Hazel Inskip is Professor of Statistical Epidemiology and Deputy Director of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit within Medicine at the University of Southampton.
Hazel graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a first class degree in Mathematics and Statistics then did an MSc and PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she worked for six years. She subsequently worked for the International Agency for Research in Cancer (WHO) at the MRC Laboratories in The Gambia on the Gambia Hepatitis Intervention Study, a trial of Hepatitis B vaccine in 124,000 infants. She moved to Southampton in 1991 to work at the MRC Unit.
Since 1998, she has been running the Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS) (https://www.mrc.soton.ac.uk/sws/) and contributing to and coordinating some of the resulting intervention studies that are now on-going. The SWS is an internationally-renowned cohort study, which, uniquely in the western world, recruited young women who were not pregnant and characterised them in detail before following up those who subsequently became pregnant. Some 12,583 women were recruited, of whom 3,158 went on to deliver a live-born infant. The children have been followed up regularly. The 11-13 year follow-up of the children started in August 2013 and the 17-19 year follow-up is being piloted.
Findings from the SWS have led to intervention studies assessing measures to improve public health. Notably, (1) we conducted a trial (MAVIDOS) of maternal vitamin D supplementation and showed that it improved bone health of the baby if it was born in the winter months. The children are continuing to be followed-up (2) the observation that maternal health behaviours have a profound influence on the diets and health of the children has led to developing a ‘Healthy Conversation Skills’ training for staff in Southampton Sure Start Children’s Centres, and an initiative for teenagers in schools known as LifeLab, based at Southampton General Hospital. LifeLab has been extended in EACH-B which she co-leads with Professor Mary Barker (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/lifelab/research/each-b.page) to including Healthy Conversation Skills for teachers and a digital app for the school students to use to encourage them to improve their health behaviours. The effects of vitamin D supplementation and/or Healthy Conversation Skills are being assessed in the SPRING trial, a factorial trial in pregnant women in Southampton.