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PenCLAHRC appoints Mental Health and Dementia theme lead and deputy

Posted on November 29th 2016

We are pleased to announce that Professor Chris Dickens, Chair of Psychological Medicine, and Senior Research Fellow Dr Joel Town, have been appointed as Theme Lead and Deputy Theme Lead respectively, for Mental Health and Dementia at PenCLAHRC.

Professor Dickens has, throughout his career, researched the causes, effects and treatments of emotional problems in people with chronic physical illness,.

Since joining the University of Exeter Medical School in 2011 Professor Dickens has continued to focus on the development and evaluation of interventions to improve the management of common mental disorders in people with chronic physical illness – working on a number of related PenCLAHRC projects.

Professor Dickens said of his appointment:

“I’m very excited at the prospect of leading the Mental Health and Dementia theme within PenCLAHRC and of working with Joel and other members of the CLAHRC team. I hope to continue and, indeed, extend upon the excellent work done by David Richards during his time as theme lead, focussing on improving mental health outcomes for people in the South West and beyond.“

Dr Town’s primary experience is as a Clinical Psychologist scientist-practitioner. He has also worked in adult mental health with complex, treatment refractory conditions and is an experienced psychotherapy trainer/supervisor for mental health professionals.

At PenCLAHRC, Dr Town contributes to applied health service research that aims to develop and evaluate innovative ways to assess and treat mental health and long-term conditions, including medically unexplained symptoms.

Under the theme of Mental Health and Dementia, PenCLAHRC aims to improve the mental health of people in the South West and beyond - by adopting and spreading research evidence-based improvements in services for people with mental health problems and dementia. As well as increasing the South West Peninsula’s capacity to deliver world-class research, whilst utilising research evidence in mental health.

Some of the key projects conducted under the Mental Health and Dementia theme include: An internet-based treatment for post-natal depression; Can vitamin D supplements be used to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in older adults?; and Offender Mental Health: helping to break the cycle of reoffending.

PenCLAHRC conducts research under five research themes:

  • Evidence for Policy and Practice
  • Diagnostics and Stratified Medicine
  • Mental Health and Dementia
  • Healthy People and Healthy Environments
  • Person-Centred Care.

These themes address key areas identified by our partners as offering the opportunity for research to increase health gain.

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