My interest in research began in 2003 with my postgraduate study in psychology. My work has focused on promoting physical activity and preventing falls among older people and more recently people with dementia. I am experienced in using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, with a particular interest and expertise in clinical trials.
I take an applied approach and bring this to my teaching with students so that they apply their knowledge to everyday life. In terms of research, this entails applying theory to current health issues. I am honoured to have been a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Career Development Fellow (January 2016 - December 2018) and a NIHR Clinical Trials Fellow (January - August 2019) to take this research forward.
I am Head of the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU). The BUCRU team promotes and supports health and social care research. We provide advice and support to academics and clinicians to acquire funding and to deliver their research projects that have potential to improve public health and patient outcomes (see link above for the BUCRU home page).
My NIHR Career Development Fellowship provided funding to conduct a randomised controlled trial to test the benefits of Tai Chi for community dwelling older people with dementia. The project is called “TACIT: TAi ChI for people with demenTia”. The key results from this work have been published. For further details please visit www.bournemouth.ac.uk/tai-chi. In addition, the fellowship provided funding for me to complete (with distinction) an MSc in Clinical Trials, which was the foundation for my subsequent NIHR Clinical Trials Fellowship that I completed at the Primary Care and Mental Health Clinical Trials Unit (PRIMENT CTU), at UCL.
Prior to my two NIHR fellowships, my research has been funded by the Medical Research Council-led Multi-council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Phase 3 programme (pilot studies); Economic and Social Research Council; NHS Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole; Help the Aged; Thomas Pocklington Trust; and internal grants at Bournemouth University and the University of Reading. In addition, I have been the lead / co-supervisor to 4 PhD students that have been funded by both Bournemouth University and an external partner: The Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Chorus Care; Guild Care; and Age UK Dorchester.
I am regularly consulted to peer-review manuscripts submitted to scientific journals and project proposals submitted to research funders. I currently serve as Editor-in-Chief for Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.