Prof Jonathan Shepherd
Professor Shepherd's research has made many contributions to clinical and public policy and legislation. Reflecting this, he is a member (2013-16) of the Home Office Science Advisory Council. Funded mainly from charitable sources the Clinical Decisions Research Group (1991-1999), which he led, produced more than 40 publications relating to decision making in surgery, dentistry and anaesthesia and prompted the influential Royal College of Surgeons of England guideline published in 1996 and the historic first National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) technology appraisal – on prophylactic removal of third molars (wisdom teeth) in 2000. As a result of these guidelines and his advocacy for selective surgery in the national media, third molar removal has declined very substantially: 30,000 fewer third molar operations were carried out in NHS dental services in 2003 compared to 1996.
He directs the Cardiff University Violence and Society Research Group which bridges the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Psychology and Business, and collaborates with the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. His proposals that the NHS should be a statutory responsible authority for crime prevention and alcohol licensing were adopted by successive Governments. In 1996 he set up what proved to be the prototype UK Community Safety Partnership (CSP) – a collaboration between Cardiff County Council, South Wales Police, the Cardiff Health Board, Victim Support and Cardiff University – the Cardiff Violence Prevention Group. Among other initiatives, this Group pioneered the combination of police and A&E data as a means of targeting police and other violence prevention activity, prompted a switch from annealed to tempered glassware in the licensed trade which led to a substantial fall in glass-related injury and set up a prototype care pathway for the treatment of victims of violence in the NHS involving a new traumatic stress clinic, Victim Support services and mental health A&E nurses who screen for mental health problems and deliver early mental health interventions. The Group is highlighted as a model of good practice in the 1998 Act. His research findings have been adopted in the 2003 Licensing Act, in the 2007 & 2012 Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategies and by the Law Commission. As a founder Trustee and Vice Chair (2001-2004) of the national charity Victim Support he has led the development of integrated services for victims. His work for the 1993 Royal Commission on Criminal Justice included a BMJ editorial on the role of expert evidence in criminal proceedings. He represents the National Assembly for Wales in the WHO Violence Prevention Alliance and has served as a member of many government committees and reference groups including policy seminars chaired by successive Home Secretaries. He continues to chair the Cardiff Partnership Violence Task Group: since 2003, Cardiff violent crime rates have been lowest in its Home Office family of 15 similar cities.
His research on alcohol misuse established a causal link between binge drinking and injury in assault, in part through NHS R&D and Research Council funded randomised experiments of brief (motivational interview) interventions in the lives of victims and offenders. He developed cost-effective one-stop alcohol misuse intervention/trauma clinic care, now the subject of nurse training material and implementation nationally.
Other recent research findings include the strong link between alcohol prices and injury sustained in violence in England and Wales; that the rate of assault injury in England and Wales remained stable from 1995-2000 and then decreased sharply - a trend which continues to 2013; and that financial incentives for glass recycling substantially decreases glass injury risk in public places. Jonathan Shepherd’s research with Michael Harrison on the design of cycle helmets led to the development, production and retail sale of the patented FaceSaver helmet, launched by the Formula One driver David Coulthard at the National Motor Show in 2002.
He proposed the establishment of a Royal College of Policing (founded in 2013) and university police schools as a foundation for police services, and is a keen advocate of rigorous evaluation in public services, for example by developing an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) field trials unit to mirror the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, through establishing NICE equivalents in crime reduction and education (the "What Works" centres announced in 2013); and by developing the roles of practitioner-academics. As founder secretary and chairman of his national specialty academic Association, he pioneered an integrated clinical/academic training programme which has become a model in UK medical academic training. He has served as President of his specialty international research society.