Promoting lifelong health: addressing long-term health conditions

Promoting lifelong health: addressing long-term health conditions

It's well understood that within society in the UK there is health inequality, and that what happens in a child’s first 1,000 days – from conception to three-years-old – has a lifelong impact on health.

However, our new health programme, launching in September 2024, looks far beyond those first 1,000 days, to explore health equity throughout a person’s lifetime. We want to rebalance the opportunities for people who have not had health equity, looking at the issue in a positive way. Rather than talking about health inequalities, we want to look at equitable healthcare provision, regardless of people’s circumstances, and how we can bring this about.

Andrew Rowland is a Churchill Fellow and Consultant Paediatrician who specialises in safeguarding vulnerable children. Joanne Bosanquet MBE is a Registered Nurse and qualified Public Health Nurse. Both are Churchill Fellowship Advisory Council members.

Andrew said:

“We wanted to run a programme focusing on health equity because we know there are disadvantaged groups; some are disadvantaged because systems and processes are not set up to adequately protect their health; other groups are disadvantaged because services find it challenging to deliver to them.

“This programme wants to encompass not just the big health impacts that effect people in the current time, but also social determinants of health and health equity. We want to look right from the very start of the first 1,000 days – from the point of conception to a child’s first three years – because there is significant evidence that the health of the mother during a pregnancy is related to the child’s health after birth and after that, a child’s health has clear implications for their health in adulthood."

Joanne said:

“I am approaching this from the public health point of view. I have worked in every area of nursing in my 35-year career, with people and families, at a community level in the prevention space and at population level in policy. This means I can see gaps and what is missing.

“We have an ageing population, and where we have inequalities and wide social determinants that impact on a family’s or community’s ability to live well until their death, we need to understand why and to bring about change.

“My goal is to see strong assertive leadership from nurses, student nurses and midwives in the UK leading the way in holistic health and wellbeing. For them to use the skills, knowledge and experience they have with confidence to lead the way into the next decade.”

Andrew and Joanne are looking forward to seeing what projects are submitted, exploring what is deliberately a very broad topic.

Andrew said:

“My clinical background is as a paediatrician, so I’m really interested in receiving applications to do with safeguarding vulnerable children, because the link between childhood experiences and later life is really well made. Such projects might look at what we can do to intervene at an early stage.

“But this is just one aspect. We are looking at the whole life course. In the first 1,000 days we are looking at a primary preventative approach, optimising maternal health and children’s health in their first three years. Beyond that age, we are then looking at how to prevent health conditions getting any worse, through secondary or tertiary interventions. And we are looking at both physical and mental health.

“I am really excited to see what projects are put forward. We want to create lasting changes for communities in society and we want to look at health outcomes for individuals and groups of people, among diverse populations.”

Joanne’s main area of interest is in nursing and midwifery. She said:

“I would like to see situations where a salutogenic approach is taken, where you look for the positives before the negatives – explore what is good and what we can build on, and not focus on what is wrong.

“I’d like to see evidence from countries where health and wellbeing are nurse-led, where this is working well, and this model is accepted by that community. It flips the narrative from medicine-led to a holistic approach.

“I would also like to see projects that look at nurse coaching, which is still quite niche but becoming more prominent in the US. This uses holistic practice in a community, which is nurse-led, working with people and families, where we are looking at health and wellbeing and preventing illness occurring in the first place.

“A huge amount of work has gone into framing this new Churchill Fellowship programme, which will be a life-changing and possibly career-changing opportunity for whoever successfully applies.”

Our Promoting lifelong health Fellowship programme will open for applications on 4 September 2024.


The views and opinions expressed by any Fellow are those of the Fellow and not of the Churchill Fellowship or its partners, which have no responsibility or liability for any part of them.


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