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    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Global Sexual and Reproductive Health; Relationship and Sexuality Education; Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health; Maternal Sexual and Reproductive; Maternal Mental Health; Gender Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health

20132021

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Personal profile

Research Statement

I am a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). I am based at the School of Nursing and Midwifery and a member of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI).

I am a social psychologist and social research methodologist who specialises in complex behavioural intervention development, optimisation and evaluation. My research focuses on addressing global challenges in sexual and reproductive health.

I currently hold a prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship at Queen’s University Belfast. I am co-leading a UKRI/MRC funded project in Southern Africa involving optimisation and evaluation of gender transformative sexual and reproductive health interventions for adolescents. I am also co-Principal Investigator of the CEDIL/DFID funded INVOLVE_FP Project, which involves a systematic review of interventions involving men and boys in low- and middle-income countries family planning.

I am an experienced public health researcher, having worked as principal investigator and co-investigator on a number of multi-disciplinary international studies involving several partner institutions. As co-investigator and lead researcher on the JACK Trial, which is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), I co-led the design and development of a film-based sexual health intervention targeting teenage men, If I Were Jack, and managed its evaluation in a UK-Wide Randomised Controlled Trial. I also led a PHANI funded project to develop an integrated parent-based component involving animated films. The Jack Trial research has led to global collaborations involving the co-design of similar interventions in Southern Africa funded by the UK MRC Global Challenges Research Fund (MRC GCRF) and the UK Medical Research Council.

I enjoy contributing to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching across the university. I currently supervise three PhD projects, which focus on healthcare for parents experiencing fetal anomaly diagnosis, maternal mental health following miscarriage, and the psychological impact of unwanted sexual experiences on university students.

Leadership Roles

  • Postdoctoral Advisor, School of Nursing & Midwifery, QUB
  • Network Lead (INVOLVE_FP International Expert Advisory Group). A growing global network of 40+ experts in the involvement of men and boys in family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Member, Culture Working Group, SWAN Gender Equality Initiative, QUB
  • Collaborator LINKS Group. An NIHR-funded global network of researchers and practitioners who share an interest in sustainable development and peacebuilding in relation to early childhood development programmes in low and middle-income countries.
  • Fellows’ Ambassador, Faculty Postdoctoral Research Committee
  • Mentor for university post-doctoral mentoring scheme
  • Post-doctoral Representative, QUB Post-Doctoral Research Forum
  • External Reviewer, BMC Public Health; Journal of Medical Internet Research, NIHR Public Health Research Programme, Trials, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Child Care in Practice Journal
  • Expert Member, Trial Steering Committee for two projects (SIPS JR-HIGH and Care Pathways and Outcomes Study)

 

Funded Research Projects

  • Optimisation and feasibility trial of a gender transformative Intervention for teenage men in South Africa and Lesotho,UKRI/MRC Global Adolescent Health Programme, £639,000,January 2021 – May 2023, Co-Principal Investigator with Dr Sarah Skeen (Stellenbosch University, South Africa).
  • Involving Men and Boys in Family Planning: A systematic review of complex interventions to identify effective programme components and characteristics in low- and middle-income countries, CEDIL (UKAID/DFID),£200,000, March 2020 – July 2021, Co-Principal Investigator with Prof Maria Lohan.
  • Reducing unintended teenage pregnancy and HIV rates in South Africa and Lesotho by involving adolescent boys: Co-design of a culturally sensitive, gender-transformative, community-based, educational intervention, Department for the Economy Northern Ireland Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) Award, £35,000, July 2019 – Dec 2019, Principal Investigator.
  • Examining the characteristics, outcomes, and impact of a Gender Transformative approach with men and boys to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights; World Health Organisation, £64,150, May 2019-February 2020, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, £40,000, Sept 2018 – Aug 2021, Principal Investigator.
  • The JACK Trial: Evaluation of an interactive film-based intervention to reduce teenage pregnancy and promote positive sexual health, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), £1.7million, Jan 2017 – Dec 2020, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.
  • JACK Trial: An intervention refinement to the parental component, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland Research and Development Office, Enabling Research Award, £35,742, May - Aug 2016, Principal Investigator.
  • What young men need in relationship and sexuality education: evaluation of a targeted intervention, Health Service Executive Ireland, Crisis Pregnancy Programme, £60,300, Oct 2014 – Sept 2017, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.
  • Increasing boys’ and girls’ intention to avoid teenage pregnancy: feasibility study and pilot RCT of an interactive video-drama based intervention in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), £300,749, May 2014 – Apr 2016, Co-Investigator with Prof. Maria Lohan (PI) and others.

Teaching roles

I currently teach on the following undergraduate and postgraduate curricula:

  • Working Inter-professionally to Promote Mental Health & Wellbeing, 2nd year BSc Nursing
  • 'Evidence Based Nursing' 2nd year, BSc Nursing
  • 'Qualitative research methods' MSc in Nursing
  • ‘Global Health: Concepts, Trends and Priorities’ 1st Year BSc Medicine

Supervision

I currently supervise the following PhD projects:

  • The Bluebell Study: An exploration of the healthcare experiences and needs of parents who terminate a pregnancy in the case of a fetal anomaly diagnosis on the island of Ireland, Suzanne Heaney, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Commenced October 2019, First Supervisor
  • The emotional needs of women who experience miscarriage in hospital settings: a mixed- methods needs assessment in Northern, Martina, Galeotti, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Commenced January 2020, First Supervisor
  • Investigating unwanted sexual experiences (USE’s) in university students and the impact of such on psychological well-being – what role can be played by improved understanding of consent, Megan Reynolds, School of Psychology, Second Supervisor

Research Interests

Maternal and Child Health; Reproductive Health; Sexual Health; Adolescent Health; Global Sexual and Reproductive Health; Parental Health; Mental Health; Fatal Fetal Anomaly; Stillbirth; Digital Technology and Health Behaviour; Schools-based Randomised Controlled Trials; Complex Interventions; Programme Development and Evaluation; Systematic Reviews; Social Research Methodology

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
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

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