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Experiences of health and illness
Social organisation of healthcare and implementation
Communication and interaction in healthcare
Chronic illness
Qualitative methods

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Personal profile

Research interests




I am a Professor of Applied Health Research. My research has focused on the development, implementation and testing of healthcare interventions using a range of mixed design and qualitative methods. I joined Northumbria in September 2018 as Associate Professor of Applied Health and Social Care. Prior to this I worked as a Senior Research Fellow in the Public Health Section of ScHARR at the University of Sheffield and in the Translating Knowledge to Action theme (CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber). Prior to joining the University of Sheffield I was a Senior Research Fellow (Qualitative) at the ARUK Primary Care Centre, Keele University (2010-14) where I conducted studies investigating the implementation of musculoskeletal care interventions, largely within large trials in primary care (STarT Back Tool). Between 2005 and 2010 I was a Lecturer in Medical Sociology at the Division of Primary Care, University of Manchester, and prior to this I was an NHS Executive Post Doctoral Research Training Fellow (2002-2005) under the supervision of Professor Stephen Harrison (University of Manchester), where I conducted a three year ethnographic research study of professional boundaries in the management of heart failure, culminating in a paper on 'professional legitimacy claims' in the Journal Sociology of Health & Illness (2008). Prior to this I held several research positions including as Research Associate (Cardiff University, University of Bristol), and a PhD Studentship funded by the Medical Research Council (University of Bristol/Bath, 1995-199) where I conducted an ethnography in decision-making in oncology (bowel cancer). I hold a Masters in Medical Sociology and a BA degree in Sociology. 

Prevously I have served on the NIHR PGfAR funding Committee (2017-2022), Health Sub Committee of the Arthritis Research UK (now Versus Arthritis, 2018-2021), and currently I am a member of the NIHR RfPB Funding Panel. I am the Programme Lead for the BSc Health and Social Care, University Faculty Representative on the Committee for Responsible Research Assessment, and honorary senior research fellow at the School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.

I have a longstanding interest in cancer care, namely the delivery of services and patient experiences. I have also conducted studies on patients and healthcare professionals in the context of muskuloskeletal conditions, Type 1 Diabetes (young adults), heart failure, help seeking behaviours by people prior to a cancer diagnosis. I have also conducted studies on risk perceptions among people with first degree relatives with cancer, and on non-accidental head injuries in young children culminating in a book (2006). Currently, I am a co-investigator on a primary care trial (NIHR HSDR) testing a new symptoms clinic in primary care for medically persistent symptoms, and a co-investigator on an NIHR Programme Grant to develop a digital intervention for fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis. Here I lead the qualitative and implementation research workpackages and supervise several researchers. Recent completed research includes a qualitative study and toolkit development for personalised care following hospital discharge (2022-2023), evaluation of the diabetes prevention programme, (health economic modelling tool for diabetes prevention, 2016-18), and a study investigating optimal models of care for post partum weight management (2017-18).

My research has been funded by NIHR (HSDR, PGfAR, HTA), NIHR NSPCR (National School for Primary Care Research), VONNE, and CLAHRC.


Research interests

Medical Sociology

Understanding standardised tools and interventions and their adoption in healthcare

Normalisation Process Theory

Experiences of chronic illness (heart failure, type 1 diabetes, musculoskeletal pain, persistent and medically unexplained symptoms)

Healthcare communication in the consultation (heart failure, primary care, physiotherapy)

Development and testing of a Symptoms Clinic in Primary Care (MSS3 Trial - Funded by NIHR HS&DR)

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 Social Research, PhD, Communication in bowel cancer consultations , University of Bath

1 Jul 19961 May 2000

Award Date: 1 May 2000

Sociology, MSc, Medical Sociology, Royal Holloway University of London

1 Sept 19921 Sept 1993

Award Date: 1 Sept 1993

Sociology, BA (Hons), Social Policy Research, University of East London

1 Sept 19881 Jul 1992

Award Date: 1 Jul 1992

External positions

Research Design Service (Advisor)

31 Dec 2018 → …

University of Sheffield

1 Sept 2018 → …

Versus Arthritis

1 Apr 2018 → …


1 Jan 2017 → …


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