There are four UCT-accredited research entities within the School: Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER), Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR), Health Economics Unit (HEU) and the Women’s Health Research Unit (WHRU), which together with the 8 academic disciplinary divisions contribute to the research endeavour in the School. Research outputs in the previous year approximately 280 peer-reviewed journal publications, including books and book chapters. The research output has been increasing at a rate of around 15% year on year and is ranked 3rd in the Faculty. Total research grant and contract income to the School in the past year was around R50 million including grants from the US National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organisation.
In addition to this, academic staff participate in a range of provincial, national and international policy committees and produce a number of technical and policy papers. These contributions do not always find their way into peer-reviewed scientific journals, but are integral to the department's service mission, reflecting the School’s strong social responsiveness profile in applying research and scholarly activity as part of advocacy to promote the public’s health.
The School’s research mission is reflected in the wide range of research activities and the associated research outputs are notable for their multidisciplinary perspective. Publications cover childhood and adult tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment; HIV epidemiology, transmission and treatment (including treatment outcomes, adherence and mortality); adolescent risk-taking behaviour and educational interventions; prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection; contraceptive services and women’s reproductive health more broadly; economic analyses of tuberculosis and HIV services; HPV vaccination and cervical cancer prevention and health systems aspects of care related to TB and HIV.
The department continues its role as a national leader in occupational and environmental health research with investigations into occupational allergy and asthma, pesticides, hazardous metals and lung disease due to mineral dust.
Finally, the question of equity of resource allocation in health, and particularly in primary health care, continues to occupy researchers in health economics. The integration of human rights considerations, community participation, health management and leadership into public health policy and health systems practice is another major area of work.
The School has fifteen National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researchers, including Associate Professor John Ataguba, Honorary Associate Professor Tolu Oni and Dr Leigh Johnson (Promising Young Researchers), Professor Aqiel Dalvie, Professor Mary-Ann Davies, Dr Deborah Constant and Adjunct Associate Professor Chris Colvin (Established Researchers), Professor Lucy Gilson, Professor Andrew Boulle, Professor Mohamed Jeebhay, Professor Leslie London, Associate Professor Jill Olivier, Emeritus Professor Jim Cochrane, Emeritus Professor Rodney Ehrlich and Honorary Professor Richard Matzopoulos (all Internationally Acclaimed Researchers).
The School also hosts two NRF sponsored South African Research Chairs held by Associate Professor John Ataguba (Health and Wealth) and Professor Aqiel Dalvie (Global Environmental Health).