Deputy Chair, Faculty Athena SWAN Implementation Group
Athena SWAN is a charter established in 2005 by the Equality Challenge Unit. It was originally set up to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). In 2015 the charter was expanded to include staff in academic, professional and support roles and broaden the substantive areas to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law. The focus of the charter was also expanded to address gender equality more broadly not just barriers that affect women. It also saw the inclusion of intersectionality – which recognises that people can face discrimination based on different elements of their identity not just their gender – e.g. age, disability, race, religion and sexuality.
Following the University successfully achieving an Institutional Bronze award in 2013, the School (now Faculty) submitted itsapplication for Athena SWAN in April 2015 and were awarded this in December 2015. The focus for the team now is to press on with implementing the action plan to promote equality and apply for our Silver award in the future.
Honorary Treasurer for the Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies (SLLS)
The Biology of Inequality: biological pathways between socioeconomic position and health (biological ageing, allostatic load and oxidative stress)
Health Inequalities: what they look like, what causes them and how do we fix them
Public Health: range of interests with colleagues in public health and epidemiology
Academic and Community/Public Engagement and Activism - collaborating to better understand and reduce health inequalities through community-based approaches
My work focuses on trying to better understand the mechanisms linking our socioeconomic circumstances (e.g. education, employment, housing) and our health across the lifecourse, thereby helping inform policies that can help mitigate, reduce or remove health inequalities. This includes investigating what I call 'the biology of inequality' (the biological pathways between socioeconomic circumstances and health); investigating the prevalence, incidence and predictive power of biomarkers of ageing; and working with community organisations and grassroots activist groups trying to improve population health and reduce health inequalities.
I am keen to supervise students for any research projects that include linking social and economic data (work, housing, education etc.) with health data, with the aim of helping us better understand and reduce health inequalities in society. My expertise is predominantly in quantitative methods and using biomarkers to assess physiological health, so this might include primary data collection and/or secondary data analysis of existing datasets. We already have a vast array of cohort and survey data available to analyse throughout the UK such as Understanding Society and the Scottish and English Health Surveys. However, depending on the research question I would also be happy to discuss alternative methods such as qualitative or mixed methods approaches. For example, some of my research and advocacy work looks at engagement and empowerment of community and activist groups in trying to improve health and reduce health inequalities and has utilised qualitative methods. As a PhD student, you would be based in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Sport PhD programme.
Please contact me if you'd like to discuss more.
Past student projects:
Allostatic load as a risk predictor for mortality
Importance of context in socioeconomic patterning of allostatic load
Socioeconomic patterning of public transport food adverts
Evaluability Assessment of the Health Issues in the Community, a community-led training programme
Fisher S, Bennett C, Hennessy D, Robertson T, Leyland A, Taljaard M, Sanmartin C, Jha P, Frank J, Tu JV, Rosella LC, Wang J, Tait C & Manuel DG (2020) International population-based health surveys linked to outcome data: A new resource for public health and epidemiology. Health Reports, 31 (7), pp. 12-23. https://doi.org/10.25318/82-003-x202000700002-eng
Robertson T & Engstrom S (2020) From bush fires to terrorism: how communities become resilient. The Conversation. 21.01.2020. https://theconversation.com/from-bush-fires-to-terrorism-how-communities-become-resilient-129932
Engstrom S, Docherty PJ & Robertson T (2019) Building a Movement: Community Development and Community Resilience in Response to Extreme Events. University of Stirling. Stirling. https://www.stir.ac.uk/research/public-policy-hub/policy-briefings/
Engstrom S, Docherty P & Robertson T (2019) Building a Movement: Community Development and Community Resilience in Response to Extreme Events - End of Project Report. National Centre for Resilience. Stirling, UK. https://extremeevents.stir.ac.uk/files/2019/12/Community-Resilience-to-Extreme-Events-Final-Report-Dec-2019.pdf
Ellaway A, Dundas R, Robertson T & Shiels PG (2019) More miles on the clock: Neighbourhood stressors are associated with telomere length in a longitudinal study. PLOS ONE, 14 (3), Art. No.: e0214380. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214380
Stoddart K, Cowie J, Robertson T, Bugge C, Donaldson J & Andreis F (2019) The Scottish Ambulance Service New Clinical Response Model Evaluation Report [NCRM report for SAS]. Scottish Ambulance Service. Stirling: University of Stirling. https://scottishamb-newsroom.prgloo.com/news/scottish-ambulance-service-clinical-model-credited-with-saving-43-percent-more-lives
Robertson T, Beveridge G & Bromley C (2017) Allostatic load as a predictor of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the general population: Evidence from the Scottish Health Survey. PLoS ONE, 12 (8), Art. No.: e0183297. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183297
Robertson T, Marsden S & Kapilashrami A (2017) A Public Health Politics That is a People's Health. In: Hassan G & Barrow S (eds.) A Nation Changed? The SNP and Scotland Ten Years On. Edinburgh: Luath Press. http://www.luath.co.uk/a-nation-changed.html
Belford M, Robertson T & Jepson R (2017) Using evaluability assessment to assess local community development health programmes: a Scottish case-study. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 17, Art. No.: 70. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-017-0334-4
