Posts By / ssharma

HSC wins at PGR conference!

 

HSC was well represented at the BU 6th Annual Postgraduate Conference 2014 with talks under the themes Lifelong Health and Wellbeing and Ageing, Society and Dementia by:

Jonathan Branney :“Is spinal manipulation associated with changes in cervical inter-vertebral motion”

Ashley Mitchell: “Can we fix it?!: Understanding the impact of children’s hospices on parental relationships of life-limited and life-threatened children and young people”.

Ben Hicks: “Using commercial computer game technology to benefit men with dementia residing in rural areas of Dorset”

Mevalyn Cross (HSC) won a prize for best xxx oral presentation with her work with Les Todres on “The delivery of humanly sensitive care in an older person’s hospital setting: A phenomenological and action research study”.

Also winning a prize for her photo, Sheetal poster, photo and oral presentations on “Pregnant and dirty: A qualitative study of childbirth practice, beliefs and myths in Nepal”. The paper is currently under review by eBU. eBU editor Andrew Harding, PGR, HSC was present and encouraged conference attendees to submit to eBU, as their abstracts will be published in eBU.

Also present was first year Clare Farrance part of the organising committee with Ashley and a chair. And a theme Leader: Professor Edwin van Teijlingen, Professor of Reproductive Health Research who spoke of student engagement with their profile pages, blogging and publishing endeavours.

Highlights included a keynote presentation by Professor Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics, from the University of Reading who twice has had implants which permitted manipulation as part of robot learning and appears in the 2013 edition of the Guinness World Records Book for the first direct electronic communication between two nervous systems with his wife Irena. His work centers on artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering and control systems.

Definitely a conference with something for everyone and a opportunity to engage with other schools.

Other presentations from HSC included:

Photos presentations:

Jib Acharya: “The Raute: An Ethnic and Nomadic Group (the hunters and gatherers) estimated from 900 years ago and few remaining only in South Asia”

Clare Farrance: “Keeping your fingers crossed for a health old age”

Posters included:

Jib Acharya: “A Comparative study on Nutritional Problems in Preschool aged children of the Kaski District of Nepal”

Jennifer Roddis: “Experience of interviewing: Face-to-face-v-Telephone”.

 Thank you to Vanora Hundley and Jen Lemmon for their feedback.


Santander and BU Research mobility link continues.

As sponsors of Formula One, Santander were lucky enough to secure some time with the Formula One racing driver Jenson Button to meet some of the Formula Santander Scholars, along with Santander Chairman, Emilio Botin. Two research students from the Media School and one from HSC were able to travel for research purposes as recipients of the Santander Award and to a reception at the British Medical Association House on Tavistock Square, London on Wednesday 26th June for an address from the Chairman and some words from Jensen. The recipients received certificates and there was an opportunity for a Question and Answer session with Jensen.

http://www.santander.com/csgs/Satellite/CFWCSancomQP01/en_GB/Corporate/Press-Room/Santander-News/Emilio-Botin-y-Jenson-Button-entregan-100-Becas-Formula-Santander-a-universitarios-britanicos-Only-available-in-Spanish.html

 
Hai Chung said that “I came to know that the extensive Southeast Asia collection at Yale University is an impressive and influential resource for any researcher on South East Asia across the world. Thanks to Santander, I got a rare chance this year to visit Yale University where I was able to update myself on the latest research and discuss with professors there about my work. In relation to actual outputs, the trip gives me additional evidence and elaborates upon my analysis in my findings. I was impressed with the number of scholarships funded by the Santander this year and appreciated a chance to meet formula 1 driver Jenson Button yesterday in London. Thanks again Santander for their generosity in supporting and creating chances for researchers in UK.”
Marketa Zezulkova’s cross-cultural project explores how is children’s media literacy being formed during the first years of their compulsory education; in order to contribute to the international development and implementation of suitable media education for primary and elementary school children. Marketa was in the USA, collecting primary data and undertaking position of a Visiting Scholar at Emerson College (Boston, MA) and at Media Education Lab, the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI) as part of Santander?
Sheetal Sharma who this summer is again a Santander visiting PhD researcher at IsGlobal, Cresib – the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB) part of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, and the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS); supported by the Generalitat de Catalunya. She is supervised in health economic evaluations by Dr. Elisa Sicuri aiming to use novel techniques in the evaluations of health programmes in Nepal: http://www.cresib.cat/en/page.asp?id=216
The suggestion from this event was to organize a BU Santander Scholars session with a representative from Santander Universities (UK) in the near future to try and give back in terms of lessons that can be learnt from research mobility.

