Talking about ... public health, choices and inequalities

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Join us for the brand new 2020/2021 Lancaster University Public Lectures Series 'Talking about...'

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During this lecture, Dr Rachel Marshall, Dr Rachel Tyrrell-Smith, Professor Catherine Walshe and Professor Nancy Preston focus on the impact of the pandemic on care and healthcare.

I) Protecting and prohibiting: Volunteering in the time of Covid?

One of the less recognised impacts of the pandemic has been on the contribution that volunteers make. There are 1.5 volunteers to every paid member of staff across UK hospices, and so their contribution is central to the way that services operate.

In this first part of the lecture, Professor Catherine Walshe (Health Research, Lancaster University) draws on information from the multi-national ‘CovPall’ study to understand the impact of the pandemic on volunteering in palliative care, and how this can be addressed for the future.

II) How intensive do I want my care to be?

If there is a point in the future when you can’t say what kind of care you want to receive, it can be helpful to share some thoughts about your preferences for treatment and care in advance. Often only people facing a life-threatening condition consider this, but during the pandemic, we all face these issues, whether ourselves or someone we care for.

In this second part of the lecture, Professor Nancy Preston (Health Research, Lancaster University) introduces the concept of advance care planning, explores how it works, and discusses some new research relating to advance care planning during the pandemic, conducted in care homes and palliative care units.

III) Food and Health: How a pandemic has uncovered the inequalities and health problems with our current food system

The number of people accessing support such as food banks and clubs has increased dramatically since the first lockdown. In addition, poor health linked to diet and nutrition has also emerged as risk factors leading to a more serious illness from the virus. Whilst the pandemic has amplified these trends, lack of access to enough, and the right kind of food, has been a fundamental problem with our current food system for many years.

In the last part of this lecture, Dr Rachel Marshall (Lancaster Environment Centre, FoodFutures, Lancaster University) and Dr Rachel Tyrrell-Smith (Lancaster City Council, FoodFutures and Lancaster District Food Poverty Alliance) discuss the links between food and health, and how our current economics and an industrial food system are driving negative public health trends.

The talks will be followed by a Q&A session during which you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers via the Microsoft Teams chat function.


About the speakers

Professor Catherine Walshe (Health Research) researches palliative and end of life care provided not only to people experiencing life-limiting illness but also in informal and professional caring contexts to provide excellent and appropriate care.

Professor Nancy Preston (Health Research) specialises in research into palliative care, symptom control and how best to support patients. Professor Preston is involved with the local Specialist Palliative Care Network, which is a collaboration between clinicians and academics.

Dr Rachel Marshall (Lancaster Environment Centre) works on food systems and how engagement at local and national levels can support the transition to more sustainable and resilient food systems. Dr Marshall is interested in how knowledge exchange between researchers and the wider community can deliver greater societal impact from research.

Dr Rachel Tyrrell-Smith is Public Health Project Coordinator at Lancaster City Council, working with local community stakeholders to tackle food poverty, social isolation and health inequalities.


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