Shona is Professor of Public Health Policy and Deputy Director of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow. She is a social scientist with a track record in the developing and evaluating public health policy communications. Her research focuses on contemporary policy debates facing biomedical, social and public health to help improve the timely translation of scientific knowledge into policy and practice. The scientific evidence underpinning such debates is often complex and needs to be translated into relatable language for a range of non-expert stakeholders. Working closely with policy makers, practitioners and the public she co-develops projects to generate evidence on how health issues, evidence and policies are being reported and understood with a priority given to policies that aim to improve population health and reduce health inequalities. She has published over 100 scientific papers and recently co-authored a book on “The media and public health: where next for critical analysis?”
Her current work includes leading a large Global Challenge Research Funded multidisciplinary team to support the United Republic of Tanzania implementing their national action plan on anti-microbial resistance (AMR). This work is supporting a larger consortium across East Africa to develop an essential information package on AMR. Other ongoing work includes generating new evidence in Scotland for restricting outdoor advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks; investigating legislation to restrict the marketing of ‘discretionary’ foods high in fat, sugar or salt; examining the regulation on non-broadcast advertising of foods and soft drinks to children; and synthesising evidence on introducing a ‘polluter pays’ tobacco control levy in the UK. Completed research includes media reporting on communications during the H1N1 pandemic; public understandings of H1N1 transmission and infection; reporting scientific facts in the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine controversy; public understandings of childhood infectious diseases; reporting scientific evidence in the introduction of the Human-Papilloma Virus vaccination; policy communications on smoke-free legislation for cars carrying children, e-cigarette regulation, and discourse networks in minimum unit pricing policy for alcohol and the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.
Shona is an Editor for PLoS One, Associate Editor for BMC Public Health, co-convener for the BSA Scottish Medical Sociology Group and regularly sits as an appointed panel member for various grant funders. As part of timely knowledge exchange, Shona is a member and advisor on national public health and third sector organisations including as a member of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group ‘Improving Scotland’s Health: 2021 and Beyond’.