“The PGMI supports a vibrant and thriving community of researchers from a range of disciplines and organisations, with the aim of improving care for patients, practitioners and providers.”

Our aim is to lead, support and drive evidence-informed improvements in service provision sensitive to the needs of users and providers of health and social care.  Our research activity encompasses four key themes, reflecting health profiles across the life-span from the perspective of those needing and delivering care, under the following themes, this information is also available in the Research Partnership brochure

Children, young people and families

The work in this research theme focuses on making a difference to the lives of children, young peoples and their families. We are committed to meaningful engagement and collaboration with children, young people, their families and health professionals in all aspects of our work. Our work builds on the strong relationship with the Children’s Nursing Research Unit at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. Our research focuses on children and young people with complex needs and/or disabilities, those requiring palliative care and children and those living with long-term conditions and learning disabilities. Our work addresses the ways in which children, young people and their families encounter and engage with health services and professionals and the ways that families shift and change in response to challenges. A particular interest lies in our growing stream of work around supporting children and young people undergoing clinical procedures.

Bernie Carter, Professor of Children’s NursingBernie Carter

Bernie’s work focuses on how the lives of children, young people and their families are disrupted by chronic illness, complex health care needs and disability. She is particularly interested in improving the assessment and management of pain. Bernie has a keen interest in qualitative methodologies with an emphasis on narrative, participatory, appreciative and arts/activities-based approaches. Current studies include an ESRC funded study working with marginalised children, children’s authors and designers to develop phygital artefacts to disseminate stories of resilience. In another study, her work has focused on the experiences of young children growing up with chronic illness in England, Tasmania and New Zealand. She is an experienced supervisor with 18 successful PhD completions.

It’s not who I am

it's not who i amThis multi-national study led by Professor Bernie Carter explored how chronic illness influences children’s perception of life. We worked with forty-five 6-12 year olds with a range of different diagnoses and from different cultural backgrounds in England, Australia and New Zealand. The study used photo-elicitation (photos and interviews) to build inductively derived knowledge grounded in the children’s experiences. Findings across the three countries show similarities in the ways in which children create meaning about their illness and the strategies they use to be like other children. When illness intruded into their lives they gained support from friends, family and pets. The children were not defined by their illness, emphasising ‘It’s not who I am’.

Dr Lucy Bray, Reader in Children, Young People & Families

Lucy’s work is based around exploring children and young peoples’ engagement in health care and improving the way they are prepared and involved in choices and decisions about their health. Lucy’s interests include the interactions children, young people and their families have with health professionals and specifically the holding of children for routine health procedures. Lucy has a growing number of PhD students exploring different aspects of children undergoing planned health care interventions.  Current studies include investigating the engagement of adult childhood cancer survivors in health services, a project funded by the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and work funded by Well Child exploring the pain experiences of children with cognitive impairment and complex needs.

Scope F2F

scopeDr Lucy Bray is a key member of the research team for this project funded by Alder Hey charitable funds focused on evaluating the Scope F2F peer support scheme for parents of disabled children within an acute hospital setting. This F2F intervention improved parental emotional and social wellbeing with positive influences on their ability to cope with what can be a challenging role. The project has led to further work evaluating different modes of delivery.

Health and Well-Being

Health and wellbeing is a wide field of research inclusive of clinical trials and systematic review of inteventions in healthcare.  It encompasses applied health and social care  interests such as nutrition, psychology, physical activity, quality of life, and health and social care organisation and service delivery.

Professor Sally Spencer

Sally’s main research interests focus on the measurement of health-related quality of life in clinical trials and the systematic review of interventions in healthcare. She is an editor for two Cochrane Collaboration review groups (Cochrane Airways Group; Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group) and member of the board for the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network. She is currently a co-investigator on a number studies including the following. The ROLO trial led, by Mr Augustine Tang of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, investigating the renoprotective value of leukodepletion in heart-valve surgery through a 3-year external feasibility randomised controlled trial funded by NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (NIHR ID: PB-PG-0711-25090, ISRCTN 42121335) and due to complete in Jan 2017. The FROST trial, led by Prof Amar Rangan of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, investigating the benefits of early structured physiotherapy versus manipulation under anaesthesia versus arthroscopic capsular release for patients referred to secondary care with a frozen shoulder, funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme (NIHR ID: HTA – 13/26/01, ISRCTN:48804508), due to complete June 2019. Evidence to guide care in adults and children with asthma is a 3-year evidence synthesis programme in collaboration with the Cochrane Airways Group led by Dr Christopher Cates of St George’s, University of London, funded by an NIHR Cochrane Programme Grant (NIHR ID: SR – 13/89/14) and due to complete Autumn 2016.

