Brookes’ role in building healthy cities recognised in University Alliance report

Thursday, 25 February 2016

University Alliance logo

Universities have a unique role to play in making health and wellbeing provision more efficient and responsive to local populations, so people can lead happy, healthy lives, a new research report by University Alliance finds.

The study, Building healthy cities: The role of universities in the health ecosystem is the first of its kind examining the ways in which universities as anchor institutions relate to regional health ecosystems. It argues they are uniquely placed to integrate the complex web of organisations that make up a local health economy.

16 case studies from a number of universities feature as part of the study. Oxford Brookes’ case study is about the new Wellbeing service developed in 2014 to offer crucial support to students through a more centralised service; and a Wellbeing Week led by Brookes Union last year, which saw services from across the University and beyond promote a range of ways for students and staff to improve their wellbeing.

Building healthy cities outlines the increasing contribution universities are making to building healthier cities and regions and tackling public health challenges through research-informed policy and practice in areassuch as built environment, planning and community health.

We welcome this new report from University Alliance highlighting the important role universities, like Oxford Brookes, have in enhancing the health and wellbeing of cities and regions.

Professor June Girvin, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University 

Professor June Girvin, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences said: “We welcome this new report from University Alliance highlighting the important role universities, like Oxford Brookes, have in enhancing the health and wellbeing of cities and regions.

“Educating the health workforce of the future is a key element, and we have a strong reputation for nursing and allied health professional (AHP) degree programmes. We are proud to provide a significant proportion of the region's nursing and allied health professional staff.”

“We are also a key partner in the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (OxAHSC), one of six Centre’s established by the Department of Health in 2013, to bring together universities, industry and local NHS to improve the health and prosperity in our region. By combining our individual strengths in world-class basic science, translational research, training and clinical expertise we are working to research new treatments and improve health education and patient care.”

The report is the first in a series of University Alliance publications this year, focusing on the leadership role of universities as anchor institutions in cities and regions, working within wider ecosystems and responding to common real-world challenges in an enterprising, innovative and creative way.  

University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell said: “University Alliance universities are committed to their cities and regions.  This makes us essential partners for decision makers as powers and budgets are increasingly devolved down.  

"One area where universities can make the difference is in building healthy cities - by training the health workforce, helping to co-ordinate agencies regionally and contributing to better outcomes through research.”

More information can be found at www.unialliance.ac.uk/healthycitieskey