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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: Events


Adapting social intervention models for local use: Connecting People in the UK, Sierra Leone and Nepal

Adapting social intervention models for local use: Connecting People in the UK, Sierra Leone and Nepal
Speaker: Professor Martin Webber # Professor of Social Work, University of York; Hosted by: Dr Sumeet Jain # Senior Lecturer in Social Work; International Director, School of Social and Political Science
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Date and Time
15th Feb 2019 16:00 - 15th Feb 2019 16:00

Connecting People is a social intervention model which articulates the processes involved in enhancing individuals’ social networks. It was developed in England with adults with mental health problems but has been adapted for use in many different local contexts and with people with various strengths and needs. In England, it has been applied in community mental health teams in NHS mental health trusts; local authority adult social care teams; third sector projects; an inpatient rehabilitation unit; a social prescribing project in a museum and with university students, for example. It has been adapted for use with people with mental health problems in Sierra Leone and bonded labourers in Nepal; and it is now being adapted for use with people being released from prison in New Jersey, US. It could be argued that the adaptability of the model is a strength as it can be responsive to local conditions. However, it could similarly be viewed as diluting the principle of an evidence-based intervention, which needs to be delivered with fidelity to its model. This seminar will discuss these issues through the lens of a cultural adaptation framework, with examples and evidence from different local contexts. We will explore the argument that fidelity to an adapted model can still be measured and adhered to, whilst ensuring that the intervention is appropriate for the socio-economic and cultural context it is being used within. Finally, some conclusions will be drawn for social work practice and research in the UK and beyond.


Martin is a registered social worker with experience of working with adults with a mental health problem or a learning disability. He is Professor of Social Work at the University of York where he leads the International Centre for Mental Health Social Research and the academic team delivering the Think Ahead graduate training programme for mental health social workers. His research focuses on the development and evaluation of social interventions, and his teaching seeks to train social workers to use social interventions in their day to day practice with the aim of improving outcomes for people who use social work services. 

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