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Personal profile

Research interests

Before moving into Higher Education Donna worked in practitioner, leadership and management roles within the NHS for over 25 years.  These roles included Health Visiting and Specialist Health Visiting (for children with disabilities/complex and additional needs), and as a Sure Start Community Health Co-ordinator.

In her previous clinical post, she worked for 8 years as a therapist in CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) providing early intervention for children (from birth to 5) and their families as an Early Years Mental Health Specialist within a Sure Start Children’s Centre.  This was part of an integrated team across health and social care, delivering support for the social and emotional development of children in line with the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda.  During this time, she was involved in the development of ‘Getting to know your Baby’ an antenatal programme, city wide in Sunderland, which was highly commended in the Nursing Times Awards, 2010 and LGC 2012.

Donna also piloted and evaluated a therapeutic group approach, ‘Fun Friends’, for young children (aged 4-7 years) with anxiety (using a cognitive behavioural therapy framework).  This won the ‘Patient Safety & Care Awards’ in 2014 and is now part of a rolling programme within Sunderland.  Donna continues to have an interest in infant mental health and the 1001 Critical Days Agenda.

Current research interests include infant mental health, human-animal interactions, Pets-As-Therapy, history of the school dog, children's literature, visual methods, comics, ethnography and Deleuzian philosophy.

Donna’s doctoral thesis seeks to explore, using visual methods, children’s experiences of interacting with a canine in the classroom/school setting:

“Growing up with School Dog ‘Ted’ – An Ethnographic Study” and the influence this relationship has on their growth, social and emotional development and wellbeing.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Health and Community Studies, MSc, Northumbria University

Award Date: 4 Jan 2016

Therapeutic Psychology, Diploma, Northumbria University

Award Date: 5 Sep 2011

Professional Development, Certificate, Northumbria University

Award Date: 6 Sep 2010

Counselling, HND, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Award Date: 6 Sep 2004

Health and Community Studies, BSc (Hons), Northumbria University

Award Date: 7 Sep 1998


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