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Personal profile

Academic Biography

I am a Practitioner Health Psychologist (registered with the HCPC) and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)

I have 20 years’ experience of providing health psychology input and leadership to research, with expertise in primary, mixed methods and multi-disciplinary applied and translational research in a variety of contexts for a range of clinical conditions, including complex systematic reviews (15 published to date) and delivery of training to medical and allied health professionals on how to motivate their patients to engage in health and lifestyle behaviour change.

I have over 100 published outputs (70 peer-reviewed publications and 92 conference papers), including a lead author of a book (Non-medical influences upon medical decision-making and referral behaviour. Praeger Publishers) and chapters in several books (Health Psychology in Action, Wiley-Blackwell; Researching Quality in Care transitions: International perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan; and New Directions in Health Psychology, Vol 1, Sage)

Summary of Research Interests

I am interested in research across the entire sphere of influence in health psychology (i.e., application of psychological theory/methods to management of health problems; health promotion; psychological factors associated with health conditions; and quality improvement in both healthcare practice and policy).

Current research interests:

  • Complex multi-faceted interventions to support people living with long-term conditions to engage in lifestyle and health behaviour change
  • Healthcare professional skills development training interventions for supported self-management
  • Personalised care interventions (social prescribing and shared decision making)
  • Multimorbidity and integrated care
  • Service development for stroke 

My research work has actively engaged people with a range of health conditions and their relatives from the NHS and third sector (charitable) organisations (in partnership with clinicians and other stakeholders) in an iterative co-design/production and evaluation process (with reference to appropriate theory and evidence-based methods). This has maximised the degree that resultant interventions are grounded in patient experience that increases their sensitivity to the target context, which in turn maximises their acceptability, usability, effectiveness and impact.

I believe that how people understand and engage with healthcare should be at the heart of any impact-oriented research aiming to develop/improve services to enhance patient experience and patient-centred outcomes. 

Selected examples of impactful research outputs: 

COMPASS (COMPuterised decision Aid for Stroke thrombolysiS). A computerised decision aid that provides rapid individualised information on risks and benefits of treatment with and without thrombolysis to support the process of ‘truly’ informed consent and shared decision making during the extreme time-limited emergency context of acute stroke treatment.

Winner 1st place in the 'Innovative Service Delivery' category of the Bright Ideas in Health Awards 2013 convened by NHS Innovations North: https://my.ncl.ac.uk/staff/nuconnections/item/compass-finds-the-way-to-nhs-award

Several citations of COMPASS in Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulations Agency (MHRA) expert working group report on thrombolysis (Alteplase) for stroke. “The COMPASS decision making tool is considered to be the most highly developed risk estimation tool for acute ischaemic stroke patients potentially treated with rt-PA.” https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/448994/Communication_of_benefit_and_risk_with_patients.pdf

Co-produced Educational Film about Shared Decision Making in Mental Health: theory-based educational film to raise awareness of the benefits of shared decision making in primary care for depression, in partnership with experts by experience from Moving Forward Newcastle and input/contribution from Frank Bruno MBE. The film can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/2vBm50Q   


Finalist in two categories: Access to Information; and Partnership Working to Improve the Experience,Patent Experience Network National Awards (PENNA), The Rep, Birmingham, 11th March 2015 http://www.patientexperienceawards.org/penna-2014/penna-2014-winners-and-finalists/

Finalist - British Universities Film and Video Council Learning on Screen Awards 2016 in the category 'Courseware and Curriculum In-House Production award': http://bufvc.ac.uk/events/learningonscreen/learning-on-screen-award-2016-nominations


Over 10,000 visitors to the film website (19K page views) from 93 different countries (Google Analytics). (highest in descending rank order - Russia, UK, USA and China)

Film development process was selected by the NHS Improving Quality as example of best practice for PPI/E: http://www.hqip.org.uk/resources/case-study-a-journey-twoards-recovery-from-depression/

Listed as a resource on the Health Foundation’s Person-centred Care Resource Centre: http://personcentredcare.health.org.uk/resources/shared-decision-making-depression

Mental health - a matter for us all (The Journal 2015, J2, pp15-16; also comment, p18) http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/health/new-film-newcastle-university-hopes-9028315


