Understanding the unintended consequences of prevention policies

Room 1150 Muirhead, University of Birmingham
Wednesday 26 February 2020 (16:00-17:30)

SPSC Lecture series 2019-2020

With speaker Dr Kathryn Oliver, Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Health, LSHTM

Public health policies sometimes have unexpected effects, including harms. Understanding how policies and interventions lead to outcomes is essential if policymakers and researchers are to intervene effectively and reduce harmful and other unintended consequences (UCs) of their actions. Yet, evaluating complex mechanisms and outcomes is challenging, even before considering how to predict assess and understand outcomes and UCs when interventions are scaled up. To explore this problem, we held a number of workshops with policy, research and evaluation specialists. In this talk, I will discuss some examples of harms caused by policies, and possible responses policy and research communities could make.


Kathryn Oliver’s work sits at the intersections of sociology, STS, policy and health sciences. Following a brief career as a systematic reviewer, she became interested in using empirical means to explore what evidence is used in public policy, how, and by whom. She is particularly interested in how evidence use influences both research and policy practices, and is coordinating a multidisciplinary initiative to transform research into evidence use: https://TransformURE.wordpress.com.

@oliver_kathryn or @transformure