Toby Prevost, Professor of Medical Statistics in the Division of Health & Social Care Research, will deliver his inaugural lecture on 'Statistics in trials: Making complexity work'.
Read below Professor Prevost's summary of his research:
In common with other medical statisticians my experience has been in applying and developing methods in research studies to help answer valued health questions. Over the last three decades the UK has seen an increase in obesity and related medical conditions such as diabetes. An important public health question is the degree to which modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking and physical activity have an impact in improving or maintaining the health of individuals in the population.
Early on in my career, as part of the Health and Lifestyle Survey team, it soon became apparent to me that diet and physical activity are complex lifestyle behaviours – they are difficult to measure, and it is also challenging to see which of the many aspects of diet may be important in preserving health. For me, an interest grew in multivariate methods which examine all aspects together, providing a clearer insight into how diet may be associated with health outcomes. Large prospective surveys involve the collection of relatively large amounts of information from many individuals. However, most of my more recent health research has been in the use of randomised trials which are typically smaller studies focusing on answering more specific questions with a direct causal interpretation.
The lecture will focus on a trial which was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a so-called ‘complex intervention’ aiming to increase physical activity in those at risk of developing diabetes. From this trial, further multivariate methods (meta-analysis and mediation) were developed in order to answer questions to help explain the results of the trial. For me, this link between ‘statistics research’ and ‘health research’ has been important, as has the career-long experience in statistical consulting with clinical researchers in the design and evaluation of research studies.
The lecture will take place from 5.30pm on Wednesday 20 March in Lecutre Theatre 1, New Hunt's House, Guy's Campus.
This is a free lecture and open to the public. Please click here to reserve a place.