A royal birth? Lucky Kate

With the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics and Andy Murray winning at SW1 Wimbledon (again) it seems Britain is still riding a wave of optimism with the birth of a male heir to the throne; the Prince of Cambridge. The baby was delivered on 22 July 2013 at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, weighing 8lb 6oz. The document said: “Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm today. He and the duchess will remain in the hospital overnight. A bulletin signed by the Queen’s gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered the baby – was taken by a royal aide from St Mary’s to the palace under police escort.

The implications are wide -reaching, in multi-cultural Britain the royal baby is unusual for London in having a mother originally from the UK and most babies delivered in the capital these days (57%) are to mothers born overseas and nearly half of all babies (48%) are born outwith marriage. With midwifery cuts and the further medicalisation of birth where the “cascade of interventions” often occurs when birth is induced.  For instance, in the USA which spends more money on healthcare than any country in the world and yet the maternal mortality rate is among the highest of any industrialised country.

And on July 19, 2013, the USA the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee today approved a steep cutback in international family planning assistance for fiscal year 2014. Rejecting President’s Obama’s 2014 budget request of $635.4 million, the Subcommittee capped appropriations for international family planning and reproductive health programs at $461 million, $174 million less than the President’s request, and $137 million (23% below the current funding level).  The cuts, if approved by the full Congress, would have a devastating impact: Several million women in the developing world would lose access to contraceptives services, resulting in more unplanned pregnancies and deaths from unsafe abortions. Each pregnancy multiplies a woman’s chance of dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Maternal mortality rates are particularly high for young and poor women, those who have least access to contraceptive services. It is estimated that one in three deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth could be avoided if all women had access to contraceptive services.

Not so lucky, therefore, are Kate’s counterparts in the South – Frightening statistics include that daily, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In our study site, Nepal every year, 4,500 Nepali women die in childbirth due to lack of medical care. In low-income countries, most maternal deaths are avoidable, as the health-care solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known. All women need is access to antenatal care in pregnancy, skilled care during childbirth, and care and support in the weeks after childbirth.

To make every birth worldwide as joyful an event as the royal birth in London we need is: a) more and better midwifery services; and b) improved access to care for pregnant women globally.

Sheetal Sharma is a HSC PhD student and currently a visiting researcher in Barcelona, supervised by Dr. Elisa Sicuri at CRESIB on an evaluation of a health promotion programme in rural Nepal aiming to improve access to care; in which socio-economic and cultural barriers exist.

Thanks to Edwin & Elisa for their input in this piece.

References:

http://www.populationinstitute.org/newsroom/press/view/57/

http://midwifeinternational.org/how-to-become-midwife/business-of-baby/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23408377

http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/mothers/pid/4382

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23403391

Realities of fieldwork: Sheetal Sharma, HSC PhD student on fieldwork in rural Nepal.

(c) Sheetal Sharma

Open air focus group in rural Nepal, (c) Sheetal Sharma 2013.


Roosters crowing, cows mooing, bleating goats, birds chirping, mobile phones ringing, children screaming, laughing and running around while women, breastfeeding, talk over one another excitedly in the sun as they need to leave us soon to drop the children off to school and/or head to the field to cultivate the season’s crop this spring it is wheat, last summer, rice. Women do this work as most of their husbands are away in the capital, Kathmandu or in the Arab Gulf. This is the reality of conducting focus groups in rural Nepal.

Although we, as researchers, spend considerable time to perfect the ideal ‘tool’ of the interview schedule and imagine the transcription clear and the background; a researcher must be prepared for every eventuality. Noise, din and interruptions: Today a dog nibbled on a nearby goat and a few men kept creeping to listen in why was this videshi (foreigner) recording conversations and making notes. The women shooed them away as today was a discussion on contraception; also that the discussion of the focus groups should be in ‘controlled environment’, safe, quiet; and in Nepal where women are not the main decision-maker for their reproductive health, it should mean a lieu women should be able to discuss freely these issues. In this Green Tara’s (www.greentaratrust.com) intervention area, which my PhD, supervised at HSC BU by Catherine Angell, Vanora Hundley, Edwin van Teijlingen and University of Sheffield’s Padam Simkhada, aims to evaluate both quantitatively and qualitatively, shows one the decision-making outcomes improved: increased the use of contraception in the Pharping area from 4.3% (2008) to 24.6% (2012) after 5 years of health promotion conducted by two auxiliary nurse-midwives.
40 minutes later recording (with 2 digital recorders) and once the demographic data and recording is double-checked and any last questions answered we set off walking 2 hours downhill visiting a tea-shop on the way for a cup of chai.