Professor Vicky Karkou

Vicky is a researcher, educator and clinician in arts psychotherapies, arts and health and related fields.  She is currently leading the Arts for Wellbeing research group based at the Department of Performing Arts. She has recently been awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of Medicine from Riga Stradins University, Latvia for her services in supporting the development of arts psychotherapies in this country. She is widely published in peer reviewed journals, she has authored and edited chapters and books in the field (with Elsevier, Jessica Kingsley, Routledge and Oxford University Press) and is Co-editor of the international journal Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy published by Taylor and Francis. Her research interests include looking at process and outcome of arts-based interventions across the life span including dementia, depression and autism, while methodologically, her work ranges from Cochrane systematic reviews and meta-analyses to artistic inquiry. For example, with colleagues from Leeds University, she has completed a Cochrane Review on dance movement psychotherapy for depression and is currently finishing her second Cochrane Review on dementia. In collaboration with colleagues with the Department of Computing, she has recently completed a funded project titled: A Virtual Arts Companionship of Person-Centred Dance Provision for People with Dementia. She is also a member of the externally funded network in improvisation led by Edinburgh University.

Derek Heim Professor of Psychology

Derek is Editor-in-Chief of Addiction Research and Theory, the leading academic publication for theoretical and applied research that explores addictive behaviour from the perspective of internal psychological processes, the social context of behaviour and the biological effects of psychoactive substances. As a social psychologist with an interest in health behaviours, his primary research areas concern (i) addiction and substance use and (ii) health and well-being. In these contexts, his work focuses on social, cultural and contextual influences which he investigates using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Current research includes an exploration of group regulation of alcohol consumption behaviours (PhD studentship) partly funded by Alcohol Research UK.

Brenda Roe, Professor of Health Research

Brenda joined Edge Hill University in 2007 having held previous professorial and senior positions in other universities. Her research focus is on older people, evidence based practice and policy, long term conditions, quality of life, health and social care organisation and service delivery. She has research expertise on population surveys, quantitative and qualitative research, randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and evidence synthesis of mixed methods studies and public involvement. Two current research grants include; HoSt-D: Effective Home Care Support in Dementia Care: Components, Impacts and Costs of Tertiary Prevention. Funded by NIHR Dementia Programme Grant, 2013-2018 £1,998,891, Department of Health. FINCH: Managing faecal incontinence in people with advanced dementia in care homes. A realist synthesis. Funded by NIHR 2014-2016 £186, 682, Department of Health. She is currently supervising five PhD students on projects related to arts for health, exercise and ageing.

Ella Pereira, Professor of Computing

Ella’s main research interests and expertise are in distributed applications, Cloud computing and mobile app development. She has a growing interest and a number of collaborative projects in e-health and the use of mobile technology in healthcare. Current projects include: deploying Software as a Service (SaaS) model of the Cloud computing for wider adoption and use in healthcare for long term conditions (SmartPCI), in collaboration with Prof Rogers, Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; exploration of the use of the assistive technology in enabling older people to remain in their own home environments and training requirements for these technologies ( ), as part of an Innovate UK and CCG collaborative project; and development of a Virtual Arts Companionship of Person-Centred Dance Provision for People with Dementia, led by Prof Karkou (Dept of Performing Arts), in collaboration with Age UK.

Dr Carol Kelly

Carol is a Respiratory Nurse Specialist and leads the Masters in Surgery programmes (MCh) in partnership with surgeons across the North West of England. Her main research interests are in respiratory care, particularly the utilisation of oxygen as a therapeutic intervention, where she is a member of the British Thoracic Society Emergency Oxygen Guidelines Group. Her PhD explored perceptions of oxygen therapy from both patients’ and healthcare professionals’ perspectives. Carol has published widely on respiratory topics and has a keen interest in healthcare education. Current research includes the development of a Delphi survey to identify national research priorities and inform future strategy for respiratory nursing, funded by the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS).

