£1 million Grant to Help Improve the Health of Rural Communities Around the World

In its first year, a newly established research institute to address the unique health issues facing rural communities has received a boost with a £1 million grant from the Wolfson Foundation.

Established last year by the University of Lincoln, UK, the Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health (LIIRH) brings together world-leading specialists, conducting research across a range of rural health-related concerns, ranging from infectious disease epidemiology through to sustainable remote healthcare delivery solutions. The institute will conduct research aimed at improving the lives of rural populations locally, nationally and internationally.

Working in partnership with a network of national and international collaborators and acting as the core research engine of the new Lincoln Medical School, the Institute is launching an ambitious research strategy that will focus on developing and testing appropriate and practical interventions to improve the lives of people living in rural communities.

Under the direction of Global Professor of Rural Health, Professor Frank Tanser, and comprising the research expertise of Global Professor of Rural Health and Care, Professor Mark Gussy, the Institute focuses its research around three thematic areas: chronic care, chronic disease and disadvantaged populations; prevention, early detection and screening; and health metrics and disease modelling.

During a successful first year, the institute has already worked on projects including diabetes prevention and management research in coastal communities and research into the development of effective models of care for disease epidemics in rural South Africa.

Professor Tanser’s pivotal work over the past 20 years in a rural community decimated by HIV in South Africa has provided substantial insights into the evolving and dynamic nature of the HIV epidemic and its key drivers, directly informing HIV prevention and treatment efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent grant-making charity whose fundamental aim is to improve the civic health of society through education and research. CEO, Paul Ramsbottom, said: “There is an important need for high-quality research to address the crucial but largely neglected subject of rural healthcare – in both relatively affluent societies like the UK or in countries with much more limited resources.

“We very much welcome the University of Lincoln’s initiative in this area and are delighted to support the new Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health.”

Global Professor of Rural Health and director of LIIRH, Professor Frank Tanser, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Wolfson Foundation in our first year of existence.

“It’s a major endorsement of our ambitious research strategy which aims to ‘shine a light’ on the unacceptable health inequities that exist across the rural-urban divide and to find innovative ways of reducing or ideally eliminating that inequality.”