Blog posts

Turning up: increasing cervical cancer screening uptake

How do you remember your health appointments? Do you set a reminder on your phone, or wait for a health care provider to send a text? When invited for cancer screening do you book right away, or ignore it or forget as it makes you anxious, or as you have too much else going on?

These are some of the questions Dr Gaby Judah, a psychologist working on behaviour change at the Patient Safety Translational Research Centre at the Institute of Global Health Innovation, considers in her research to encourage people to attend their NHS cancer screening appointments.

Give me space: how our co-designed face masks can help vulnerable people feel safer

Earlier in the pandemic, around 5% of Northwest Londoners were considered clinically extremely vulnerable and advised to ‘shield’. Although the shielding programme has ended, with the vaccination programme helping to lower people’s risk of becoming seriously ill, many are still avoiding social contact to continue to protect themselves, particularly as new variants continue to circulate.

Although all legal restrictions have ended in the UK, protective measures such as face mask wearing are still considered important to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable groups. Charities have urged the population to continue to perform these behaviours to keep those at risk safe, while also allowing them to reconnect with society.

Using design thinking to solve healthcare challenges – studying our MSc in Healthcare and Design

Through our Master’s in Healthcare and Design, we aim to enable creative thinkers and change-makers to drive forward innovative, human-centred approaches to healthcare service delivery. If you want to lead innovation in healthcare systems, services and spaces, this is the course for you. To find out what it’s like to study with us, we caught up with Jeremy Chui, one of our alumni, who was awarded a distinction for this programme. Read on to explore some of the design projects that he worked on during his studies.

Combining medicine and design

‘We were born global’ – IGHI’s latest Health Innovation Prize winners share their journey to success

During our final year at Imperial College London, the three of us – Akhilesh, Jeannine and Hansa – came together with the vision to reduce healthcare inequity. Akhilesh was born and raised in London and is of Sri Lankan heritage. Hansa was born in India where she remained well into her teenage years and then immigrated to the UK with her family to finish high school, and has been in the UK for nearly a decade. Jeannine was born and brought up in Pakistan, where she is currently based, and spent four years at Imperial in the UK. So we have always known we wanted to break startup norms by starting off a business in a low-income country and then expanding that to the UK.

What’s it like to study our MSc in Health Policy?

Our MSc Health Policy Programme aims to equip students with the skills to critically evaluate existing and emerging health policies and nurture future health policymakers, both in the UK and internationally. This year, we have digitised and refreshed our course to provide students with a more flexible and engaged learning approach.

We’re pleased to have three students share their stories with us. They talk about their motivations to apply, enjoyable module experiences and how they use the knowledge they gained in their current work. Read their stories below and get a flavour of what it’s like to study with us. 

Making care safer: What’s it like to study our MSc in Patient Safety?

Last year, our Institute launched a new fully online MSc Patient Safety Programme. Developed in partnership with Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the course aims to develop global leaders and changemakers in patient safety who can catalyse improvements and innovation in healthcare practice across the globe. As we open applications for its second year, we’re delighted to have a student from our first cohort, Charlotte Parsley, share her experience of the course with us.

“I have a clinical background in midwifery, specifically in patient safety and clinical governance. I chose to further my education with Imperial due to my strong interest in patient safety and Imperial’s academic reputation.”

Re-designing healthcare environments with a healing architecture – The Imperial Breast Unit

The Imperial Breast Unit is an internationally renowned breast research centre and one of the largest breast units in the UK. The unit receives 150 new patients per week and around 400 to 450 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed each year. According to the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (2011/2012), nine out of ten of the lowest-rated cancer patient experiences are at large London NHS Trusts.

Mr Daniel Leff, consultant breast surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and programme lead for IGHI’s MSc Healthcare and Design, worked with postgraduate students from a range of healthcare and design backgrounds on the course using human-centred design to improve the patient experience at the Imperial Breast Unit.

Setting the direction for mobile messaging in population screening

Mobile messaging has now become an essential tool to help healthcare services communicate and connect with patients. In a recent US study, 70.5% of patients surveyed used a form of text messaging to manage their general health. Not only are these messages a cost-effective, and convenient way of communicating, but they are also extremely versatile. In addition to reminding patients about upcoming appointments, they can be used to give endorsement, by highlighting your GP “recommends regular screening as an important health check” or to give medical updates. The latter was crucial during COVID-19 when access to physical services was limited.

Breaking down barriers to access academia

Last year, we proudly launched our Julia Anderson Training Programme, a paid internship scheme for people who have little or no work experience, as we know how difficult it can be for people to get that first foot in the door. This programme is the first of its kind at Imperial, giving people the opportunity to boost their skills while working on an impactful programme of work at IGHI. Our first trainees, who you can read about on our website, worked on a range of topics including education, digital health, and data science.

Now open for its second round of applications, Clarissa Gardner, Research Assistant at the Institute Global Health Innovation, who led the creation of the programme, gives her thoughts on why now, more than ever, these placements are needed. 

As a research topic, Long Covid found me

I usually say that as a research topic ‘Long Covid’ found me.

In March 2020 I was busy with my research in cancer early diagnosis, learning health systems and artificial intelligence for improving diagnosis in primary care. I caught COVID-19 in mid-March, just before the first lockdown, with moderate symptoms; cough, fever, but my blood oxygen levels were fine.