Stuart Fairclough, Professor of Physical Activity Education

Stuart’s research focuses on children’s and young people’s physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and health, and in particular interventions to modify behaviours. Within this area his work focuses on physical activity measurement and the role of multidimensional correlates in the promotion of physically active lifestyles among young people. A core setting to this work is the school environment. To date Stuart has published over 80 peer reviewed papers and supervised 12 PhD candidates on these research topics. Previous project work has involved: establishing baseline physical activity, physical self-perceptions, and health data for Wigan primary school children (Wigan PEPASS Project); assessing the effects of an early years physical activity intervention (Active Play Project); and implementing and evaluating the Children’s Health, Activity, and Nutrition: Get Educated! (CHANGE!) Project, which was a formative intervention to improve Wigan primary school children’s well-being through enhanced physical activity and eating behaviours. Current work includes collaborative research with LJMU and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to explore technology-based physical activity promotion strategies for children with cystic fibrosis, and in 2016 a Youth Sport Trust-funded project to develop a Youth Activity Profile tool in UK children will commence in collaboration with Iowa State University and LJMU.

Born to Move

b2m-logoBorn to Move is a developmentally-appropriate structured exercise programme for school-aged children and young people ( designed and delivered by Les Mills International which funded Edge Hill University to evaluate the effects of the inaugural UK programme among primary school children. Over 140 children aged 10-11 years from four West Lancashire primary schools took part in the project between October and December 2015. Children in two of the schools received two Born to Move classes per week for six weeks, in addition to their regular Physical Education classes. Children in the two comparison schools took part in their regular twice weekly Physical Education classes. Parameters of the children’s health, fitness, physical activity, and motivation were measured at baseline, after three weeks, and at the end of the six week programme. The data from the project is currently being analysed and the results will be available in early 2016.  The project was delivered in collaboration with West Lancashire School Sport Partnership who will implement Born to Move after-school clubs in all four schools and then in the wider West Lancashire community in 2016.

Improving professional practice and service delivery through education and leadership

Clinical education research includes post-doctoral research studies.  Many academics are also leading postgraduate clinical education programmes.  Interests include transition in medical careers, supervision and work-based assessment, medical education, and emergency management.

Professor Jeremy Brown

Jeremy is leading a team of academics across EHU departments under the theme of ‘clinical education research’. These colleagues include Dr Cathy Sherratt, Dr Peter Leadbetter and Dr Carol Kelly who are working on a series of post-doctoral clinical education research studies. Many of these academics are also leading postgraduate clinical education programmes including Masters and postgraduate modules in Surgery, Leadership and Educator Development.

Jeremy’s main interests are in transitions in medical careers (editorial in the British Medical Journal), educational supervision and work based assessment. He manages a rolling programme of clinical education research, funded by Health Education England (North West Team) (HEE (NW)), to inform local educational practice as well as to make a contribution to the international evidence base. Jeremy is a core member of the Association for the Study of Medical Education Research Group. He has co-authored two Best Evidence in Medical Education systematic reviews in addition. Current studies include: An investigation into Specialty Trainee engagement with e-learning in Health Education North West. This study was awarded the ‘Excellent Medical Education’ prize in the Postgraduate Category awarded by the Association for the Study of Medical Education and the General Medical Council in 2015. This project in collaboration with HEE (NW) is using mixed methods to explore how Paediatric Specialty Trainees in the North West of England engage with e-learning before assessing the quality of the identified online applications. Investigation into the incidence and causality of stress-related absence in medical trainees. This study, funded by HEE (NW), is currently under development to be undertaken over the next 12 months.

Professor John Sandars

After training in hospital medicine, John entered general practice and was a GP trainer, GP tutor, Macmillian GP Facilitator in Palliative Care Medicine and part-time lecturer in general practice at the University of Manchester.  A Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in the Leeds Institute of Medical Education, University of Leeds and Professor in Medical Education at the University of Sheffield, he took up post at Edge Hill University in 2016.

John has research interests across the medical education continuum, from undergraduate to postgraduate and continuing.  He has particular interests in the use of self-regulation theory and metacognition to improve academic and clinical performance; understanding and improving the impact of educational interventions on health; the use of technology for teaching and learning; translational medical education research; evaluative methodologies and the use of design based and action research.

John adopts a transdisciplinary approach to his research, with a focus on applying educational theory to develop, implement and evaluate educational interventions.  Previous major funded national and international projects include JISC, NICE, and European Union Framework 7.  His research has led to over 100 peer reviewed publications, he has been key note speaker at national and international conferences, and extraordinary Visiting Professor at the University of Pretoria.


Professor Ben Shaw

Trained in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Liverpool. Consultant in neonatal and respiratory paediatrics at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital and Professor in the Faculty of Health and Social Care. Previously clinical Director of the Neonatal Unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, R&D director at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Associate Postgraduate Dean for Mersey Region.  Ben is the simulation lead for Mersey deanery School of Paediatrics, a member of the simulation steering and research group at the Royal College of Paediatrics, and Director of the Mersey Neonatal Simulation course. His research interests are neonatal respiratory disease and medical education. Current educational research projects include, evaluating the new national advanced neonatal simulation (ARNI) course and assessing e-learning provision in paediatrics.

