Dr Mzwandile Mabhala has expertise in epidemiology, social justice and research in a wide range of public health projects. He has had several senior public health roles within the UK National Health Service and higher education institutions, including senior public health skills development programme manager at the University of Oxford Institute of Health Sciences.
He is co-editor of Health Improvement and Well-Being: Strategies for Action, which was highly commended in the British Medical Association’s Medical Book Awards 2015. He co-edited Key Concepts in Public Health (2009).
He was an invited keynote speaker at the 3rd International Conference on Nursing and Healthcare, held in San Francisco, USA in October 2015. He presented his research papers at several international conferences including the International Public Health Festival 2015 (Manchester), the UK Public Health Festival (Manchester, July 2013), the International Public Health Conference in Kuching, Malaysia (August 2013), and the 2nd International Conference on Nursing and Healthcare held in Chicago, USA in November 2014.
DrMabhala’s research interestscentre on students’ health; socio-economic determinants of inequalities in health and social justice. He was the North West England co-ordinator of the International Study on University Students’ Determinants of Health. His recently funded projects are: Behavioural intervention "Making every contact count".
His current funded research projects are:
1. The determinants of homelessness through examining the life stories of homeless people and those who work with them.
2. Assessment of the potential impact of HealthCheck on health inequalities and evaluation of the impact of social marketing intervention on its uptake
3. Understanding of issues around the New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) in Telford and Wrekin Areas
4. Cost benefit analysis for the substance misuse services in Telford and Wrekin Areas
Background: There has been a sharp increase in homelessness following recent UK welfare and other social policy reforms; these reforms included public expenditure reductions, compounded by benefit cuts which lowered/capped housing benefits and weakened welfare protection and the housing safety net. The increase occurred despite efforts by the government and charitable organisations to mitigate it,which raises questions about their strategies’ effectiveness and about policymakers’ understanding of homelessness.
Aim:This study aims to gain insight into the determinants of homelessness through examining the life stories of homeless people and those who work with them.
Methodology: Constructivist grounded theory (CGT) is used to develop a theoretical explanation of the determinants of homelessness. Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews are being conducted in several centres for homeless people in the north west of England, UK.
Results: Initial analysis of the stories of homeless people reveals four determinants of homelessness: home and childhood environments, experiences during school life, type of social lifestyle and opportunities for access to social goods.
Conclusion: Participants see their homelessness as a manifestation of fundamental determinants of social inequalities such as education, income inequality, unemployment and welfare, barriers to housing and other services; crime; and living environment.