Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Joan Mackintosh

Research Associate



I am an experienced researcher with an established, substantial track record in health and social care research.  During my time at Newcastle University I have worked on 12 different research studies and am experienced in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. 

I have conducted research within a broad range of public health and health services settings and as well as co-ordinating an international study, I have a wealth of experience in project management.  I have worked on randomised controlled trials, facilitated focus groups, undertaken interview surveys, conducted in-depth face-to-face interview studies and mixed methods studies, with a variety of participants, from BME elders and people with stroke to patients with dementia and their carers.  I also have a lot of experience of research with health care professionals, and recently worked on a behaviour change intervention study with primary care staff with the aim of improving care for patients with type 2 diabetes.

I am currently undertaking a qualitative research study with adults on the autism spectrum in order to find out their views and perspectives about what has gone well, and not so well, across their lifecourse.



For the past five years I have worked within the Decision Making and Organisation of Care (DMOC) Research Team, and I also have links to the Public Health and Applied Health Interventions group.  I am a member of the Medical Sociology Group within the Institute of Health and Society. 

I have worked on a number of different studies within IHS and its predecessors.  My first research role at the university was to co-ordinate an international study on lower extremity amputations and to collect data for the local component of the study.  This involved abstracting data from hospital theatre records.  I also facilitated focus groups for the Taking Heart study, which aimed to improve the services for diabetes care for people from the South Asian and Chinese communities in Newcastle.  I compiled a Step by Step Guide to epidemiological health needs assessment for minority ethnic groups as a follow-on project to Taking Heart.

I have worked in a hospital-based setting where I interviewed and assessed stroke patients for a study which compared additional upper limb therapy (Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy combined) with standard therapy.  I administered questionnaires on a face to face basis and undertook assessments of upper limb function using the Action Research Arm Test.

My first primary care study was a project to measure whether offering a welfare rights assessment with a dedicated welfare rights officer could result in benefits that would impact on the health of people aged 60 and over.  My role in this study involved recruitment of general practices to take part, and then helping to recruit patients.  I interviewed patients to collect data on a wide variety of outcome measures and these interviews were repeated after six months, 12 months and two years.  Our recruitment and follow up rates were excellent.  Following on from this work, we were then commissioned to measure the impact of welfare rights advice on older people from the Black and Minority Ethnic community in Newcastle.  I undertook qualitative interviews with members of the community who had received welfare rights advice to ascertain their views of the service and the impact it had.

I have worked with patients with dementia and their carers on a study to find out what were the elements of their consultations most valued by patients and carers.  This work involved an element of sensitivity in seeking consent from a vulnerable patient group and their carers.  I was also responsible for setting up and video-taping their consultations with old-age psychiatrists and interviewing them about their experiences.

I was a researcher on three of the objectives of the Developing and Assessing Services for Hyperacute stroke (DASH) study.  I organised and undertook focus groups with paramedics to get their views and perspectives on assessing stroke and research involvement (DASH IV).  I also interviewed secondary care clinicians and stroke patients and their families about the appropriateness of asking patients to make a decision about clot-busting treatment in the hyperacute stroke period (DASH II).   I interviewed stroke patients and witnesses to ascertain why they did, or did not, immediately contact emergency medical services following the onset of acute stroke symptoms.  This led on to interviews with primary care clinicians and the development of an intervention for use in primary care.  We worked with a design team from Northumbria University to develop leaflets for use by practice nurses in their routine consultations with patients at risk of stroke. 

I recently worked in primary care again - this time on a study aiming to develop an intervention for health professionals to improve the care they provide for people with type 2 diabetes.  This work involved recruiting practices, then recruiting GPs, practice nurses and health care assistants, distributing questionnaires to health care professionals, delivery of the intervention, interviewing a purposive sample of health care professionals and collecting patient outcomes. 

I have a lot of experience of obtaining ethical and R&D approvals, and working with the various Trusts to ensure the successful completion of projects.  I am currently working on a qualitative face-to-face interview study with adults on the autism spectrum to find out their views about what has gone well, and not so well, over their lifecourse.


I have undertaken some small group teaching with undergraduate medical students as part of their Medicine in the Community (MiC) module.

I also jointly supervised two MSc students who undertook a discrete piece of work as part of the IDEA study.