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Personal profile

Academic Biography

I am Associate Professor of Psychology, Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I hold a permanent honorary academic contract with the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (formerly Public Health England).

I teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Much of my teaching is on the MSc Health Psychology. I supervise numerous undergraduate and masters dissertations. I am director of studies for several PhD students and co-supervise many more. I also supervise professional doctorate students.

I was course leader of the BSc Psychology programme for many years and have also been course leader for nearly all undergraduate psychology courses.

I welcome new doctoral students working in the area of health psychology and in related areas.

Summary of Research Interests

My research is mainly in health psychology and public health. My research interests are broad, and include vaccine hesitancy, health behaviour change, the acceptability of and attitudes towards male hormonal contraception, and psychosocial aspects of long-term conditions. The main focus of my research, however, lies in psychosocial aspects of preventative health behaviours.  Through my work I aim to contribute towards helping people lead healthier, longer, and happier lives.

A member of the Centre for Applied Psychological Research (of both the Health and Wellbeing, and the Pain and Long-Term Conditions themes), I am also deputy lead for Team Alpha, the Co-Producing Alcohol and Public Health Research theme of the Centre for Social Innovation. I am a member of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law (SSSHL) Research Ethics Sub-Committee as well as the SSSHL/MIMA Grants Board.

I have links with other academics and practitioners both nationally and internationally. I am a founding member and board member of INRePAR, the International Network for Research into Psychosocial Adjustment and Rehabilitation, as well as a member of INEBRIA, the International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol & Other Drugs. Furthermore, I am an associate member of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, and CPIG, the Crisis and Pandemic Interest Group at Liverpool John Moores University.

Through my research, I have worked with community champions, local and national charities, and local authorities as part of community-focused, national, and international public health research. I am a Middlesbrough Council Health Champion and have conducted research in collaboration with organisations such as Public Health South Tees, Public Health England, Healthwatch, and James Cook University Hospital. My work has informed local public health campaigns.

I have received funding from regional and from national funding bodies and have been principal investigator and co-investigator on research projects funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration, Prostate Cancer UK, and Public Health England.

I peer review for a variety of journals across psychology and public health.

Research Projects & External Funding

Recent and current research projects include:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance among Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Individuals. Funded by NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria
  • Be Clear on Cancer Breast Cancer in Women over 70 Campaign: Final Evaluation. Funded by Public Health England
  • Regional evaluation of a self-management tool for people living with long-term conditions: a participatory approach. Funded by NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North East and North Cumbria
  • A co-designed and culturally appropriate intervention to tackle barriers to early diagnosis of prostate cancer for Black men in Scotland and the North-East of England: a community-centred participatory approach. Funded by Prostate Cancer UK

External Research Collaborations

External Research Collaborations include, but are not limited to:

  • Middlesbrough Council
  • Public Health South Tees
  • Public Health England 
  • National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service 
  • Healthwatch
  • Traverse
  • James Cook University Hospital
  • Ubuntu Multicultural Centre, Middlesbrough
  • Tees Valley, Durham and North Yorkshire Neurological Alliance
  • University of Sunderland
  • King's College London
  • University of Glasgow
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Twente
  • Al Zaytoonah University of Jordan
  • University of Malta

External Roles and Professional Activities

  • Founding member and board member of INRePAR, the International Network for Research into Psychosocial Adjustment and Rehabilitation
  • Member of INEBRIA, the International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol & Other Drugs
  • Associate member of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health
  • Member of CPIG, the Crisis and Pandemic Interest Group at Liverpool John Moores University
  • I peer review for a variety of journals across psychology and public health, which include:
  • Qualitative Health Research
  • Psychology and Health
  • Health Psychology
  • European Journal of Health Psychology
  • BMC Public Health
  • International Journal of Translational Medical Research and Public Health
  • Frontiers in Psychiatry
  • Frontiers in Psychology
  • European Journal of Cancer Care
  • Journal of Men’s Health
  • Vaccine
  • Journal of Medical Virology
  • INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing
  • Journal of Economics and Management
  • PLoS Medicine 
  • PLoS ONE

PhD and Research Opportunities

I am interested in supervising PhD students in projects related to

  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Health-related behaviour change interventions
  • Preventative health behaviours
  • Psychosocial aspects of cancer screening

Current doctoral supervision:

Farhin Ahmed (as Director of Studies): Encouraging Healthier Behavioural Changes towards Dietary Practices in South Asian Women using a Theory-Driven Community-Based ‘Healthy Eats Outreach’ Intervention

Charlotte Sim-Norris (as Director of Studies): Missed Opportunities? Trauma Experiences in the Early Lives of Male Sexual Offenders with a Learning Disability

Srinidhi Koya (as Director of Studies): A mixed-methods exploration of the relationship between alcohol consumption and eating behaviours amongst adolescent girls in England 

Laura Kane (as Director of Studies): The development of an intervention to facilitate person-centred dementia care in home care

Madhuri Lokhande (as Director of Studies): The Impact of Psychological Input on Care Coordinators' Experiences of Working with Borderline Personality Disorder Patients

Pavla Kesslerova (as Director of Studies): The influence of lifestyle factors on Zimbabwean adults’ attitudes towards vaccinations

Rosemarie Sacco: National Study of Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing among Young People in Malta

Clifford Johnson: An exploration of the common aetiology of the drugs/crime nexus, focusing on a heroin using population in a town in North East England, through a psychoanalytic lens: A mixed methods approach

Victoria Waterson: An exploratory study into the perceptions of business leaders into promoting mental health and wellbeing in workplace settings

Charlotte Leighton: Improving user experience and well-being in social housing by closing the knowledge gap

Lynn Dougan: “It’s all about the trauma”: an exploration of the facilitators and barriers to positive treatment outcomes for individuals 18 years and over, with a personal experience of complex needs and trauma, within a medium and low secure hospital setting

Chika Oguguo (as external supervisor): Barriers to seeking appropriate sexual and reproductive healthcare for sexually transmitted diseases among youths in Nigeria: Towards enhancing utilization of healthcare services


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