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Health and Wellbeing

Achieving good health and wellbeing for all is essential to achieving social justice, and lies at the heart of The Open University’s mission. Health and wellbeing is a high priority within local, regional, national and international policy as well as being highly significant to individuals, families and communities.

Within the context of an ageing demographic, and a corresponding focus on evidence-based interventions to reduce the disease burden, prevent ill-health and promote wellbeing, The Open University has set up the Health and Wellbeing research area.

Health and Wellbeing encompasses the forum for health researchers across The Open University who work collaboratively to achieve internationally leading and excellent research.

Health and Wellbeing is an active community of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in key areas of OU research strength:

Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy

Current Research covers a wide range of cancer diagnostics and therapy topics, including; breast and prostate cancer genetics, identification of new prognostic algorithms, new methods for cancer screening, development of personalised therapies to prevent metastatic spreading, and use of photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment.

Death and Dying

Current Research involves end-of-life care; death, including all forms of reproductive and neonatal loss; bereavement and memorialisation, and focuses on both theoretical and practice-related dimensions. Examples of research include the way in which end-of-life care needs of older people in care homes are met and how care home staff can develop palliative care skills; the way that a good death is understood in adults; the impact of stillbirth and neonatal death on parents; and how the care of dead bodies in hospital mortuaries is translated into dirty work and the impact of this upon professional status. Current team members have an interest in decision-making, core concepts around end-of-life care, and death and bereavement across the life-course.

Digital health and Wellbeing

The OU’s Digital Health and Wellbeing Special Interest Group (DH&W SIG) consists of researchers, academics and business development practitioners from disciplines across the University with expertise in digital games, chemistry, older adults, gamification, language, education, mixed methods, international studies, disability, design, scoping/narrative reviews, music, chronic health conditions, wearable technology, energy, artificial intelligence, active and assisted ageing/living.

Health Discourse

The research work builds around expertise in applied linguistics, narrative studies, psychology, sociology, computing, anthropology, and philosophy.

Mental Health

Current research covers a range of mental health topics including; dementia, diabetes and depression, computerised therapies, adolescent mental health, suicide, and mental health workforce challenges.

Sexuality and Reproductive Health

Research is organised under five substantive topic areas: reproductive control, HIV/AIDS, sexuality & disability, the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people and pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.