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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Primary care and public health

BSMS > Research > Primary care and public health

Primary Care and Public Health

At BSMS we believe that population health lies at the heart of effective healthcare. Our teaching and research in primary care and public health helps us develop ways to improve the health of all those in our society. We aim to evaluate and improve the health and healthcare of all those in our society, particularly the most vulnerable. The department of primary care and public health brings together a wide range of disciplines to address clinical and healthcare challenges. These include general practice, public health, epidemiology, statistics, health informatics, psychology and behavioural medicine.

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Our mission statement

Our overall objectives are to improve the health and wellbeing of the population and enhance our understanding by:

  • Educating the next generation of NHS doctors and general practitioners and building capacity in primary care and public health. 
  • Conducting high quality research to inform patients and clinicians, and to guide the development of health services. 
  • Working with regional NHS partners and public health teams in local authorities, to influence health policy and strategy, and to advocate for the health needs of the community. 

Our core values are: 

  • Dialogue and listening: empathy, connection, continuity and sustainability of care.
  • Prevention of disease and early diagnosis (i.e. health and lifestyle).
  • Reducing health inequalities.
  • Taking a multi-disciplinary approach.
A student practises taking a patient's blood pressure

Our department and teaching

The department of primary care and public health coordinates general practice, public health and research methods teaching throughout the undergraduate medical curriculum, and offers key statistics and research methods support to staff and students throughout the medical school.

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Research areas

The department of primary care and public health has key strengths in the following research areas.

Primary Care and Health Services Research 

Our research focuses on management of long-term conditions in primary care, especially conditions which affect the elderly, such as dementia. We are interested in addressing issues of frailty, multi-morbidity and in developing tools to help support GPs with an increasing workload and an increasingly elderly population. In addition we are interested in using GP patient records for understanding disease epidemiology in primary care.

Epidemiology and Public Health

We undertake an extensive portfolio of research on the epidemiology of chronic diseases, especially cancer and respiratory diseases, and engage with local public health teams to address public health issues in the local and national population, such as cancer awareness, smoking cessation, and community mental health. 

Sexual Health and Behavioural Medicine 

We are interested in reducing the burden of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, by using behavioural and psychological interventions to help individuals reduce risky sexual behaviour. In addition, our research identifies broader health inequities experienced by those identifying as LGBT.

Health Data Science and Electronic Health Records 

We use electronic patient records from general practice for epidemiological studies, and we are also interested in developing methodologies which help researchers understand and optimise the use of records for the research context, such as integrating clinical information from free text.

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Partners and networks

We maintain close links with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network and through this have links with more than 200 general practices around Kent, Surrey and Sussex to recruit patients for research trials and studies.

We have strong associations with the local clinical trials unit, with the local council and with Public Health England.

In all our areas of research, we are keen to develop links with colleagues at our parent universities, the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton, the local health economy and across the UK and also internationally, for instance in several projects funded by the European Union, with African countries and China.

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Meet our team

See all of our team members in one place.

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Read more about our latest achievements and publications in the Primary Care and Public Health department.

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