'Like a shadow health service'

Psychologists feature prominently on shortlist for the Health Humanities Medal.

Several psychologists are amongst those nominated for the Health Humanities Medal, a new national award led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in association with the Wellcome Trust.

The Health Humanities Medal celebrates and showcases the important but unsung work being done to inform and transform the quality of life, health and wellbeing of the population using arts and humanities research.

Paul Crawford, the world’s first Professor of Health Humanities, has led the development of these new awards. Based at the University of Nottingham, he leads both the AHRC-funded Madness and Literature Network and International Health Humanities Network. He said: 'The arts and humanities are major forces in keeping people well, connecting them socially and restoring them to good health. Whether it’s music, visual arts, or dance, the arts and humanities are like a shadow health service that works quietly and powerfully to transform lives and aid recovery.'

Projects shortlisted include schemes with older people at risk of social isolation; with people experiencing psychosis and mental distress; and using music and dance to break down social exclusion.

Professor Edward Harcourt, Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at the AHRC, said: 'The AHRC has always seen the importance of backing the health humanities. We were struck by the exceptional quality of the applications, which express a more inclusive vision of health and wellbeing and how to achieve it in ways that are not driven by medical science alone.'

The nominees include:

- Professor Charles Fernyhough and Dr Angela Woods (University of Durham) in the 'Best research' category. 
- Dr Daisy Fancourt (University College London) in 'Best Doctoral or Early Career Research'.
- Professor Aaron Williamon (Head of Performance Science at the Royal College of Music) for the 'Inspiration Award'.
- Dr Alinka Greasley at the University of Leeds, a music psychologist working with audiological scientist Dr Harriet Crook.
- Dr Ross White (reader in clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool) for 'Best International Research'.
- Professor Hilary Marland (University of Warwick), a medical historian who has worked on the history of mental illness, for the 'Leadership award'. 

Click here for the full list. The winners will be announced on 11 September during a special awards ceremony being held at the House of Commons.

UPDATE: The winners have now been announced; congratulations in particular to Daisy Fancourt and Ross White!

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