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Self-Care Academic and Research Unit (SCARU)

In a recent horizon scanning exercise, the School of Public Health recognised the rising importance of self-care as a means to empower patients and support an NHS fit for 21st Century England, identifying ‘self-care’ as an important area of academic interest. Further to participation in the annual Self Care Conference, the Department of Primary & Public Health recently met with Dr Pete Smith OBE (Co-Chair of the Self Care Forum) and Dr David Webber (Head of the international Self Care Foundation) with a view to help establish Imperial College as an academic base of selfcare in England.

The Self Care Forum is a national charity that seeks to develop and promote self-care throughout life and work, and encourages the recognition and embedding of self-care in all our lives. It defines self-care as the ‘actions that individuals take for themselves and on behalf of or with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness’. This includes Health Literacy. The International Self Care Foundation continues to develop evidence-based self-care concepts and practices, whilst promoting the role of self-care in health worldwide. This tripartite agreement will ensure that Self-Care is researched as a crosscutting theme in the contemporary setting for patient benefit. The Unit will help identify how empowering patients via increased health literacy would result in improved outcomes, lower dependency on NHS resources, whilst also identifying key evidence-based recommendations for the consideration of policy makers.

Activity at the newly established Self Care Academic and Research Unit (SCARU) will focus primarily on producing evidence to advance our understanding of self-care in the context of 21st century healthcare by research. SCARU will work closely with Imperial College Health Care Trust (ICHT) Directorate of Public Health & Primary Care to pilot small interventions and to better understand knowledge attitude & perceptions of self-care from NHS staff and patient perspectives. If you are interested in learning more about SCARU contact Dr Austen El-Osta.

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