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Sonnda joined What Works Scotland as a Project Consultant in December 2015.  Based at the University of Glasgow, she is working with Professor Nick Watson on a study exploring the barriers and facilitators to the establishment of third sector services in local authority areas where they have no previous history of involvement.

The role of the third sector has been acknowledged in a range of different sectors, including health and social care, housing, community development, social justice, crime prevention, employment, children and young people’s services, teaching and training, environmental conservation. Whilst these have been broadly successful and have been well received there is some evidence that the relationship between the third sector and local authorities can be strained and that developing joint working can be difficult. The aim of this project is to explore this from both sides.

Sonnda has 13 years’ experience in health improvement research and evaluation – two at regional level with NHS Argyll & Clyde; four with Have a Heart Paisley, Scotland’s national demonstration for coronary heart disease; and seven with NHS Health Scotland, Scotland’s national agency for health improvement. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, she holds an undergraduate degree in Physiology, Sports Science & Nutrition and a Masters in Public Health.

Her experience spans national population health surveillance (as a member of Scotland’s Public Health Observatory); project and programme evaluation (local and national); national policy development, monitoring and evaluation, e.g. alcohol, diet, physical activity, mental health & wellbeing. Her work on alcohol showed that Scots were drinking twice as much as national surveys suggested, and was key in Scottish Government taking a more radical approach to tackling Scotland’s alcohol challenge, as reflected in current alcohol policy.

Areas of specialism include: food and diet/healthy eating, obesity/weight management, alcohol, mental health and wellbeing, physical activity, evaluation, quantitative methods, surveys, mixed methods, triangulation.