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Spotlight on health

Health and wellbeing research, which is a priority research area for The Open University, focuses on well-being at all stages of life from birth to death in a way which reflects The Open University’s social justice mission and the rights of the individual.

Here are some examples of our work:

Talking about … sex and relationships

Sometimes sex can be difficult to talk about, especially for a young person with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.

Dr Sarah Earle, founding member of The Open University Sexuality Alliance, is leading the Talking about … sex and relationships: Young people speak out, which speaks out for all children and young people who are expected to have short lives.

Read more about OU research in Sexuality and Reproductive Health

Removing stigma about abortion

Deciding to have an abortion is a choice made by several women every day. Abortion, however remains politically controversial and can generate stigma.

Research by Professor Lesley Hoggart led to the creation of the MyBodyMyLife exhibition, a space in which anyone could share their stories. This has contributed to opening up conversations about real experiences of abortion, to enable all to speak, to listen, and to understand without judgment.

Making decisions about end of life care

Death is a reality for everyone, particularly when individuals are faced with a life or death decision.

This is why Dr Erica Borgstrom has developed a Life or Death Decisions interactive, which draws on her research about advance care planning, with input from colleagues Dr Rebecca Jones and Dr Mathijs Lucassen, about same-sex relationships in later life.

Let’s talk about death

Death can also be one of those subjects that people tiptoe around which is why Dr Erica Borgstrom has also focused on the language used.

Watch the video to hear what Dr Borgstrom’s research has revealed:

Find out more about OU research into Death and Dying

Using virtual assistants for carers in later life

OU Health and Wellbeing Priority Research Area Research Fellow, Dr Hannah R. Marston and independent researcher Julie Samuels have published a paper, Creating Age-Friendly Communities: Housing and Technology, which examines the national and international age-friendly frameworks for older adults who are carers of dependents with disabilities. The central theme of the paper is how the use of virtual/personal assistants (like Google Home, Amazon Echo and Alexa) can enhance the quality of end-of-life care life.

Find out more about OU research into Digital Health and Wellbeing

Improving outcomes along the way

The stresses of life can take their toll between birth and death.

STEM researchers Dr Duncan Banks and Dr Mohamed Bennasar are addressing this through a new research project with Professor Kardos Risk from Milton Keynes University Hospital. The project, which uses artificial itelligence to predict coronary artery disease, hopes to use clinical databases and machine learning techniques for improving patients’ outcome with chest pain.

Read more about OU Research in Health and Wellbeing

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News & articles

Baby breastfeeding

Research to support women to breastfeed successfully

An OU academic is co-investigator for a project which is studying the levels of support that women need so that they can breastfeed successfully.

1st April 2021
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