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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a Reader in Applied Health Psychology and I joined the School of Health & Life Sciences in October 2018. Prior to this I was a senior researcher for almost ten years in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University. 

I am a Chartered Health Psychologist and I lead a programme of research that involves the development and evaluation of complex interventions targeting a range of health/lifestyle behaviours. These include physical activity/exercise, diet and alcohol in the context of type 2 diabetes, liver disease and surgical procedures, to list a few. The aim of my work is to develop interventions that are suitable for integration in to clinical care pathways and community settings, and that are effective for improving patient outcomes and the efficient running of care systems. I have developed a number of behaviour change interventions that are delivered both face to face and digitally. A selection of these interventions have been commissioned and are currently being used by patients throughout the UK for diabetes prevention, management and reversal. These interventions have been nominated for and received several awards including the Quality in Care Award 2019 (winner) for prevention and early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes; Diabetes Professional Care Awards 2018 (shortlisted patient education campaign of the year); Leading Healthcare Awards (Highly commended, Case study of the year); and Bright Ideas in Health Awards (Awarded second place, service improvement category).  

My research also involves identifying ways to successfully implement behaviour change interventions in to clinical and non-clinical settings. This involves collaboration with clinicians and patient groups to better understand the barriers and facilitators to uptake and adherance, what works and for whom, and to maximise the faithful delivery of interventions. To achieve this I also develop training programmes and resources for healthcare professionals to help optimise consultation behaviour.

I work with several multidisciplinary teams, members including bench scientists, clinicians and academics to translate lab-based research findings in to practice based settings. 



PhD Health Psychology, Newcastle University
Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology, British Psychological Society
PgCert Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, Teesside University
MSc Health Psychology, Teesside University
BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Liverpool

Professional Registration

Chartered Psychologist (C.Psychol), British Psychological Society
Practitioner Health Psychologist, Health & Care Professions Council

Research Funding

Bowden-Davies K, Taylor R, Avery L. A behavioural intervention targeting physical activity: Sustaining weight loss and type 2 diabetes remission following a very low calorie diet. Novo Nordisk Research Foundation (2020-2021), £12,000. 

Hallsworth, K., Jakovljevic D., Cassidy, S., Charman, S., Houghton, D., Avery, L., Okwose, N., Taylor, R. An open non-randomised pilot study to assess acceptability and feasibility of an internet / mobile phone enhanced service pathway for the management of prediabetes. Changing Health Ltd (2018-19), £36,000.

Snowden CP, Avery L, Gerrand C, Prentis J, Haighton CA, Howell D, McColl E, Kaner E. Preoperative Behavioural Intervention for Risky Drinkers before elective orthopaedic Surgery (PreopBIRDS). NIHR-HTA (2016-19) £607,095.80.

Jakovljevic J, MacGowan G, Avery L, Skinner J, Bailey K, O'Brien N. Personalised home-based physical activity intervention in older adults with heart failure: advancing towards an effective clinical therapy (2015-16). NIHR-BRC £39,551.

Trenell MI, Avery L, Taylor L. Pharmacy enhanced services for people with Type 2 diabetes (2015). Medical Research Council, £28,000.

Kaner E, Avery L, Presseau J, Sniehotta F, Thomson R, Vale L. PhD awards for improvement science (2014-17). Health Foundation, £280,000.

Newbury-Birch D, Gilvarry E, McArdle P, Ramesh V, Stewart S, Walker J, Avery L, Beyer F, Brown, N, Jackson K, Lock C, McGovern R, Kaner E. The impact of alcohol consumption on young people: A review of reviews (2009). Department for Children, Schools and Families £50,977.

Kaner E, Avery L, Brown N, Jackson K, Mason H, Newbury-Birch D. A rapid review of evidence on liver disease epidemiology, treatment and services (2007). NIHR-CCF £28,327


PhD Supervision: Current

Jadine Scragg, 2017 – 2020, Exercise and liver disease. Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Doctoral Award, Newcastle University.

Oliver Bell, 2018-2023, Exercise to target mental health and physical health in hard to reach men. NUFC Foundation Doctoral Award, Newcastle University.