External Roles and Professional Activities

Health and Care Professions Council:

  • Practitioner Health Psychologist (PYL 06321)

British Psychological Society:

  • Chartered Psychologist (150897)
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)
  • Full Member of the Division of Health Psychology
  • Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor
  • Accredited Coordinating Supervisor for the Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology 

Visiting Fellow, Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, UK 

Member of the Value in Health Economics and Policy Group, University of Newcastle, Australia: https://www.value-health-economics-policy.org/  

FUSE, The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health:  Associate Member

Evidence Based Perioperative Medicine (EBPOM):

  • Faculty Member

Reviewer for NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Programme (RfPB), Health Service and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme and Programme Grants for Applied Research (PgFAR)

Reviewer for the following journals: Patient Education and Counseling; Implementation Science; BMC Public Health; BMJ Open; BMC Health Services Research; Journal of General Internal Medicine; Health Policy and Technology; Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities; Critical Public Health; Annals, Academy of Medicine, Singapore; Frontiers in Neurology (Stroke)

Research Projects & External Funding

I have generated funding totally ~£4 million as PI, co-PI and collaborator:

Avery L, Flynn D, Teke J, Haines R. Identifying the barriers and enablers to uptake and adherence to the low calorie diet programme for type 2 diabetes remission in people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups: Creation of an expert steering group to inform development of a grant applicationNIHR Research Capability Funding: North of England Commissioning Support (NECS), 1st Feb 2021 to 30th May 2021: £35,763

Avery L, Birrell K, Ansari I, Andrews L, Morgan P, Flynn D. Funding to support development of digital prototype of REAL SDM. NHS England and Innovation, North East and Yorkshire Region - Personalised Care Team, £20,000

Flynn D, Avery L, Birrell K, Gordon I, Ansari I, Andrews L, Morgan P. REAL general practice toolkit for Shared Decision Making (REAL SDM): Developing a skills development programme to prepare patients with multi-morbidity to engage in person-centred discussions with clinicians to identify their priorities and options for living well. NIHR Applied Research Collaboration NENC Open Funding Competition (Feb 2021 to 31st Jan 2022); £54,669

Henderson E, Woodley H, Newham J, Flynn D, Wood M, Maniatopoulos G, Johnson A, Spencer L. Evaluating the implementation of whole school approaches (WSAs) to improve mental health and wellbeing in the Trailblazer schools. NIHR ARC NENC Open Funding Competition (Jan 2021 to 31st June 2022); £49,287

McGleenan K, Flynn D, Barker J, Gordon I, Talyor K, Ingram S, Fishburn S, Ramtohul A, Kennedy A. Co-production of an evidence-based framework and related guidance for practitioners on personalised risk management and safety planning for adults experiencing suicidality. NIHR ARC NENC Open Funding Competition (Feb 2021 to 31st Jan 2022); £35,055

White P, Ford G, James M, Price C, McMeekin P, Flynn D, Allen M. Enhancing and disseminating the outputs of the Promoting Effective and Rapid Stroke Care (PEARS) NIHR PGfAR Programme Grant & facilitating thrombectomy implementation in England. NIHR Programme Development Grant (Dec 2020 to Jun 2022); £149,000

Flynn D, Scott S, Bhardwa-Gosling R. NHS England’s Northern England Clinical Networks (NECN). Developing and piloting mental health campaign to reduce stigma in Trailblazer schools (Nov 2019-Mar 2020), £20,000.

Scott J, Fidler G, Monk D, Flynn D, Heavey E. Understanding the potential for Social PRescribing in pre-hospital Urgent CarE (SPRUCE). North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Small Research Grant Scheme (1st April 2019-31st March 2020), £1,000

Taylor JP, Killen A, Flynn D, O’Brien N. Feasibility and acceptability of a dementia with Lewy bodies support and information group.The Lewy Body Society, (1st Apr 2017 to 30th March 2019): £50,100

Flynn D, Thomson RG. Delivery of decision aids to the NHS: COMPASS as proof of concept. Medical Research Council Proximity to Discovery Development scheme (Nov 2016-Apr 2017): £8,388

