Centre for Applied Health Research

Students looking at medical scan image on screen

Working across professions and disciplines to conduct research that addresses challenges across health, well-being and social care.

The Centre for Applied Health Research (CAHR) works across professions and disciplines to conduct and support research that addresses challenges across health, well-being and social care.

Funded by Research Councils, local authorities, NHS bodies and charities, our work covers digital health and imaging, long term conditions, care across the lifecourse, mental health and neurodiversity and health equity and inequalities.

We work closely and collaboratively with service users and partners across the NHS, local authorities, the third sector and commercial organisations to ensure our work is relevant and feeds into practice and policy at local, national and international levels. 

Our researchers are experts in nursing, allied health, public health, diagnostic imaging, psychology, mental health and digital information systems, with our research largely applied in nature - often using technology and digital solutions to solve real world problems and make positive changes within society.

Some of our recent impactful work has included the use of social media to improve self-management, our digital imaging research improving breast cancer diagnosis, and work in global health that has led to systems changes in LMICs for cervical screening and antimicrobial resistance.

Care Across the Lifecourse

man sat in chair

Care across the Lifecourse encompasses research across various stages of life or population groups and covers multiple disciplines across health and social care. For example, it seeks to develop the evidence base of fundamental areas of nursing care including tissue viability, wound care, the care of non-ventilated COVID patients, mortality and morbidity associated and the care of older women with urinary incontinence, frailty and cardiothoracic surgery. 

Professional learning is key to providing high quality care and forms an important area of work for this theme including, for example a project which establishes and assesses the impact of an interprofessional student training environment for university students from a range of professional health and social care programmes working in the care home sector. Funding associated with this group originates from the Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NHS Health Education England.

Digital Health and Medical Imaging

Students looking at screen and keyboard in the medical imaging suite

Digital transformation of health remains a priority for UK policy and strategy, such as the NHS long term plan, the Topol review and priorities around recovery to support the health and social care system after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital applications provide new and sustainable ways of building capacity and capability in public health and social care systems. It improves the lives of people with long-term conditions and brings applied research to underserved communities with major health needs and provides opportunities for different ways of working, inclusivity and reducing health inequalities.

Our work in this area includes transdisciplinary collaborations across the health and social care professions. It looks at information science and digital and social media to improve access to health and social care information to enable and support people to manage their own health.

We work with teaching colleagues to provide innovative programmes of digital education to improve the digital skills of the healthcare workforce, and the optimisation of medical imaging technologies to improve the technical and physical aspects of imaging as well as patient care and staff experience. Funding in this area has been received from NIHR, Health Education England, Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS X, Kidney Care UK.


Equity, inequalities and Inclusivity

Oslo students in Uganda

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the disparities that exist within society for vulnerable and marginalised groups and communities. 

Spanning two research centres (The Centre for Applied Health Research and the Centre for Research on Inclusive Society), this theme brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from social policy, social work, nursing and public health.

The research covers two areas. The first area is health inequalities and health inclusion. This is concerned with contemporary aspects of health and wellbeing such as improving care and outcomes for excluded groups such as gypsies and travellers, migrants and those experiencing the most extreme forms of social exclusion such as people who are homeless, prisoners, drug users and sex workers. This theme also includes international work in low and middle incomes countries exploring issues such maternal health and disability (lower limb loss).

The second, is focused on understanding experiences of inclusivity, equity, and belonging across society and its institutions, with a view to shaping cultures, policy, and practice. This research is animated by questions of how difference, belonging, and identity are negotiated and the challenges this presents. Specifically, our research focus includes Islamophobia, race and racism, decolonisation, health equity, disability, citizenship, gender, marginalisation, exclusion and intersectionality. 

Research in these areas is funded by the NIHR, World Health Organisation (WHO), AHRC, EPSRC and the Department of Health and Social Care

Long Term Conditions

Old man holding phone landscape

Long-term conditions (LTC) are increasingly prevalent, both in the UK and globally. Conditions include chronic kidney disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, mental health and cancer.  

Many people live for many years with a LTC, creating new opportunities and challenges for knowledge and research. Research conducted within this theme aims to improve people’s ability to manage their long-term conditions and improve their quality of life as well as reducing demand on health and social services. This includes personal exercise rehabilitation in relation to people with multi-morbidities, a population health management tool for social prescribing, kidney patients’ experiences of care, renal practice and older persons experience of kidney care.

A key focus of work in this theme is transdisciplinary research bringing together digital and social media expertise with clinicians and health information specialists to aid self-management for kidney care, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. 

Research in this area has been funded by NIHR, the Technology Strategy Board, Kidney Research UK, Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS X, Kidney Care UK.

Mental health and Neurodiversity

man with hand to mouth and woman in head scarf laughs

Mental health disorders are among the top ten leading causes of disease burden worldwide, with no evidence of global reduction and some evidence to suggest an increase in prevalence.

Whilst neurodiversity and neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism are not mental illnesses, the challenges faced by neurodiverse people having to navigate system designed for neurotypical populations can greatly increase the risk of them experiencing associated mental distress and disorders.

This interdisciplinary research focuses on improving services and outcomes for those vulnerable to or experiencing mental health problems or those with neurodevelopmental differences. Our work around mental health comprises a programme of research committed to preventing mental illness, improving the mental health of those experiencing problems and their families and promoting mental wellbeing. This includes developing understanding and approaches to enable effective mental health nurse interventions and using creative and psychological therapies to treat depression. Our research around neurodevelopmental conditions focuses on autism and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). 

In particular providing world leading research to understand the cause and impact of FASD and developing ways of supporting families and carers of people with FASD, and those within the criminal justice system.  Research in this area has been funded by MRC, NIHR, Burdett Trust, The Wellcome Trust and the AHRC

Centre for Applied Health Research (CAHR)

Students looking at medical scan image on screen

Explore our Centre for Applied Health Research website to find out more about our recent projects.


Get in Touch

For more information, please contact:

Professor Alison Brettle, Director of The Centre for Applied Health Research: a.brettle@salford.ac.uk