Green MJ, Espie C, Popham F, Robertson T & Benzeval M (2017) Insomnia symptoms as a cause of type 2 diabetes Incidence: a 20 year cohort study. BMC Psychiatry, 17, Art. No.: 94. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-017-1268-4
Kapilashrami A, Marsden S & Robertson T (2016) A right to health for the people of Scotland. In: Barrow S & Small M (eds.) Scotland 2021. Edinburgh: Bella Caledonia/Ekklesia, pp. 81-86. http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/12/21/scotland-2021-3/
Kapilashrami A, Smith K, Fustukian S, Eltanani MK, Laughlin S, Robertson T, Muir J, Gallova E & Scandrett E (2016) Social movements and public health advocacy in action: the UK people’s health movement. Journal of Public Health, 38 (3), pp. 413-416. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdv085
Robertson T, Kapilashrami A & Smith K (2016) Sick Scotland: SNP plans to deal with health inequality are lukewarm at best. The Conversation. 25.05.2016. https://theconversation.com/sick-scotland-snp-plans-to-deal-with-health-inequality-are-lukewarm-at-best-59294
Robertson T & Watts E (2016) The importance of age, sex and place in understanding socioeconomic inequalities in allostatic load: Evidence from the Scottish Health Survey (2008–2011). BMC Public Health, 16 (1), Art. No.: 126. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-2796-4
Robertson T (2016) Origins of heath inequalities: The case for allostatic load. Commentary on: Delpierre C, Barboza-Solis C, Torrisani J, Darnaudery M, Bartley M, Blane D, Kelly-Irving M (2016) Allostatic load as a measure of social embodiment: conceptual and empirical considerations. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 7 (1), pp. 80-85.. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 7 (1), pp. 92-96. http://www.llcsjournal.org/index.php/llcs/issue/view/34; https://doi.org/10.14301/llcs.v7i1.325
Frank JW, Bromley C, Doi L, Estrade M, Jepson R, McAteer J, Robertson T, Treanor M & Williams A (2015) Seven Key Investments for Health Equity across the Lifecourse: Scotland versus the rest of the UK. Social Science and Medicine, 140, pp. 136-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.07.007
Robertson T, Benzeval M, Whitley E & Popham F (2015) The role of material, psychosocial and behavioral factors in mediating the association between socioeconomic position and allostatic load (measured by cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory markers). Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 45, pp. 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2014.10.005
Robertson T, Estrade M, Jepson R, Muir G & Skivington K (2015) The nature of employment and excess mortality in Glasgow and Scotland. NHS Health Scotland. Edinburgh. http://www.healthscotland.com/uploads/documents/27303-The%20nature%20of%20employment%20and%20excess%20mortality%20in%20Glasgow%20and%20Scotland.pdf
Jepson R, Estrade M, Robertson R & Robertson T (2014) Meta-synthesis of findings from evaluations and qualitative interviews of work involving community food and its impact on mental health and wellbeing. NHS Health Scotland. Edinburgh. http://www.healthscotland.com/uploads/documents/23247-RE004FinalReport1314.pdf
Robertson T, Popham F & Benzeval M (2014) Socioeconomic position across the lifecourse & allostatic load: data from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 cohort study. BMC Public Health, 14 (1), Art. No.: 184. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-184
Robertson T & Benzeval M (2014) Do mismatches between pre- and post-natal environments influence adult physiological functioning?. PLoS ONE, 9 (1), Art. No.: e86953. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086953
Robertson T, Batty GD, Der G, Fenton C, Shiels PG & Benzeval M (2013) Is socioeconomic status associated with biological aging as measured by telomere length?. Epidemiologic Reviews, 35 (1), pp. 98-111. https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxs001
Phillips AC, Robertson T, Carroll D, Der G, Shiels PG, McGlynn LM & Benzeval M (2013) Do symptoms of depression predict telomere length? Evidence from the west of Scotland twenty-07 study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 75 (3), pp. 288-96. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e318289e6b5
Der G, Batty GD, Benzeval M, Deary I, Green MJ, McGlynn LM, McIntyre A, Robertson T & Shiels PG (2012) Is telomere length a biomarker for aging: cross-sectional evidence from the west of Scotland?. PLoS ONE, 7 (9), Art. No.: e45166. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045166
Robertson T, Batty GD, Der G, Green MJ, McGlynn LM, McIntyre A, Shiels PG & Benzeval M (2012) Is telomere length socially patterned? Evidence from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study. PLoS ONE, 7 (7), Art. No.: e41805. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041805
Snook RR, Robertson T, Crudgington HS & Ritchie MG (2005) Experimental manipulation of sexual selection and the evolution of courtship song in Drosophila pseudoobscura. Behavior Genetics, 35 (3), pp. 245-255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-005-3217-0
Course Director for a fully online taught Master of Public (MPH) programme based in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Sport. This course has been specifically designed for students from various backgrounds who have an interest in Public Health research, policy and practice, but will be particularly relevant to those considering a future Public Health career, either in the UK or abroad. The online nature of this interdisciplinary programme is ideal for those wanting to gain a Master’s level qualification concurrently with full-time employment. The flexibility on offer in terms of module choices will allow students to create a bespoke learning environment, suitable to their learning needs, interests and aspirations. Graduates can expect to have received the relevant theoretical and practical skills that are needed for careers as Public Health researchers, policymakers and/or practitioners across the public, private and voluntary/community/not-for-profit sectors.