Moore S. Development and feasibility of a clinically integrated behaviour modification toolkit to promote personalised physical activity routines following recent stroke. NIHR and Health Education England’s Integrated Clinical Academic Programme for Non-medical Healthcare Professionals. Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT Trust and Newcastle University (2016-2020); £221,515 (named academic mentor along with Price C, Avery L, Rodgers H, Rochester L,Trenell M)

Flynn D. Person-centred care interventions for common patterns of psychological and physical multi-morbidity. Newcastle University, IHS Strategic Investment Funding; (Apr 2016 - Oct 2016) £11,697

Price C, Rodgers H, Flynn D. Development of a stroke mimic probability score for use in the pre-hospital setting. The Stroke Association, PhD Studentship (2015-2018); £105,000

De Brún A, Flynn D.  Impact of a Shared Decision Making Film about Depression: Qualitative investigation of the processes and therapeutic value of co-production. Faculty of Medical Sciences Engage, Evaluation Fund, Newcastle University; July 2015; £5,000

Roman E, et al. Facilitating informed decision making in haemato-oncology. NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (RP-PG-0613-20002). Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, University of York, December 2015-November 2019, £994,767 (named collaborator = £64,782)

Ford G, Price C, White P, McMeekin P, Vale L, Exley C, Flynn D, Snooks H, Russell I, Tyrrell P, Fell P, Dodd P. Promoting Effective And Rapid Stroke Care (PEARS). NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (RP-PG-1211-20012) Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals, Northumbria Healthcare, North East Ambulance Service and Newcastle University, April 2014 – March 2019: £1,958,330

Thomson RG, Lancsar E, Flynn D, Rodgers H, Price C, Ford GA. Understanding clinicians’ decision making about thrombolytic treatment for patients with acute ischaemic stroke: a discrete choice experiment. NIHR, Health Services & Delivery Research Programme (Project:12/5001/45), 1st Apr 2013-31st Mar 2015: £264,347

van Schaik P. Kusev P, Davies M. A behavioural study of online healthcare-provider choice. British Academy / Leverhulme Small Research Grants 25/08/2014 to 24/02/2016: £9,219 (named collaborator)

Flynn D, De Brún A. Development of educational film about shared decision making in primary care for depression. Faculty of Medical Sciences, Public and Patient Engagement and Involvement. Newcastle University, 1st June 2012 to 21st Dec 2014, £3,030

Flynn D, Thomson RG, Ford GA.Implementing a Computerised Decision Aid for Stroke Thrombolysis (COMPASS) in Acute Stroke Care. North of England Cardiovascular Network, Feb 2013-June 2013: £7,500

Flynn D, Thomson RG. Developing interventions to support shared decision making in mental healthcare for working age adults with depression. NIHR Research Capability Funding: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and NHS North of Tyne, Oct 1st 2012-Sep 30th 2013: £51,000

Flynn D. Dissemination of a Computerised Decision Aid for Stroke Thrombolysis (COMPASS) in Acute Stroke Care. Faculty of Medical Sciences: Research and Enterprise Funding to facilitate commercial relationships and business-facing activities, Newcastle University, 2014: £2,500

Flynn D, van Wersch A, van Schaik P (2005), Development and evaluation of a scoliosis education tool. Department of Health: Specialised Commissioning Group for Spinal Deformities: £1,500

PhD and Research Opportunities


Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology Co-ordinating supervisor 

Susan Rowley, Renal Nurse, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2017-date. Developing renal-friendly diet and physical activity interventions to support weight loss in pre-dialysis patients

Academic mentorships:

Dr Sarah Moore, NIHR post-doctoral clinical lecturer, Stroke Research Group, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University

Previous supervisory experience

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graham McClelland, Stroke Research Group, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University: Development of stroke mimic probability score for use in the pre-hospital setting. Stroke Association Fellowship (Sep 2015 - Aug 2018)

Doctoral Theses - Clinical Psychology (Teesside University)

  • Richards J; The BIRT Memory and Information Processing Battery (BMIPB): Development of Normative Data for 11 to 16 year olds, 2009-2010
  • Jones G; Nurses’ attachment style and perceptions of challenging behaviour in older adults, 2009-10

Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology Co-ordinating supervisor

  • Suzanne McDonald, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, 2015-2017

External positions

Visiting Fellow, Newcastle University

1 Feb 2020 → …


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