Division of Health Psychology 2015

The Division of Health Psychology is a relatively small Division (n=2085) that gives its members excellent value for money in terms of the amount and quality of activities we both engage in, and offer. Our members are either academics or practitioners, with a few who combine dual roles. The DHP strives to ensure that the interests of both groups are represented, not just internally within the BPS, but externally, in the UK and beyond.

Awareness raising

We ran a ‘Capturing the Essence of Health Psychology’ competition (won by Dr Amy Burton). The entries have now been developed into postcards which form an eye-catching resource that highlights the diversity of work that health psychologists engage in. In addition, our Publicity and Liaison subcommittee have represented and promoted the DHP at a number of events this year including: Division of Clinical Psychology & BPS Annual Conferences and Psych4Students/Graduate events at London & Sheffield. Promotional material has also been developed for Directors of Public Health services, A level students and undergraduate students. The new materials add to the existing breadth of material available to all members online and in hard copy. 

Research

Research is very important to us as a Division: we cannot practice, neither can we train the next generation of health psychologists without a clear research informed evidence-base. Our annual conference is an opportunity for us to showcase the high quality research that is being conducted by and for health psychologists. At the conference this year:

  • Professor Rona Moss-Morris was awarded the DHP Outstanding Contribution to Research prize for her work focusing on models that help the conceptualisation and treatment of conditions characterised by persistent physical symptoms. She has made a huge contribution not just to our scientific knowledge base, but through translating that knowledge into cost-effective treatment options.
  • We were also thrilled that Dr Vincent Deary (who made a significant impact with the publication of his book ‘How to live’) agreed to have his keynote broadcast live as a webinar. This can be viewed on Youtube: The webinar was a huge success and is something we plan to do in future conferences - it widens access to the excellent work that is disseminated at the conference (over 500 views already).

Trainee/earlycareer members

We have continued to support our trainee and early career members through the provision of a range of opportunities. For example, pre-conference workshops; awards for top quality Masters level research; an award for an early career researcher. This year the MSc award was shared between Sarah Higgins from Staffordshire University and Olga Perski from UCL; whilst the Early Career Researcher Award was given to Dr Hayley McBain from City University, London.

Practitioners

Our Practitioner Subcommittee includes health psychologists based in universities and Applied Health Settings. This diverse experience has led to the development of a broad range of activities focused on creating and disseminating models of evidence-based practice in health psychology. This has included: publications, presentations to professional/academic audiences, workshops/symposia, public engagement events and development of job descriptions that could be used by managers/service leads to develop and advertise roles suitable for health psychologists. This work is ongoing, with further activities planned for 2016.

Plans for 2016

As a committee we will engage in more strategic and collaborative working with the DHP devolved nations committees as they continue to grow and establish themselves. We are also keen to collaborate with the Chairs of other Divisions in order that we can all build on our relative strengths and become more outward looking as Divisions and as a professional body.

In terms of research, we are planning for the joint EHPS/DHP 2016 conference, to be held in Aberdeen and the DHP 2017 conference, which will be held in Wales. Our Research Sub-Committee Impact group is working to identify impactful work in health psychology that we can share with members via our website.  

In terms of my focus, as Chair, I highlighted the need for awareness raising about the diversity of applications of health psychology. Having already run the ‘Capturing the Essence’ competition in 2015, I am now developing links with an organization called the Change Exchange, run by two UK health psychologists (Dr Jo Hart and Dr Lucie Byrne-Davis). They are placing volunteer UK health scientists into Health Partnerships in low to middle income countries to drive, understand and evaluate change in healthcare professional practice. This is a great opportunity to showcase the diversity and application of health psychology and I look forward to working with Dr’s Hart and Byrne-Davis over the coming year.

Professor Karen Rodham, Chair