Southampton residents are to benefit from a £5million investment that aims to tackle health inequalities in key community groups across the next five years.
Set to commence in January, the region will become one of 11 local authority areas that have committed to establishing Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRC).
The funding was awarded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) following a successful bid by Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton, Solent University and Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS).
Professor Janis Baird , Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Southampton, said: "This funding award will enable Southampton City Council and its partners to improve the health of the population by strengthening evidence-based practice. Building expertise and capacity in the council team is a vital part of this, and the University of Southampton is delighted to be a partner in this work."
The NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration Southampton will be hosted by the council, working with the universities and SVS to combine expertise in the wider determinants of health.
It will bring together local government and community knowledge with research skills to improve the evidence base on which policy decisions are made in important areas that impact on health and health inequalities.
Councillor Lorna Fielker , Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Health, said: "This funding will enable us to focus on understanding the root causes of poor health and wellbeing which in turn will help us devise policies that can really make a difference to peoples’ lives across the city. I would like to thank all the officers from the council and partner colleagues who have worked so hard to put together such a compelling bid for the funding."
The first wave of NIHR funding saw 13 HDRCs created which have demonstrated a clear commitment to respond to the needs of local under-served groups and areas.
Southampton will now also build plans to actively involve our local populations in the process of identifying steps to improve health outcomes in the target groups, easing the burden on the local NHS and stimulating growth and regeneration in deprived areas.