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With a thriving research environment and research culture, Allied Health at Chester represents the largest research corpus at the university, with internationally-recognised research staff, a vibrant postgraduate student community, and an expanding network of collaboration with professional, community and industry partners. 

The Unit is structured around three primary research strands:

  • Social Science
  • Clinical Science
  • Biomedical Science

These three strands encompass a Pedagogy research cluster, and seven primary research groups:

  • Public Health
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Ageing and Veterans
  • Learning Disabilities and Mental Health
  • Clinical Care
  • Tissue Disease and Repair
  • Cell and Molecular Pathology 

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: The Royal Society of Chemistry, Innovate UK, BBSRC and industry.

43 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 85 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the Chester Medical School Collection, the Clinical Sciences and Nutrition Collection and the Health and Social Care Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester's online research repository.

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

Assessing and managing mental health care in community settings through the development of the Global Mental Health Assessment Tool (GMHAT): According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, more than 80% of people in need of mental health care cannot access it.  As a result, mental health disorders worldwide are under-reported, under-diagnosed, and under-resourced. The Global Mental Health Assessment Tool (GMHAT) has reshaped the identification of mental disorders worldwide, assisting health practitioners in rapid yet accurate assessments, especially amongst hard-to-reach groups (such as refugees). Via ongoing translations into multiple languages, GMHAT and its associated training programme have enhanced the knowledge and skills of frontline health and community workers in India, Colombia and the Middle East, alongside contributing to quality improvement through advancing policies, guidelines, and practice. 

Applying the concept of complexity to enable staff to re-frame service user’ violence and aggression and develop enhanced de-escalation skills: Violence perpetrated against health and social care staff constitutes an issue of long-standing significance yet limited research, especially where the perpetrator exhibits learning disabilities. University of Chester researchers investigated service-user aggression, extrapolating the inter-relationship of individual history, mental health diagnoses, cognitive capacity, and staff perceptions, i.e., ‘complexity’, required to understand service-user interpersonal violence. Training and educational resources were developed to enhance staff de-escalation skills, including a training DVD, and a series of de-escalation workshops; feedback indicated significant changes in staff perceptions and responses toward service-user violence. Furthermore, findings led to revisions in pedagogic practice at the University of Chester.

Research informed change in clinical exercise practice and policies which enhance staff delivery and improve patient care in cardiac rehabilitation, nationally and globally: Cardiovascular disease remains the largest cause of morbidity and mortality globally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has prioritised cardiac rehabilitation services in this matter, because of evidenced impact on: reducing morbidity and mortality, improving quality of life, and reducing healthcare costs. This case study details the impact of research on national and international policies in cardiac rehabilitation. The impact focuses on simple and pragmatic exercise assessment and monitoring techniques that have been promoted as part of widening access, specifically for those in lower resourced settings, to cardiac rehabilitation. The research has revolutionised the training of frontline rehabilitation specialists, contributing to training materials on clinical practice procedures, not only for the key organisations, but also at various large specialist clinical centres in the UK and overseas, benefitting thousands of patients each year. The impact has now attained a global reach as recognised by the WHO.

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