I trained as a speech and language therapist, working in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and Mumbai before embarking on a post-doctoral research career in 1990. Until 2000, I worked on environmental epidemiology studies investigating the health of communities living near industry. Since 2000, I have undertaken a number of studies which have focused on health, welfare and well-being among older people. My current and long-term interests are in the health and well-being of older people, the impact of changes to the welfare state on older people, tackling health and social inequalities and applying research to policy and practice.
BSc (Hons) Ist Class, Speech Pathology & Therapy, University of Manchester, 1982
PhD University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1990
MsC Sociology Health & Health Care (Distinction) University College London, 2004
Elected member, British Society of Gerontology Executive Committee
Editorial Board of Ageing and Society
Member, Newcastle University's Public Engagement Group, convened under chairmanship of Professor John Bond to better understand the nature, role and theory of public engagement, identify research opportunities and develop a strategy around public engagement.
Member, Newcastle University's Centre for Digital Health and Wellbeing (Director Professor Patrick Olivier, Culture Lab)
Steering Group member of VOICENorth, the North East public engagement panel
My main research interests concern the health and well-being of older people and tackling poverty and social exclusion in later life. I have carried out extensive research into the impact of welfare rights advice on people over state retirement age and ethnic minority elders, funded by the Department of Health and Age Concern. I am interested in methodological issues, particularly the integration of quantiative and qualitative methods, straddling the boundaries between epidemiology and sociology,particularly the limitations of quantitative and qualitative methods alone within public health research, as well as mixed methods research. I have considerable experience in involving participants and the wider public in research and have disseminated research findings to a wide range of academic and non-academic audiences and have published on this topic. As a result, a number of studies in which I have been engaged have influenced health and social policy.
Collaborator on MRC LIVEWELL project (£1,982,492) which aims to develop and test interventions that promote health and well-being for older people in the peri-retirement period.
Principal Investigator on a project to evaluate the impact of a welfare rights service for people affected by cancer (£200,000 from Macmillan Cancer Support). Working in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support, Durham County Council and County Durham Primary Care Trust.
Collaborator in two MRC research networks from the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Programme. ‘Enabling Environments: Modelling Wellbeing in Ageing’ is being co-ordinated by Charlotte Clarke, Professor of Nursing Practice at Northumbria University and ‘A Model to Guide Investment in Older People’s Mental Capital, Mental Health and Wellbeing’ is being co-ordinated by Mima Cattan, Professor of Public Health and Northumbria University. www.mrc.ac.uk/Fundingopportunities/Calls/LLHW/index.htm
Age Concern Newcastle (£33,000) Evaluating take-up, acceptability and outcomes of welfare rights services among black and minority elders in Newcastle upon Tyne (April 2005-Oct 2006). Principal Investigator.
Department of Health (£227,673) Pilot randomised controlled trial to evaluate the health health effects of welfare rights advice in primary care. (Jan 2002-July 2005) In collaboration with Professor Martin White (Principal Investigator)
I contribute to the Stage One MBBS curriculum, Medicine in the Community
Degree Programme Director, MSc in Public Health and Health Services Research Module Leader for Health and Society Module.