A health perspective to the war in Israel and Palestine

Gene Feder, VISION Director and Professor of Primary Care at the University of Bristol, has written an opinion piece with colleagues commenting on events in Israel and Gaza from a public health and primary care perspective. Responding to the war in Israel and Palestine was published in December in the online edition of the British Journal of General Practice.

Gene and his colleagues are GPs working to further the development of family medicine in the occupied Palestinian territory, specifically in the West Bank, but with links to family medicine in Gaza through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and through Medical Aid for Palestinians. They also have friends and family in Israel and Palestine.

They have three responses to the current crisis as informed by their work as GPs and connection to Palestinian primary care:

  1. A plea for the protection of health care and health professionals amid the war
  2. A plea for the preservation of public health amid war
  3. A recognition that in the aftermath of October 7th and the invasion of Gaza, the widespread direct and vicarious trauma in Israeli and Palestinian populations will result in permanent physical and emotional damage: the former in the shape of orthopaedic, neurological, and gynaecological (as a result of rape) harm, the latter in the form of widespread anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder which will also cascade down the generations.

Given VISION’s commitment to developing evidence on violence prevention, we will be organising roundtable meetings bringing together researchers focusing on post-conflict violence reduction. This is an opportunity for dialogue, perhaps leading to new perspectives and research including systematic assessment of sustainable post-conflict interventions as well as further joint activities.

For further information on the opinion piece, please see: Responding to the war in Israel and Palestine

Photograph by Emad El Byed on Unsplash

Community mental health through a complex systems lens

Researchers tend to evaluate the mental health effects of national trends and policies or of individual-level treatments and interventions. In The Lancet Public Health, VISION members Dr Olumide Adisa and Sally McManus argue that researchers also need to take account of what is happening at the local level.

Complex systems can be challenging both to action and evaluation. But it also offers a new way of thinking about real-life problems as experienced by diverse populations within local ecosystems. Olumide and Sally comment on a study by Tanith Rose and colleagues which shows that local economic and procurement strategies are a part of this complex system with implications for community health. Rose and colleagues show how local systems that are people-centred, redirect wealth back into the local economy, and give control and benefits to local people and institutions have the potential to improve health and reducing inequalities in a relatively short time.

A decade ago, statutory duties for public health moved from the National Health Service to local authorities, local authorities subsequently saw their budgets reduced. Finding ways to transition to a wellbeing economy through transforming local systems therefore needs multiple local partners, including employers, health and care institutions, specialist and police services, and public and not-for-profit organisations.  

The VISION consortium is developing ways to apply complex systems thinking to reducing violence and health inequalities, taking an intersectional and intersectoral approach that includes activities at the local level.

For further information please see: Community mental health through a complex systems lens – The Lancet Public Health

For more information, contact VISION lead on complex systems approach, Dr Olumide Adisa,

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash