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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Public Health

Public Health

Public health and health data science covers a wide range of issues surrounding the collection and analysis of health data in health environments for public health purposes.

Currently, BSMS researchers are working with specialists across different fields on a wide ranging programme of interdisciplinary research around electronic health records (EHR). EHRs are digital stores of patient and population health information with the capacity to be created and shared across different health care settings; they can include information such as consultation notes, treatments, reactions, medical tests etc. Research in this area helps to build a better understanding of our health services, in addition to the patterns of disease and care by opening up the possibilities of collecting and analysing data in more sophisticated ways.

Coordinating a comprehensive vision and research strategy with the Universities of Brighton and Sussex, researchers at BSMS collaborate with colleagues from a range of disciplines including informatics, astronomy, law, philosophy, social science, management and engineering. We have particular interests in the clinical domains of dementia and mental health, and the methodological domains of free text; natural language processing; human factors in data creation; and the ethics of repurposing patient data for research.



The ASTRODEM project aims to create a probabilistic model which will help general practitioners identify patients at high risk of dementia.

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The SPICES project is a team of researchers based at BSMS who are working alongside well-known and trusted local community organisations to help make their communities healthier. The SPICES project has a focus on the heart health of the people within each community. 

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Our researchers 

Dr Elizabeth Ford is currently collaborating with researchers in physics, computer science, informatics and epidemiology to work out ways of extracting the most useful and accurate information from EHRs, such as identifying a range of different codes indicating disease, modelling disease onset and diagnosis, and accessing the free text in the records. She is also engaged in social science projects aiming to understand the clinical and social context in which records are created, and the ethics of repurposing clinical data for research use.

Professor Jackie Cassell has a wide-ranging interest in electronic patient records, focussing on methods for the use of complex information, in particular free text. She has published widely in the field of sexually transmitted infections.

Prof Stephen Bremner is senior statistician at BSMS and supports a range of projects using electronic health records.

Louisa Gagatsis is a PhD student using electronic health records from general practice to understand the association between cancer and dementia.

Prof Harm van Marwijk is interested in supporting GPs by developing risk communication and digital tools to help GPs make difficult decisions. His work spans use of electronic health records as well as developing digital apps for disease prevention.

Prof Carrie Llewellyn has has twenty years’ expertise in applied, patient orientated research across a range of research designs and analysis. She also leads a portfolio of applied behavioural research in sexual health, related mainly to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV prevention, in addition to research furthering our understanding of patient’s preferences for health services.