Dr Alizon Draper
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I am a reader in public health nutrition at the University of Westminster. I originally trained in social anthropology and my work thus focuses on the social and policy aspects of nutrition, particularly socio-cultural factors influencing food use and dietary intake. I have worked in the UK and internationally in both research and consultancy. The latter includes work for public sector organizations including the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the Wellcome Trust, World Health Organization(WHO), American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA). I was a member of the project management panel that oversaw the FSA's large 2007 - 2009 study on consumer understanding of front-of-pack food labels that underpins current UK policy. I was also a member of the FSA Advisory Group 2009-2010 for their review of reviews to examine the effectiveness of dietary interventions and on the GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) advisory group to oversee the development of their Focused Ethnographic Survey approach. In 2010 I provided input to the UK Government Foresight Assessment The Future of Food and Farming. Currently I am a member of the FSA's Social Science Research Committee, one of the UK Government's Scientific Advisory Committees.
I have been teaching since the 1990s, originally on the MSc Public Health Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene where I was the course director. On joining Westminster in 2001 I was involved in establishing the new MSc course in Public Health Nutrition that is now very successful with an additional MSc in International Public Health Nutrition. I lead the PG module Food and Nutrition in Public Health and Policy, and also teach on a wide range of UG and PG modules and the Professional Doctorate. On the latter I lead the module Leading Research and Influencing Practice and am currently involved with supervising three Professional Doctorate students. I also teach at other Universities, including City University and the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam.
I am the external examiner on the MSc Public Health Nutrition at Southampton University and the MA Applied Social Research at Warwick University.
My research focuses on the interface between social science and public health nutrition, and within this the application of the theory and methods of social science to public health nutrition; and the evaluation of public health interventions and the use of participatory and qualitative methods in this.
- A cluster randomized controlled trial of the Well London community interventions to address social and structural determinants of physical, activity, diet and mental wellbeing. This is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the project has been led by UEL and includes research partners at LSTHM as well as UoW. Professor Angela Clow of SSHL and I have led a longitudinal qualitative study nested within the wider CRCT to illuminate causal pathways. The project commenced Feb 2008.
- A business survey to identify alternative control measures to control E.coli 0157 funded by the FSA 2013.
Other recent research activities
- 2009-2013 inputs on design and analysis to the FSA's new Food and You Survey waves I and II conducted by TNS.
- From April 2009 - April 2011 I was part of a consortium led by Professor Richard Watt, Dept of Epidemiology, UCL and funded by the FSA that developed and implemented a trial of a family-centred intervention delivered in Children's Centres and the home environment. This was conducted in two sites (London and Cornwall).
- Member of ObaapaVitA Trial Steering Committee as USAID representative from 2005-2009. The ObaapaVitA was CRCTs is co-funded by USAID and DfID is designed to examine the effect of low dose vitamin A supplements on maternal mortality in Northern Ghana. The findings were recently released.
- 2007 conducted a critical review of the role of community participation in enhancing the uptake and sustainability of child survival packages in low income countries for A2Z, Washington (the micronutrient and child blindness project of the United States Agency for International Development).
- 2007 with Jessica Swann evaluation of a community-based salt reduction intervention implemented by the London Food Commission and funded by the FSA.
- 2005 with Andrew Hall co-ordinated three international projects (Ghana, Nepal, Uganda) looking at the role of women health care providers and funded by International Life Sciences institute, Washington
- Technical Advisor to a project investigating access of health and personal social services by lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Northwest Ireland being conducted by the Public Health Department, North Western Health Board in 2004
- 2002- 2004 FSA-funded project Methods to access consumer views on food policy issues: an evaluation of their viability and efficacy for inclusive participation in policy making. This two year project was conducted in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Surrey at Roehampton.
Past work has included research on infant feeding practices, street foods in developing countries, traditional food technologies and complementary feeding, micronutrient deficiencies, health seeking behaviours, inland capture fisheries, vegetarianism, and the social construction of risk in relation to food safety.
The key transferable skills used in my research are qualitative research methods as applied across a range of public health nutrition issues.