Edwin van Teijlingen and Emma Pitchforth, Qualitative Research: Focus group research in family planning and reproductive health care J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 2006;32:1 30-32doi:10.1783/147118906775275299
http://jfprhc.bmj.com/content/32/1/30.citation

Transfer viva? Only 10 000 words(!)

"Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham www.phdcomics.com

 

Preparing for your transfer viva – a mere 10 000 words and a separate 500 abstract.

After a bit of nudging from a few staff @HSC-BU, I thought to write a short on how to prepare for the transfer viva. I had mine in Dec 2012 and these are few things at the time that helped and a few I got the hang of post-viva. By now you should have done an RD6 and 1 Annual Review. These forms, available from your school administrator, help you put down what you are going to do for the next few years (sigh) and how you will ‘physically’ do it (double sigh). When I started my transfer viva, I took (i.e. copy and pasted) a lot of what was in my RD6 research plan and used it as the skeleton in order to write the 10000 words. I then looked at the BU PhD bible  – Code of Practice for Resarch Degrees booklet and borrowed a transfer viva from the school admins. The older ones  helped me for structure and format. And the same rules apply, be concise and write you abstract last.

The timeline for transfer from MPhil to PhD is usually a  year/and a half after you start (or submit your RD6, 24-36months for PT), once you hand it in, after your supervisors are ‘happy’, you will have a month before your viva. Have a chat with your school admin (for HSC, it is Paula Cooper and Sara Glithro), and your supervisors as they will read it, then look for examiners (2), an independent chair and a supervisor (if you wish; I asked mine, you don’t have to, so as to gain feedback, as he also took notes and could comment on my ‘performance’; all towards the final viva). There is a one page form that you and your supervisors need to fill in, hand in duplicates of form and of bound thesis and done. Not quite.

Take it very ‘seriously’, I took it for granted once written and discussed you would carry on the PhD (this is not always the case read the BU PhD bible), the quality of the document and performance in the viva voce matters. It should ressemble as much as possible the ‘final product’. Once you hand in your 10 000 words, read it the week before or the night before. I was really nervous but the best piece of advice I got was ‘go in and talk’ – you know your work the ‘best’: so pretend like you want your best friend to understand your work. A few things I could have done better? Better writing, made sure I did not repeat myself and written it more as a ‘story’. Using power point where each slide helps you plan what you will write. For me the viva was the best time to say this is my work and to gain (brutal) feedback from people from a similar field as it gives you time to plan your final product. One major thing I realised I needed to put my study in context and what it means to ‘science’.

Essentially it looked something like this:

  • Title page (Name, Title, Supervisors, School, University)
  • Acknowledgements (Thank you to your supervisors, school, funders…)
  • Abstract (500 words)
  • Table of contents (in a table with invisible borders)
  • List of Abbreviations (in a table with invisible borders)
  • Introduction (which is your literature review)
  • Research Plan: Methodology and justification of method(s) used (your literature review will help here)
  • Aim and Objectives – which are drawn from your research question
  • Progress to date: Research contribution to the field (a PhD means a new contribution to the field or new tools); Findings (Here – I only included the findings that I had ‘cleaned’ for the final table and I was sure I would be able to discuss if asked) and a discussion of your findings.
  • Ethical considerations (Ethics body and in the appendix letter of ethics body);
  • Conclusion & future work (what I infer from what is done so far and how it will lead to the next stage).
  • Reference list
  • Appendix (Tables, survey questionnaire, letters…)

Start with the ‘niggly’ bits, making sure your endnoteTM lets you insert during cite and write (the librarian can help you with this if you haven’t done the course, Emma Crowly for graduate school). So that it should only take a click to insert your bibliography as BU Harvard. I chose headings in the layout so that when I write my final thesis it will be a matter of adding heading and sub-heading titles. So for the table of contents: Use a table from excel or use Home>Headings, e.g. Heading 5. Abbreviations can be sorted with the function ‘sort’ in WordTM.

A few useful resources for writing:

Good luck!

PhD student at HSC? BEACON needs you

Ref: (http://www.sterlingtimes.org/kitchener.jpg)

Wondered if you had thought of writing a few lines for this years Beacon on your PhD study.

Just a short summary.  It could be as little as 150 words, nothing to big.  Just to raise the awareness of your work internally.

Please email <ssharma@bournemouth.ac.uk> Thanks Sheetal!

HSC Student receives Graduate Scholar Award at University of Berkeley Conference.

