Provide announces new fellowship at Institute launch

  • Date

    Fri 25 Feb 22

Professor Mariachiara Di Cesare stands next to a framed black and white photograph of a mother and two children

Guests from across the health and social care sector were welcomed to the launch of the new Institute of Public Health and Wellbeing where one of the highlights was the announcement of a new research fellowship funded by health partner Provide.

Mark Heasman, Group Chief Executive Director of Provide, made the announcement at the event before handing over a cheque worth £135,000 to Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster.

It will fund a three-year fellowship and extends the long-standing partnership between Essex and Provide which is a community interest company delivering health and social care services in the community.

Mr Heasman said: “It is a real privilege to have such a dynamic and forward-thinking partnership with the University which goes back over more than ten years.

“At Provide we are keen to be at the forefront of fresh and innovative thinking in the health and wellbeing arena and funding this research enables us to do this. The University has great credibility in this area and has pulled together a highly capable leadership team of academics and professionals to drive this forward. We are excited about our ongoing partnership and progressing new ideas and approaches.”

Professor Forster said: “For many years Provide has supported our community to take on key health challenges through research, employability and knowledge exchange activities. This significant investment is testament to Provide’s commitment to improving health and wellbeing and quality of life across the east of England. I’m delighted that with this generous donation we can continue this great work together.”

More than 100 people attended the launch of Essex’s fourth research institute in person, with many more watching remotely from around the world, including Chile, Japan, Holland, Italy, Canada and the USA.

The keynote address was delivered by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, from the Institute of Health Equity, who outlined the findings of his research which has revealed the stark realities of declining life expectancy and widening inequalities across the UK.

Concluding his talk, Sir Michael said that poor governance and political culture had led to social and economic inequalities increasing with reductions in public spending leaving the nation ill-prepared. He recommended that the fair distribution of health and wellbeing should be put at the heart of all government policy.

Founding Director of the new Institute of Public Health and WellbeingProfessor Mariachiara Di Cesare outlined the challenges ahead as well as how the University’s research community is already working to improve health and wellbeing for all.

Closing her speech, Professor Di Cesare said: “Almost two decades ago the Commission on Social Determinants of Health made a call for governments, civil societies, and other organisations to come together in taking action to achieve health equity. The path to social justice. Today we know that we need to do more. We don’t want to be here again in 20 years and ask ourselves which part of this challenge we have not been able to embrace.

“We acknowledge that the public health and wellbeing challenges we are facing are not simple to tackle but they are within reach if we work together.”

Also speaking at the event were Professor Vicky Joffe, Dean of the School of Health and Social Care, who explained how the Institute will support and magnify Essex’s strengths by putting health promotion at its core, and Peter Cook, Assistant Director of Innovation at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, who outlined the development of Community Diagnostic Centres across the region.

The event was closed with the unveiling of a ESCALA artwork (pictured), loaned to the Institute to celebrate its foundation. The photograph, by Chilean artist Martin Weber was unveiled by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst.