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The University of Southampton

LifeLab lead takes up role on a national children’s council

Published: 7 March 2018
Kath in LifeLab

LifeLab’s programme manager Dr Kathryn Woods-Townsend has been appointed to the board of an influential children’s health body.

The ukactive Kids Board has been recently renamed the ukactive Kids Council and has seen 11 new members nominated as part of the revamped look.

The new board has been made up of professionals from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and is designed to reflect the future direction of the organisation.

Improving the lives of children across the UK by promoting the importance of physical activity in young people is a key aim of ukactive, and reflects the underlying principles of the LifeLab project, which is part of the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre and sits within Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.

LifeLab promotes scientific enquiry as a means to empower young people to make healthy choices about their lifestyle. More than 7,500 students have so far visited the purpose-built lab at University Hospital Southampton where they are able to get hands-on with their own health through a series of practical tasks.

Kathryn said she was delighted that the work of LifeLab programme was being recognised at a national level and that she could draw on her experience to help further the work of the ukactive organisation.

She says: “I feel privileged to join this inspiring group of leaders, all committed to bringing about changes in health outcomes for our young people.

“The varied expertise brought together and building on vibrant membership of ukactive has the potential to bring about a step change in how we tackle the challenges facing the next generation.

“Our challenge set out by Jack Shakespeare, who heads up ukactive Kids, is to drive this agenda forward and when our tenure is up, be sure that we have “left the shirt in a better place.”

As a scientist and an educator, Kathryn is committed to the importance of effective and stimulating science education from an early age enabling young people to develop their powers of scientific thinking.

Having been a successful research scientist with a PhD in Human Genetics, Kathryn retrained as a secondary school teacher, consolidating her interest in Science, Science education and Scientific literacy, currently extending into behaviour change theory. A key objective is to engage directly with adolescents, putting them at the heart of what LifeLab does, enabling them to understand the science behind the health messages and thereby empowering them to make healthier lifestyle choices – hearing their voice, their concerns and their solutions is crucial.

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