 

Sheetal Sharma, HSC presented at the Science in Society conference (SiS) at Berkeley University in November 2012 where she received a Graduate Scholar Award http://science-society.com/the-conference/graduate-scholar-award

As a PhD student presenting it’s an opportunity to practice for the inevitable viva and a chance to reflect on your work, as there’s always a question you do not expect. For instance, I had a few questions on cultural aspects of my PhD mixed-methods evaluation. That helped me prepare for my transfer viva, where I was asked on the cultural context of the health promotion intervention, specifically in a country context, run by Green Tara Nepal: http://www.greentaratrust.com/ The plenary was the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues http://www.bioethics.gov/cms/node/778 on ethics and morality of science.

Conferences can be competitive, in the sense, you need to be accepted. Secondly you also can compete for a ‘free space’ and in this instance you were able to compete to be a chair. At SiS, graduate students were invited to, through a very formal application process, to be chair of session. Although it means you won’t attend certain talks, the trade-off is worth is as one is forced to think of questions or how to manage, and be critical and aware of several issues of research.

Being ‘forced’ to be critical led to my planning more what aspects I want to present to the audience. This conference was concerned with the science of health, its epistemology and helped me think of how to discuss the development of theory. As in a PhD viva one might need to answer ‘new knowledge to the field’ how the theory or models proposed are better than competing theories.

I was also lucky to visit Howard University, where I spend time researching cultural ‘appropriateness’ of health programmes, specifically should postnatal care be done again at 40 days. For my PhD evaluation of the Green Tara Nepal that the cultural sensitive aspect led to its increase in health services uptake. I encourage those interested to visit their work as they are ranked school in the top 20% of social work programmes. The World Bank and USAID frequently have invitations to talks, the ones I attended highlighted the focus of women in development, what role programmes can play to develop rural areas; as it is women in Nepal who ‘stay’ in the villages to farm and care for the family as men migrate abroad or to the capital city Kathmandu.

This experience helped me begin the reflection of what my evaluation means, whether in a policy context or the epistemological context; on my return I spoke to my supervisory team. Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, Prof. Vanora Hundley, Dr. Catherine Angell and my external supervisor Dr. Padam Simkhada (University of Sheffield) who encouraged me to on this basis strengthen my writing for my discussion on what the research done has meant.

 

HSC PhD student from HSC presents in London at Society for Social Medicine

Sheetal’s SSM poster can be viewed here

Sheetal Sharma a PhD student at Health and Social Care at BU was lucky to be accepted at the Society for Social Medicine (SSM) September Conference in London to present her poster on my PhD research: Mixed-methods evaluation of a health promotion intervention in rural Nepal, complete with a photograph of the fieldwork involved in villages in Nepal! This year was particularly tough getting accepted as conference organisers commented that 360 abstracts were submitted, of which just 159 (44%) were accepted (including 3 as plenary presentations, 96 as parallel presentations, and 60 as poster presentations). And further stated that that at another SSM conference, an abstract awarded a poster presentation would have been given an oral presentation.
“My BU supervisors Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, Prof. Vanora Hundley, Dr. Catherine Angell and my external supervisor Dr. Padam Simkhada (University of Sheffield) supported me to submit an abstract with our Spanish and Argentine academic partners, early this year”. I really appreciated the free place as universities have limited budgets to support their students in presenting at conferences; I doubt I would have attended had I had to meet the costs myself. So a big thanks to BU and SSM for supporting me! After my experiences at SSM 2012, I would encourage students and young researchers to attend SSM, as the research presented is stimulating and the feedback obtained is invaluable, the conference is really well organised, the support team and volunteers are really friendly and helpful! I hope to be a part of the ECR committee based on this conference.”
Sheetal mentioned she particularly enjoyed the workshop session on Evaluation of complex public health interventions, the concepts and methods practical guidance on “how to do it” and the applicability of different study designs, particularly the role of qualitative research by Mark Petticrew (LSHTM), James Hargreaves (LSHTM), and Steve Cummins (QMUL), as it relates to her evaluation on a health promotion intervention that aims to improve childbearing women’s demand of health services.
Sheetal felt it was great to see what research is conducted from institutions across the U.K. and globally, in a dynamic setting specifically the welcome address by Dr Piot who co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976, the Pemberton Lecture, 2012: Ethnicity and health by Peter Whincup. Sheetal feels research students should be encouraged to present as it motivates them to publish and network. Attending the conference in London also gave her a chance to visit the King’s Fund and dine at Lincoln’s Inn in the 19th century Great Hall with a view onto a fresco of Moses and Edward I ending with a guided tour of the Wellcome Collection.