Kirsten Ashley, 2019-2023, Development of a theory-based intervention targeting consultation behaviour of clinicians and physical activity/exercise behaviour of adults with chronic heart failure, Teesside University. 

Cara Jordan, 2019-2023, Evaluation of a theory-based intervention targeting physical activity/exercise behaviour of adults with chronic heart failure. Teesside University.

Matthew Cooper, 2019-2023, Development and evaulation of a social presribing model for mental health. Teesside University.

Jeanette Morris, 2019/2024, The delivery and evaluation of COPD-specific pain education in pulmponary rehabilitation, Teesside University. 


PhD Supervision: Completed

Dr Sebastian Potthoff, 'Making good quality care habitual: An exploration of the concept of habit in relation to healthcare professional behaviour' Health Foundation Doctoral Fellowship 2014-2017, Health Psychology - Primary supervisor, Newcastle University.

Dr Rebecca Brown, 'The effect of vitamin D and physical activity on knee osteoarthritis symptoms in older obese adults: A mixed methods study' MRC Doctoral Fellowship 2014-2017, Human Nutrition - Co-supervisor, Newcastle University.

Dr Nduka Okwose, A novel, home-based physical activity intervention for chronic heart failure; exploring safety, feasibility, effectiveness and patients experiences' 2015-2018, Exercise and heart failure - Co-supervisor, Newcastle University.


Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology (Doctoral) trainees


Kirsten Ashley, 2018-2021.

Jeanette Morris, 2019-2022.


Dr Sebastian Potthoff, Northumbria University. Healthcare Professional Behaviour Change in the context of Type 2 Diabetes management and Alcohol consumption in primary and secondary care, 2015-2018.

External positions

Visiting Researcher, Newcastle University

1 Oct 201831 Dec 2022

Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society

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Research Output

Preoperative behavioural intervention to reduce drinking before elective orthopaedic surgery: the PRE-OP BIRDS feasibility RCT.

Snowden, C., Lynch, E., Avery, L., Haighton, C., Howell, D., Mamasoula, V., McColl, E., Prentis, J., Gerrand, C., Ashley, K., Steel, A., Goudie, N., Howe, N. & Kaner, E. F. S., 1 Mar 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Health Technology Assessment. 24, 12

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 16 Downloads (Pure)

    Acceptability, Feasibility and Preliminary Evaluation of a Novel, Personalised, Home based Physical Activity Intervention for Chronic Heart Failure (Active-at-Home-HF): A Pilot Study

    Okwose, N., Avery, L., O'Brien, N., Cassidy, S., Charman, S., Bailey, K., Velicki, L., Olivotto, I., Brennan, P., MacGowan, G. & Jakovljevic, D., 27 Nov 2019, In : Sports Medicine - Open. 5, 45, 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 86 Downloads (Pure)

    Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of Changing Health for the management of prediabetes: Protocol for a pilot study of a digital behavioural intervention

    Cassidy, S., Okwose, N., Scragg, J., Houghton, D., Ashley, K., Trenell, M., Jakovljevic, D., Hallsworth, K. & Avery, L., 26 Nov 2019, In : Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 5, 139.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 81 Downloads (Pure)

    Barriers and Facilitators to Mediterranean Diet Adoption by Patients with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Northern Europe

    Haigh, L., Bremner, S., Houghton, D., Henderson, E., Avery, L., Hardy, T., Hallsworth, K., McPherson, S. & Anstee, Q., 22 May 2019, In : Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 17, p. 1364-1371 33 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 65 Downloads (Pure)

    Behavioural intervention to increase physical activity in adults with type 2 diabetes: A pilot RCT

    Avery, L., Charman, S., Houghton, D., Flynn, D., Batterham, A., Sniehotta, F., Taylor, R. & Trenell, M., 2019.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Press / Media

    Reverse your diabetes — and we can stay diabetes-free long-term

    Leah Avery


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Reverse your diabetes — and you can stay diabetes-free long-term

    Leah Avery


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Reverse your diabetes – and you can stay diabetes-free long-term

    Leah Avery


    5 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Reverse your diabetes -- and you can stay diabetes-free long-term

    Leah Avery


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media