Early Years

The Early Years Working Group focuses on public health issues from conception up to the age of 12 years. The Working Group has subdivided into three sub-groups based on members’€™ research interests.
These three sub-groups are:

’€˜Partnerships for Health and Wellbeing’€™

Focusing on understanding and improving the relationship between school nurses and educational staff in order to enhance outcomes of health promotion programmes in Schools.

’€˜Effective Universal Support Services’€™

Focusing on better promotion of antenatal and postnatal services to ensure improved health outcomes for mothers and babies. Currently, the group is planning to deliver a symposium in June 2014 around the topic of ’€˜continuity of antenatal and postnatal care’€™.

’€˜Changing Environment, Context and Structures’€™

Focusing on the design and evaluation of a programme that links food co-op activities at the community level to the nursery settings with the view of maximising access to healthy foods for families.

Find out more

If you would like to join the Working Group, please fill out the registration form: http://localhost:3000/icar/join-a-working-group/
If you would like more information about the Early Years Working Group and the sub-groups, please email Larry Doi (larry.doi@ed.ac.uk)

Working Group Members

Click on the picture to contactJob Title & OrganisationWork/Research InterestsKeywords
Larry Doi
Working Group Lead / Research Fellow
SCPHRP, University of Edinburgh
Research interests:
• Risk factors for childhood obesity
• Maternal and infant nutrition
• Evaluation of alcohol brief interventions amongst pregnant women
• Realist evaluation of enhanced health visiting service
• Development of interventions for kinship carers
• Development and Evaluation of complex public health interventions
Intervention Development;
Health Inequalities
Josie Booth
josie booth
University of Edinburgh
My research focusses on child development, with an emphasis on cognition and educational attainment. The relationship between aspects of health, such as physical activity and obesity, and cognitive development is a key focus of my work. I investigate these relationships in children who are typically developing, as well as those who have developmental difficulties such as reading difficulties and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), amongst others. I also have a strong interest in the long term nature of these processes and in developing specific intervention programmes.Attainment;
Physical Activity;
Rupa Chilvers
Better Births Advisor
Royal College of Midwives
With a background in research and policy, my focus on how knowledge and evidence is used to inform and improve policy and practice. Health Inequalities; Knowledge Mobilisation; Maternity Care; Evidence-Based Care; Policy and Planning
Leone Craig
Research Fellow in Public Health Nutrition
University of Aberdeen
I have a BSc (Honours) in Health Sciences and an MSc in Human Nutrition & Metabolism. My PhD focussed on the area of childhood obesity. I joined the University of Aberdeen in 2003 as a Research Assistant on the Study of Eczema and Asthma To Observe the influence of Nutrition (SEATON) birth cohort study. I have been in my current post of Research Fellow in Public Health Nutrition since 2005. In 2007 I had a secondment to the Food Standards Agency Scotland as Scientific Advisor (Diet and Nutrition). I have expertise in dietary assessment and cross-sectional and cohort studies of diet and health in children and adults. Recent relevant research includes a qualitative evaluation of child healthy weight programmes for school-age children; research to inform the development of a child healthy weight intervention for pre-school children; exploring the early infant feeding experiences of parents and their significant others during the first 6 months of life; a feasibility study for a trial of proactive telephone support for breastfeeding women; FSAS funded 2006 and 2010 surveys of diet in children in Scotland. I am a member of the Advisory Group for the National Child Healthy Weight Programme Evaluation and a member of the NHS Grampian Maternal & Infant Nutrition/Child Healthy Weight Steering Group.Public Health Nutrition;
Maternal and Infant Nutrition;
Childhood Obesity;
Dietary Patterns
Elaine Douglas
University College London
I am interested in health inequalities, particularly social determinants of health. I also have interests in public health interventions and population health. Health Interventions;
Public Health;
Social Policy;
Health Policy
Tim Hobbs
Head of Data and Analytics
The Dartington Social Research Unit
The Dartington Social Research Unit (DSRU) is an independent charity that brings science and evidence to bear on policy and practice in children's services to improve the health and development of children and young people. Established in 1963, we have a long track record of influencing national policy across social care, health, early years, education and youth justice. Known originally for groundbreaking studies of how these systems operated, over recent decades we have focussed more on advocating for evidence-based prevention and early intervention. Children's Wellbeing;
Data Visualisation;
Prevention Science;
What Works
Pat Hoddinott
Chair in Primary Care
NMAHP-RU, UNiversity of Stirling
I am Chair in Primary Care and Prevention at the University of Stirling, based in the Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHP) Research Unit. I have worked as a GP until recently. For over 20 years I have undertaken research into infant feeding decision making. I have a particular interest in how health service behaviour and organisation can best support breastfeeding.
How health related behaviours interact within families and social networks is another area of interest, particularly smoking, diet, physical activity. I lead research into incentives (defined broadly) for such behaviours. Service users are involved in all aspects of the design and conduct of the studies that I am involved in and there is a strong focus on health inequalities. I have expertise in applying qualitative and mixed methods to the design, feasibility and delivery of randomised controlled trials of interventions to help women to breastfeed and am a member of the Bristol CONDUCT II MRC trial methods hub.
Prevention, Infant Feeding, Behaviour Change;
Health Inequalities;
Randomised Controlled Trials
Marion Macleod
Policy Manager
Children in Scotland
Policy manager at Children in Scotland, the national network for children's services and the internal lead for early years and parenting.