Paresh Wankhade, Professor of Leadership and Management

He has a PhD in Ambulance Performance & Culture Change Management from the University of Liverpool. He is the founding Editor of the International Journal of Emergency Services (an Emerald group Publication) and is recognised as an expert in the field of emergency management. His research and publications focus on analysis of strategic leadership, organisational culture, organisational change and interoperability within pre-hospital care. Paresh is currently working on a project on leadership and enhanced clinical decision making for emergency and urgent care practitioners in collaboration with Dr Lynda Carey from the Faculty of Health and Social Care, funded by Health Education North West. He is keen to hear from individuals who are interested in reading for a PhD in leadership and management of public services or related themes.

Supporting Care

Supporting care links to national and international agendas, and is a core focus of research conducted in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, incorporating end of life and pallative care research, family carers, and arts for health and wellbeing.  The supporting care theme is associated with the Carer’s Alert Thermometer funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme; and the Patient’s Concern Inventory

Barbara Jack, Professor of Nursing

Barbara’s research interests have particularly focused around End of Life Care. Externally funded projects include a National Institute for Health Research, RfPB grant focusing on the Optimisation of services for patients with Motor Neurone Disease, a systematic review of Best Supportive Care for patients with lung cancer, an evaluation of the Queenscourt Hospice at Home Service. Ongoing research includes the needs of family carers of patients with cancer & advanced progressive illness, especially during the final year of life funded by a National Institute for Health Research RfPB grant. The resulting Carers Alert Thermometer (CAT) is currently being used in different setting across the UK and internationally. She is a Visiting Professor with Hospice Africa Uganda and studies have included: exploring the Impact of Nurses Prescribing Morphine (which informed a World Health Organisation report); an evaluation of the Community Volunteer Worker scheme and a THET funded project to support the development of a degree in palliative care. In 2010 Barbara became chair of the Palliative Care Research Society.

Mary O’Brien, Professor of Palliative and Supportive Care

Supporting care, linked to national and international agendas, is a key focus of research conducted within the Faculty of Health and Social Care. Mary’s general interests within this theme centre on end-of-life and palliative care research, including the needs of family carers. Her background as a Nurse Specialist in motor neurone disease (MND) has fuelled her specific focus on patient and family carer needs in MND; she has a growing interest in how MND family carers are supported through their bereavement.  She was part of the team, led through EHU, who developed the Carers’ Alert Thermometer (CAT),funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme. Current studies include evaluating the impact of the CAT, funded by Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and piloting it with Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the MND Association. As a member of the UK MND Clinical Studies Group (CSG), Mary helps oversee and develop a national portfolio of research in MND and as a member of the MND Association Healthcare Research Advisory Panel (HRAP) she guides the MND Association on applications for research funding, advises on future research directions and helps monitor progress of funded studies.  Additionally, Mary is experienced in supervising PhD students researching a range of topics, including those related to MND and carers’ needs, and has particular expertise in the use of qualitative methodologies.

Professor Simon Rogers

Simon’s research is based around patient reported outcomes, more specifically quality of life and the Patient Concerns Inventory. Since the publication of version 4 of the University of Washington Head and Neck Quality of Life questionnaire in 2002, with Simon as the lead author, it has become one of the most widely used measures across the world. The data gleaned from this questionnaire has helped evaluation of head and neck cancer treatments and contributed to changes in practice. It has also given some insight into the patients’ perspective and had led to the ‘what will I be like’ resource. This resource was created in partnership with the Aintree Head and Neck patient and carer Research Forum. It forms a basis for patients and their families to discuss possible outcomes of various cancer treatments. From an understanding of the limitations of quality of life questions in terms of shaping individual patient care, the team developed the Patient Concerns Inventory (PCI). Published in 2009 and 2010 the PCI won the E-Health Insider best use of IT in patient and citizen involvement in healthcare. The PCI was included in the 2013 national head and neck cancer audit as an indicator of care quality. The PCI is being developed in other cancers and chronic conditions. Research shows it improves doctor-patient communication, makes more efficient use of limited time in consultations, streamlines multi-professional support and fits well within the financial constraints of the NHS. Further research aims to explore impact on quality of life, emotional-social function, and levels of distress when used routinely in follow-up clinics.

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