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The Division of Health Psychology stands in unity with our colleague Professor Susan Michie

28 April 2021

As a highly respected member of the health psychology community, Professor Michie is internationally recognised as a Health Psychologist and distinguished scientist in the field of behaviour change.  Her wealth of expertise is evidenced in her contributions to both SAGE and Independent SAGE, alongside decades of high quality, peer-reviewed research.

As representatives of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Health Psychology and the BPS COVID-19 Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce we were disappointed to have read in the media the recent personal attacks on our esteemed colleague Professor Susan Michie.  

As a highly respected member of the health psychology community, Professor Michie is internationally recognised as a Health Psychologist and distinguished scientist in the field of behaviour change.  Her wealth of expertise is evidenced in her contributions to both SAGE and Independent SAGE, alongside decades of high quality, peer-reviewed research. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the health psychology community have been supporting the national and global public health response, helping front line health and social care workers to cope with the unprecedented high burden of rationing care, caring for the dying and helping grieving relatives. They have further been helping international, national and local public health teams understand, facilitate and enable disease prevention strategies and behaviours.  

Throughout this work, as a collective, we have relied on the science and evidence-based behaviour change tools and techniques, developed by Professor Michie and her huge interdisciplinary teams of colleagues. Central public health teams, local councils, NHS health and care organisations, those in the third sector and fellow academics have been grateful for the support of health psychology professionals.

We recognise that during any public health emergency, there are difficult decisions to be made. Science can help those decisions to be better informed. Without the science, and in particular psychological and behavioural science, we run the risk of ill-informed decisions, subjectivity and bias. 

We express our support and solidarity for Professor Michie during this personal attack, and we stand shoulder to shoulder as a scientific community. We attest to her scientific integrity and outstanding contribution to knowledge. And we thank her for her leadership and for the unimaginable amount of time and commitment that she has dedicated to the COVID-19 response and the discipline of health psychology.

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