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New Department of Health Studies opens at Royal Holloway

New Department of Health Studies opens at Royal Holloway

  • Date05 May 2022

Royal Holloway has officially opened its new Department for Health Studies to connect knowledge and research to global health-related challenges.

Health Studies department launch event

Left-right Richard Deverell, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, and Professor Alex Palombi, Head of Department of Health Studies at the formal opening event

The department will build on the university’s already established world-class research and interdisciplinary collaborations and promote healthier populations and environments.

It will give the university and its students the chance to develop new areas of growth with leading experts in human health and environmental sectors, working with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Harvard-led Planetary Health Alliance, whose Northern European Hub is coordinated from Royal Holloway.

The department was formally opened on 25 April 2022 with special guest speaker, Richard Deverell, Director of Kew.

Professor Alexandra Palombi, Head of the Department of Health Studies, said: “The Department of Health Studies provides a new space to bring together the green arm of environment with human health in an innovative and timely way.

“Our students are a unique resource, and they will add value to the working community through our placement providers, bringing the solutions we need through partnerships. They form part of the community of learning with Royal Holloway and our partners.”

Richard Deverell, Director of Kew, added: “Since 1985, there have been more than 25 projects between Kew and Royal Holloway. I am delighted that we have participated in creating a new space at the university to consider human health and the environment together.

“Human interaction with nature has benefits for human health, therefore we’re on to a winner in pushing more research into this area.

“All life depends on the environment in which we live and there is a spirit of urgency in responding to the nature of the climate and biodiversity crisis, to develop science-based solutions to protect biodiversity and understand the benefits it brings to us all. 

“The new masters, taught jointly by Royal Holloway and Kew, will enable students to study the value of biodiversity and its use as a springboard for the future.”

The new department will welcome its first postgraduate students from this September with three new Masters courses:

  • MSc Global Health: Food Security, Sustainability and Biodiversity (in partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) – students on this degree will study at Royal Holloway and at Kew, learning from world-leading experts at both institutions, covering a range of topics at the intersections of environmental health and human health; addressing the link between biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods and food security.
  • MSc Global Health: Human Health and the Environment – students will work collaboratively to examine fundamental challenges of environmental change, climate instability, urbanisation, shifting geopolitics, changing demographics, sustainability, biodiversity and development.
  • MA Global Health: Society, Culture and Behaviour – this masters addresses existing and emerging health challenges of the modern age. Students will examine how culture, behaviour and governance, as well as environmental economic factors impact human and environmental health, affecting us all.

At undergraduate level, Royal Holloway is developing a new BSc Health Studies for entry in September 2023.This will equip a new generation of health practitioners with the skills to address health protection, health promotion and sustainable living frameworks, this degree will lead to rewarding career paths promoting the value of health for our communities and environment.

Academic research from the Department of Health Studies will feed into the university’s Living Sustainably research theme which addresses the challenges of climate change, biodiversity, food and energy security, infectious disease, inequalities in education, work and participation, political polarisation and resource consumption. 

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