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Meeting the global health challenge

The University makes huge contributions to health in the West Midlands and around the world. University of Warwick research improves our understanding of diseases and how to combat them, how people can live healthier lives and the specific challenges facing healthcare professionals today.

We have trained almost 1,000 doctors since Warwick Medical School’s founding in 2000. Over 10,000 health workers have benefited from our world-leading postgraduate programmes and our discoveries have led to direct improvements in quality of life for people living with diseases such as diabetes and sudden infant death.

Warwick research has found that 25% of sudden infant deaths in the UK could be prevented. Finding the cause of these deaths, through a joined up network of professionals, is the first step towards resolving this massive failure. Support for the education for doctors, nurses, social workers and the police is vital. Researching the causes of sudden infant death and communicating findings are key to solving the problem. Thanks to the lessons we have learned in the UK, our work has even more dramatic effects in the developing world where nearer 75% of infant deaths could be prevented.

A key facet of health research at Warwick is recognising that there are no magic bullets which will eradicate disease, rather that there are many interventions and choices which can help patients live healthier lives. Mental wellbeing is a major factor for patients who develop any long-term health issues. We are working to develop methods which enable healthcare practitioners to support patients throughout the long course of illnesses including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Our research will ultimately ensure that we develop the care programmes which are most helpful for patients suffering long-term illness and improve their quality of life.

In addition to research, Warwick is nationally recognised for providing courses which fit around the lives of busy professionals while helping them learn new skills and techniques which benefit patients. It is a challenge to ensure that students are not just taught but helped to think independently and to develop skills which have meaning for patients. An essential part of Warwick’s education programme is developing healthcare profesionals who understand the needs of their patients while also supporting the next generation of academics who will train the doctors who tackle health crises such as obesity.

Over 1.6 billion adults around the world are overweight and at least 400 million are obese. By 2015, it is predicted that 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese. This will inevitably lead to serious health consequences for the people affected. They will be at a higher risk for chronic diseases such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease - already the world's number one cause of death
  • Diabetes – which has rapidly become a global epidemic
  • Musculoskeletal disorders – especially osteoarthritis
  • Some cancers - particularly endometrial, breast, and colon

These health crises are global, not just limited to the UK or the wealthy West. Poorer countries face a double health burden because while they are dealing with the ongoing problems of infectious disease and under-nutrition, they are also experiencing a rapid increase in chronic disease risk factors such as obesity, particularly in urban settings. This means that it is not uncommon to find under-nutrition and obesity existing side-by-side within the same country, the same community and even within the same household. A very different situation to that found in the UK. Although the outcomes can be similar, the solution needs to be appropriate to the location and one solution cannot work everywhere. Warwick is committed to applying its research appropriately and to finding local solutions to global problems.

Warwick is uniquely positioned to lead on health research because we work across departments outside the field of medicine to develop expert knowledge. Departments as varied as Warwick Business School and Warwick Manufacturing Group are already producing exciting research in improving healthcare systems and e-health which are critical in the healthcare environment of the 21st Century. The department of Chemistry is making crucial discoveries in the field of targeted anti-cancer drugs and with your support we can achieve much more.

Our work is funded by foundations, companies and private individuals - people who want to make a difference to the lives of their friends and families. We seek to raise £20 million by 2015 to make the difference sooner rather than later. If you think you can make a difference, visit our Giving pages to find out how you can get involved.

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