articles outlining some of these frameworks and tools, see Psychosocial Health for full details.

Behavioural Science Advisory

I am a trained Social and Behavioural Scientist (PhD Social and Cultural Anthropology with Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Oxford). I am experienced at looking at the social, cultural, and psychosocial factors that underpin human behaviour, attitudes and psychological responses to life experiences, institutional structures, social organisation, and relationships. I use a combination of participatory and non-participatory observational methods, interviews, document review, surveys, and other methods to understand the contexts of human behaviour and the structures, norms, attitudes, values, beliefs and material and economic resources shaping it. My approach can be applied in all cultural and country contexts, and used to understand the behaviours that contribute to health problems, or fail to prevent and control them.

Social and cultural aspects of
infectious diseases

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the social and culture nature of infectious disease transmission and prevention to light. Whether a disease is spread via contact (direct and/or indirect), droplet, or is airborne, vector-borne or common vehicle-borne (food, medication, intravenous fluid, or equipment that transmits infection to multiple hosts), it is inevitably linked to contact between humans or humans and animals or products and equipment that humans use. Disease prevention and management requires people to contribute by adopting specific behaviours and/or avoiding others, or workforces be involved in structured mass prevention. Health promotion and prevention initiatives for limiting or eradicating the spread of communicable diseases require human motivation, capability, pro-health attitudes, willingness to follow and comply with prescribed vaccinations and implement prevention measures, participation in health education and promotion, and for some, employment in disease control roles and teams. Perceptions and understanding of infectious diseases transmission and prevention are invariably culturally specific, and sometimes particular socio-cultural norms influence population willingness to do some of the above. Behavioural and social science has a valuable role to play in infectious disease prevention and health promotion.

I have been peer-reviewer and evaluation framework author of several monitoring and evaluation efforts on infectious disease research and/or prevention programmes. These include ASCEND (for FCDO, ex-DfID) and Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa or TIBA (University of Edinburgh). I led a team of three in undertaking a desk-top Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for FCDO’s (ex-DfID) Tackling Deadly Diseases to Benefit Africa.

I have developed a proposal for a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary applied research-driven, community-based, gender equitable dengue prevention initiative for implementation in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. It (if funded) will explore gender equity between women and men in implementing environmental management-based prevention measures at community level, and government policy contributions to supporting ‘gender transformative’ prevention. Comprising three parts, these are: 1) gender equality and social inclusion training for vector control and Ministry of Health staff, a music, drama and dance-based video to support community-level health education/promotion and a micro entrepreneurship scheme to support female entrepreneurs to run small vector-control businesses.

Anglesey, Wales.
Photo: Copyright © Cathy Baldwin 2020.

Lake Naivasha, Kenya.
Photo: Copyright © Cathy Baldwin 2020.