By Professor Lis Neubeck, Centre for Cardiovascular Health, and Professor Jill Stavert, Centre for Mental Health Practice, Policy and Law Research
University research at its best is about creating the kind of high-quality knowledge that benefits the social, cultural and economic life of the society we serve.
It brings together academic staff, students and external partners in a united quest to solve real-world problems, influence policy for the better and deliver societal change.
Edinburgh Napier, like other universities, aims to develop outward-looking studies that can transform communities, and our latest research developments are quite literally all about hearts and minds.
For in July the university launched two new research centres - The Centre for Cardiovascular Health and The Centre for Mental Health Practice, Policy and Law Research.
These centres focus on key global challenges and will lead ground-breaking work to improve policy, practice and legal frameworks in both cardiovascular and mental health.
Cardiovascular disease affects 15 per cent of people living in Scotland and has devastating consequences for affected people and their families. There is lots of research developing new treatments for cardiovascular disease, but getting these treatments into policy and practice so that improves the lives of people with cardiovascular disease remains a key challenge.
The new Centre for Cardiovascular Health unites researchers from all schools of the university, and the highly successful innovative nursing and allied health workforce development programme. This combination of research and teaching focuses on innovative solutions to improving patient-centred cardiovascular health.
Our researchers are leading Artificial Intelligence and data driven solutions to cardiovascular health detection; investigating the health of cardiac cells and understanding the ageing process; leading innovative public health programmes to increase physical activity options; and improving monitoring and management of common conditions such as high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms.
Our technology-based solutions have enabled people to continue to have access to healthcare even during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are working with clinicians and patients to understand which elements of technology should be retained beyond the pandemic to ensure equitable access to a range of healthcare services.
Combining this cutting-edge research with our research-driven health education programmes ensures that we will reduce the evidence-practice gap, improving cardiovascular health opportunities for all of Scotland.
The new Centre for Mental Health Practice, Policy and Law Research will also bring together researchers from across the university and beyond.
It has been estimated that one in four persons globally will be living with mental illness at some stage in their lives and more than this will experience mental capacity issues or mental distress arising from a number of different causes. This ratio has been predicted to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The solutions to addressing real life challenges associated with maintaining good mental health and supporting persons living with mental ill-health and capacity issues require multi-disciplinary and integrated approaches. The new centre will bring together researchers and stakeholders through research, learning and consultancy to inform and influence the realisation of everyone’s right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of mental health and the capabilities to achieve this during normal times and national emergency.
This article originally appeared in the Friends of the Scotsman section of The Scotsman newspaper