Professor Nick Payne is the Associate Director of the School for Public Health Research, based in ScHARR, as well as being an Honorary Professor of Public Health. His inaugural lecture, titled: "Public Health: The Science and Art" is to be held on Wednesday 27th November.

Classically, public health is described as the study and practice of how to improve the overall health of populations rather than individuals.

The field pays special attention to the social context of disease and health, and focuses on improving health through society-wide measures like education (e.g. on the benefits of physical activity); engineering (e.g. safer water supply and waste disposal); or enforcement (e.g. food safety legislation).

An over-arching definition of public health was coined by Sir Donald Acheson in 1988 as: /“The science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting, protecting and improving health through the organised efforts of society”. /While the emphasis here is on action and intervention, much important activity in public health research and practice has been descriptive and analytical. In recent years, however, more attention has been given to how best to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of public health interventions, and to provide guidance about which should and should not be adopted.

During his lecture, Nick Payne will first discuss the challenges in attempting to develop public health interventions in the first place. He will argue that the process of public health intervention development needs to be improved, and will draw comparisons with the process of developing and introducing clinical treatments such as pharmaceutical products and surgical procedures.

Secondly, he will describe how inequalities in the provision and uptake of health services can be researched, and how there is an important link between clinical interventions, their delivery and availability, and their overall effectiveness in wider public health terms. He will suggest that the distinction usually made between clinical and public health interventions may not always be as clear cut as it might seem at first.

The lecture will be held at 17.15 in the Richard Roberts Auditorium and will be followed by a wine reception at approximately 18.00.

If you would like to attend, please confirm your attendance by 19 November, 2013 using the on-line booking form here

Further details can be obtained from Kirsty Woodhead (K.Woodhead@sheffield.ac.uk / Tel: 0114 222 5453).