The Collaborative Immersive Virtual Reality Series

I lead on the CILVRS Project at Bournemouth University. This  project is focusing on developing Virtual Reality Learning Environments (VRLE) to enhance healthcare students’ education at Bournemouth University. I am also writing my doctorate about one aspect of this project. The first article: Virtual health education: Scaling practice to transform student learning: Using virtual reality learning environments in healthcare education to bridge the theory/practice gap and improve patient safety has been published and you can read it here



NoObesity Apps

Obesity is still a growing public health problem in the UK and many healthcare workers find it challenging to have a discussion with service users about this sensitive topic. They also feel they are not competent to provide the relevant heath advice and are seeking easily accessible, evidence-based, mobile health learning (mHealth). mHealth applications (apps) such as the Professional NoObesity and Family NoObesity, have been designed to: support families with making sustainable positive behaviour changes to their health and well-being, ease pressure on practitioners’ overweight and obesity care related workloads, as well as to support the education of professionals, students and service users. You can read Health Education England’s post about the apps by clicking here.

This paper describes the process of designing the apps from the inception of the idea, through the stages of research, app builds and testing.  The processes of collaborative working to design and develop the apps to meet the needs of both service users and health professionals will also be reflected upon. Childhood obesity is an complex problem and whilst it is recognised that the NoObesity apps cannot singlehandedly resolve this health crisis, it is proposed that they can support families to identify and reduce the barriers that prevent them from living healthier, happier lives.

I’ve attached some photos at the end that explain a bit more but in short it is hoped the apps will change attitudes among the wider public on the importance of a healthy weight and lifestyle and also change attitudes of health and care workers who support clients with behaviour changes related to weight and lifestyle.

IOS apps:

Google Play apps:

Go download a NoObesity app or two and see what the excitement is all about!


Maternal and Childhood Obesity (MaCO)

maco-logoMaCO is a Bournemouth University distance learning package that I wrote the content for. MaCO is designed to enable people working with women, children and families to develop the underpinning knowledge and communication skills required to confidently discuss the health risks associated with maternal and childhood obesity. MaCO uses a range of different resources to suit all learning needs, is easy to follow, can be done at your own pace and in your chosen place thus enabling you to help women and children under your care to make and maintain healthier lifestyle choices.

Who is this for?
• Midwives, Midwifery support workers,
• Health Visitors, School Nurses, Nursery Nurses, Healthcare support workers,
• General Practitioners, Nurses, Practice nurses, Doctors
• Health Trainers, Childrens’ Centre Workers, Public Health Practitioners,
• Student health visitors / school nurses / dietitians / nurses / doctors,
• Any other professionals working with women, children or families.

Efficient and Accessible
• Online learning package
• MaCO has Degree and Masters level accreditation for higher CPD but is also available as unaccredited study if the learner would prefer this.
• Easy to use and navigate
• Resources to use during and after your time spent studying MaCO
• Bite-sized elements which can be completed at your own pace in your chosen place
• 6 months to complete to package

• Introduction to the Public Health aspects of obesity including current research and guidelines
• Weight / fat proportion assessment tools and health risk assessment tools
• Psychological impact of obesity
• Pre conceptual support
• Physiological impact of obesity in relation to antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care
• Perinatal and childhood weight management issues
• Developing a holistic approach to obesity management
• Myth busters and top tips
• Brief interventions
• Weight and lifestyle risk assessment resources
• Workbook
• End of MaCO learning package assessment
• Beginning and end evaluation of learning

Public Health Outcomes supported by MaCO
• Best start for all
• Reduction in childhood obesity
• Improvement in maternal health outcomes

Impact of MaCO on care delivery and to long term health outcomes
Learners are engaged in a variety of activities, which encourage consideration of resource implications and other issues that compound the provision of care in today’s NHS MaCO has the long term potential to improve maternal and childhood health outcomes through the provision of effective advice and guidance in relation making suitable lifestyle choices and encouraging behavioural modifications. The ultimate outcome of the MaCO package is that these lifestyle changes become autonomous at an individual client led level, and are sustainable and transferrable from mother to child.

If you would like to hear me talking about MaCO you can watch the WIRES podcast.

If you would like to gain access to this learning package please email Mary-Ann Robertson mrobertson(@) to discuss.

To find out more about the research into midwifery and public health  at Bournemouth University please follow this link