Rural Health and Wellbeing

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We carry out research, knowledge exchange, commercialisation and teaching activities that are related to the physical, mental health and wellbeing of people living or working within remote and rural communities.

Person using a laptop with a stethoscope next to them | A group of people talking | A landscape picture

The Division of Rural Health and Wellbeing (RHW) is part of the Institute of Health Research and Innovation. Our team works to advance theory, knowledge and practice in the field of rural health.

Our research aims to contribute to increasing the evidence base in the following areas:

  • How to keep physically and mentally well within remote and rural areas.
  • To increase motivation within remote and rural populations to stay well (e.g. to engage in health promoting behaviours, behaviour change and self-management).
  • Understand the facilitators and barriers to keeping well in remote and rural areas.
  • To reduce health inequalities in remote and rural areas.
  • To facilitate access to health and wellbeing promoting services and activities within remote and rural areas.
  • To facilitate access to statutory health and care services within remote and rural areas.
  • Innovative approaches to services delivery in remote and rural areas.

The Scottish Rural Health Partnership (SRHP), formerly known as the Scottish School of Rural Health & Wellbeing, is currently being hosted by The Rural Health and Wellbeing group; read more about the work of SRHP.

Our division in more detail

Our expertise content

Our expertise

Our expertise

Our research activities are grounded firmly within the arts, social sciences and humanities. Although we work across several different disciplines, and are involved in inter- and multi-disciplinary work with researchers beyond these areas, there are several key characteristics to our research:

  • Expertise in arts, creative industries, social science and humanities
  • Expertise in commercial and social marketing behaviour change
  • Inter-disciplinarity and transdisciplinary
  • Placing research participants at the heart of the process
  • It’s starting point is the need for evidence based and demonstrable real world impact
  • Draws on our expertise of working in and with remote and rural communities since 2007
  • Grounded within theories of human nature, psychology, behaviour change, public health, health geography and rural sociology.
Our research methods content

Our research methods

Our research methods

There has been a UHI research team specialising in rural health and wellbeing, based at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness since 2007. The nature of our research and associated activities has meant that over this time, we have impact both within and beyond academia.

Our activities benefit remote and rural residents, healthcare professionals and communities contributing to changes in policy and practice relating to rural health and wellbeing. Our Division has been involved in the development of new rural health innovations and products. The theory, concepts, methods and tools developed within our Division have contributed to the field of rural health and other disciplines such as health geography and rural sociology.

Our team have particular expertise in:

  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Mixed methods research
  • Participatory methods
  • Longitudinal methods
  • Social Return on Investment
Our themes content

Our themes

Our themes

We have a vision to undertake world leading research in rural health and wellbeing. This is split into two work-streams, each led by a senior academic:

  • Co-Production and Participation
  • Digital Health Technologies and Strategies

Co-Production and Participation

Workstream Lead: Dr. Sarah-Anne Munoz, Reader in Rural Health and Wellbeing

Considering the interactions and communications between service providers, service users, communities and stakeholders in remote and rural areas. The work stream focuses on current issues of importance to remote and rural health and wellbeing:

  • Tools and methods for community engagement in service design
  • Evaluation of community engagement for health and wellbeing within the public sector
  • Service delivery through the voluntary and third sectors
  • Social prescribing and related activity
  • Engagement with nature and landscape for health and wellbeing
  • Use of participatory and creative methods for health and wellbeing

We run an annual intensive short course on co-production for research and social change, find out more on the Research and Social Change Residential Workshop webpage.

Digital Health Technologies and Strategies

Workstream Lead: Dr. Mark Grindle, Senior Lecturer in Digital Health

In this area we consider how health services and wellbeing enhancing activities are delivered and accessed in remote and rural areas. The work stream focuses on current issues of importance to remote and rural health and wellbeing:

  • Technology enabled access to existing and new services
  • Technology enabled behaviour change interventions
  • Innovative products, services and delivery
  • Engagement with nature and landscape for health and wellbeing
  • Use of participatory and creative methods for health and wellbeing
Contact us content

Contact us

Contact us

Division of Rural Health and Wellbeing

Centre for Health Science
Old Perth Road
Inverness
IV2 3JH

View Google Map

t: +44 (0)1463 279573

Head of Group: sandra.macrury@uhi.ac.uk
Acting Head of Rural Health and Wellbeing: sarah-anne.munoz@uhi.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in Digital Health: mark.grindle@uhi.ac.uk