Chair, Eurochild (Brussels based children's rights network) Family and Parenting support group.
Children's Rights;
Early Years;
Preventive Services;
Data and Indicators
Vikki Milne
Principle Researcher
Scottish Government
Early years interest focus on prevention and early intervention to promote improved public health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.Health Visiting;
Parenting Programmes;
Eileen Scott
Public Health Adviser
NHS Health Scotland
I trained as a clinical psychologist and have experience of working in both Child and Family Mental Health Services and in clinical health psychology settings. I joined the Evidence for Action Team at NHS Health Scotland in 2009 with a portfolio for children, families and communities. I'm currently working on evidence about preventing and addressing domestic abuse, attachment and international child health. I provides evidence support to the Early Years and Youth Health teams within NHS Health Scotland and other organisations including the Scottish Government.Health Inequalities;
Domestic Abuse;
Early Years;
Louise Scott
Head of Children and Families Analysis
Scottish Government
Our work aims to secure the best evidence to inform policy and practice to ensure the best outcomes for children and young people. My work covers general wellbeing of children and young people, and especially the cross-cutting dimensions of positive wellbeing and the collaborative approach to identifying approrpiate solutions. We focus also on evidence to support child and maternal health, the Early Years Collaborative, early learning and childcare, childrens rights and wellbeing, looked after children and youth justice. Childcare;
Tackling Inequalities;
Clare Simpson
Project Manager
Parenting across Scotland
Parenting across Scotland is a partnership of charities which support families. PAS is interested in early years, relationships and matters affecting families.Parenting;
Digital Families;
Early Years;
Jenny Simpson
Information Officer
Trellis ( Scottish Therapeutic Gardening Network) is the national organisation representing therapeutic gardening, the art of using gardening to help people take care of their physical, emotional and social wellbeing.

We support a network of over 300 therapeutic gardening projects in Scotland so they can share skills, good practice and get connected.

Trellis runs training workshops and an information service, and we can visit you to give help and advice. We support research and development in therapeutic gardening. And we make sure that the voice of our network is heard by policy makers.
Health Inequalities;
Well Being
Kate Tobin
PhD Researcher
The Dartington Social Research Unit
The Dartington Social Research Unit (DSRU) is an independent charity that brings science and evidence to bear on policy and practice in children's services to improve the health and development of children and young people. Established in 1963, we have a long track record of influencing national policy across social care, health, early years, education and youth justice. Known originally for groundbreaking studies of how these systems operated, over recent decades we have focussed more on advocating for evidence-based prevention and early intervention. Children's Wellbeing;
Prevention Science;
Place-based reform
Pamela Warner
Centre for Families & Relationships, University of Edinburgh
Research interests:
- Infant feeding
- Childhood well-being and health
- Survey research
- Secondary analysis of cohort data
Maternity Health
Philip Wilson
Centre for Rural Health, University of Aberdeen
Determinants of early childhood mental health and mental health trajectories through childhood and beyond.
More generally, I am interested in the development and evaluation of complex interventions to improve child mental health.
Infant Mental Health;
Child Psychiatry;
Health Inequalities;
Steven Wrayphoto_not_available_0Public Health Practitioner NHS Early YearsEarly Years: Attachment: Community: Co production
Cecilia Oramphoto_not_available_0

Smarter Choices Co-ordinator – Education and Young PeopleWork on practical interventions across all areas and regions of Scotland that encourage more children and young people to travel actively to their place of learning. Education; Young people
Laura Martinphoto_not_available_0

Public Health Advisor, Evidence for Action Team, NHS Health Scotland I am a Public Health Advisor for the Evidence for Action Team in NHS Health Scotland. Our organisational aim is to work in partnership to reduce health inequalities and improve health in Scotland. My role within this to analyse and distil the evidence to inform the development of policy and practice. My current portfolio is child and adolescent diet and obesity and I am currently working in evidence around the components and impact of the obesogenic environment. obesity; children; adolesents
Fiona Clarkphoto_not_available_0

Centre Manager – Fundraising and Strategy, Dr. Bell's Family Centre Dr Bell's Centre supports Families in Leith, EdinburghEarly Years; Families
Razak Abubakariphoto_not_available_0

Centre Lecturer - Epidemiology (Public Health),
I am a lecturer in Epidemiology (Public Health) at GCU. I am interested in the health of minority ethnic groups in the UK Diabetes; chronic diseases; physical activity; obesity; health inequalities


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