Speaker: Suzie Rotherham
Chair: Dr Jessie Cooper
Gastrointestinal (GI) infections are an important public health issue in the UK: at least 25% of the UK population experiences at least one infection each year; the financial cost to both the NHS and individuals in terms of loss of income, childcare and medication are significant; and there is an increasing body of evidence which points to inequalities in this group of diseases.
In this seminar Suzie will present findings from her ethnographic study which examined inequalities in the management and consequences of GI infections in families with young children.
She will start by showing how the labour to manage GI infections is extensive for all families with young children and argue that the dominant construction of these infections within medicine and public health as ‘acute’ and ‘self-limiting’ is misleading, hiding the extent and nature of the labour required to manage illness in the home.
She will go on to show how the ‘work’ expended to manage these infections is not equally distributed but is instead shaped by the contrasting social, environmental and economic conditions in which families with young children live.
Her presentation will then move to demonstrate how public health policies which require exclusions from school, nursery or places of work when ill shape inequalities in the financial consequences of gastrointestinal infections. She will then discuss parallels between these findings specific to GI infections and inequalities in COVID-19.
She will finish by arguing that a continued emphasis solely on public health policies promoting individual behaviours such as hygiene practices and social isolation to prevent infections may inadvertently exacerbate inequalities.
About the speaker
Suzie Rotheram is a postdoctoral researcher for the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections, based in the department of Public Health, Policy and Systems at the University of Liverpool.
Her current research looks to understand local health protection system adaptation and resilience during periods of austerity and pandemic.
Her PhD took an ethnographic approach to examine inequalities in gastrointestinal infections in families with young children. Before starting her postgraduate studies Suzie worked as a vet in clinical practice and is a Bristol veterinary school graduate.
Suzie’s research interests include inequalities in health, gastrointestinal infections and the intersection between animal health and human health.
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