Award-winning health researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are involved in hosting the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) annual conference in Scotland from 19-21 October.

Scotland’s Public Health Minister Maree Todd will open the three-day conference which will bring together hundreds of delegates and speakers from across the globe, united in their mission to ensure people who use drugs have equal access to the healthcare they need to live well.

GCU’s hepatitis C expert Professor Sharon Hutchinson is on the main organising committee as co-convenor for the conference at Glasgow’s SEC, and Dr Andrew McAuley and Dr Norah Palmateer are key presenters.

Professor Hutchinson said: “I’m delighted that a large number of GCU researchers – involving both early career and senior staff – will provide a major contribution to this international event, with numerous presentations covering a range of topics from examining the impact of COVID-19 through to changing drug use patterns and impact of hepatitis C treatment on quality of life. “

“GCU researchers will also lead on a number of workshops including on the role of peers in research and the importance of bio-behavioural surveys to inform hepatitis C elimination strategies and harm reduction policies.”

“The conference is an opportunity for academics, practitioners, policymakers and community representatives to come together and share the latest on innovations and best practice to tackle drug-related harms and improve the health of people who use drugs.”

Dr McAuley is to give the keynote speech on ‘Evidence-based approaches for reducing drug-related deaths – What interventions work and what does the future hold?’.

Dr Palmateer will present evidence for a dedicated session with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) on their new European guidance on prevention of HIV and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs, which is being launched at the conference.

Other GCU staff and PhD students involved in the conference are Professor Lawrie Elliott, Dr Matt Smith, Dr Kirsten Trayner, Dr Alan Yeung, Dr Vicki Hammill, Dr Gaby Vojt, Dr Scott McDonald, Dr David Whiteley, Shanley Smith, Megan Glancy and Amy McEwan.

In conjunction with INHSU, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Scottish Drugs Forum, Professor Hutchinson has also co-convened a policy day ahead of the conference aimed at learning lessons from international experts on how to reduce drug-related deaths, with a focus on the implementation and evaluation of drug consumption rooms.

The researchers are part of GCU’s Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses (SHBBV) and Substance Use groups in the School of Health and Life Sciences’ Research Centre for Health (ReaCH).

They clinched a top international award earlier this year for their world-leading HIV and hepatitis C prevention research in people who inject drugs.

The team won the 2021 Emerald Publishing International Real Impact Award – Mobilising Research into Action category – for demonstrating impactful results through incredible collaborative working.

ReaCH makes a direct and significant contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 3 – good health and wellbeing – issued by United Nations in 2015 as a blueprint for peace and prosperity across the planet.

More information on the conference here –