Image of a crowd of people

The Self-Care Academic Research Unit (SCARU) is the first university academic unit dedicated specifically to the study of self-care. Imperial SCARU was formally launched at the 19th Annual Self-Care Conference in London in 2017.

SCARU’s vision is to be the leading academic base for self-care, focused on the contributions that individuals, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders can make to improve wellbeing, prevent disease, and self-manage existing conditions and so-called ‘diseases of the lifestyle’ including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

SCARU’s mission is to make the absolute case for self-care. The Unit will achieve this by identifying and studying the ways in which individuals, communities and existing health and social care infrastructure and assets can improve people’s self-care behaviours and overall sense of mental and physical health wellbeing, addressing opportunities and barriers to self-care in the contemporary setting.

SCARU will consider how self-care can be embedded as a cross-cutting theme to inform health systems development and evidence-based policy prescriptions to support the routine adoption of health-seeking behaviours for the benefit of individuals and society throughout the life-course and in different settings.

Who we are

SCARU is a three-way collaboration between Imperial College London School of Public Health, the UK Self-Care Forum (SCF), and the International Self-Care Foundation (ISF). The School of Public Health aims to achieve better health in the population by strengthening the public health science base, training the next generation of public health leaders and influencing health policies and programmes worldwide. The Self-Care Forum is a charity with a focus in the UK and aims to raise awareness of the importance of self-care as well as provide information and guides to implement self-care into everyday life. SCF organises National Self-Care Week and developed the Self-Care Continuum. The International Self-Care Foundation is a charity with an international focus, dedicated to advancing policy prescriptions for self-care, and is the originator of International Self Care Day (24/7) and the Seven Pillars of Self-Care framework.

SCARU team

  • Dr Austen El-Osta (SCARU Director)
  • Professor Azeem Majeed (Head of Department)
  • Mr Aos Alaa (Research Associate)
  • Dr Benedict Hayhoe (GP & Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care)
  • Dr David Mummery (GP & RCGP Clinical Adviser)
  • Dr David Skinner (President, International Self-Care Foundation)
  • Eva Riboli-Sasco (Research Associate)
  • Ms Iman Webber (Research Associate)
  • Ms Manisha Karki (Research Associate)
  • Dr Marie Line El Asmar (Research Associate)
  • Dr Kaveh Asanati (Hon. Senior Clinical Lecturer, NHLI)
  • Dr Pete Smith (President, The Self Care Forum UK)
  • Dr Ricky Banarsee (R&D Director)

SCARU works in collaboration with

What we do

SCARU focuses primarily on developing thought leadership & evidence generation to advance our understanding of self-care in the context of 21st century living by coordinating a wide programme of activities, including:

  1. Evidence synthesis in relation to various aspects of self-care
  2. Evaluation of self-care initiatives and public health programmes
  3. Collaboration with industry partners and device manufacturers to support technology enabled self-care approaches and intelligent use of data and healthcare resources
  4. Explore how self-care can benefit the wider health economy from the perspective of funding of outcomes as opposed to activities
  5. Consider the psychosocial aspects of self-care (personal barriers & drivers)
  6. nfluence inter/national policy on self-care
  7. Advance policy prescriptions to ‘democratise’ self-care & support a ‘self-care in all health policy’ approach
  8. Tool development for measuring individual self-care capabilities


Upcoming events