A Legacy of Research

Formerly known as the Institute of Human Health and Development (IHHD), the institute is grounded in a base of research which has been ongoing for more than a decade. Founded in 2006, the institute has contributed some of the most comprehensive research for shifting the paradigm of public health policy.  

It has produced several flagship modes of working which fundamentally change the way health service providers, policy makers and community members communicate and coordinate with each other. Through their action research, the institute has brought profound impact both to our communities in east London and to other global communities.  

Action Group Against Covid-19

Using the knowledge and experience gained from their research in London and the UK, Dr Darren Sharpe and his colleagues from ICC brought critical expertise to the action group founded in Zambia to fight against the spread of COVID-19.  

Through their research, which monitored the mental welfare of disabled youths throughout the pandemic, the team delivered more than 17,000 food and personal protective equipment packages to disadvantaged communities in Zambia. Their immediate provision of the parcels helped sustain the communities through unprecedented challenges, but the data collected by Dr Sharpe and his team will shape the Zambian governmental response to the crisis and ensure disabled children are not left behind. 

At UEL, partnerships often come from unexpected sources. Working at UEL as a security officer, Ibrahim Sesay was able to connect Dr Sharpe to the Practical Tools Initiative, a UK-based charity which works in Sierra Leone to provide tools so that people in West Africa can continue to grow their enterprises. Combining the Kick Out COVID-19 initiative and UEL’s Young Commissioners framework sewing machines were provided so that disabled individuals and their communities had continued access to income during the pandemic.  

UEL is pleased to report that the initiative will soon be expanded into Rwanda and South Africa. 

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Man using sewing machine to make face mask

Communities in the Future

With developments in technology, the needs of our communities have also evolved. Online harms now present a significant risk to the health and wellbeing of children and adults across the world. Professor Julia Davidson and her colleagues are leading the field in how to protect children in the digital environment.  

Professor Davidson's research has fuelled initiatives like Get Smart in Rwanda, which uses the grey parrot to help educate people, young and old, on how to avoid potential harm. Across Africa, the grey parrot is a symbol of great intelligence. Studies show that grey parrots are as smart as an average 6-year-old child. The institute’s research has also informed legislation reform in the UK, reaching a high point with the introduction of the Online Harms White Paper.  

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