Personal profile

Research interests

I am an Associate Professor in the School of Population Health Sciences. I am currently conducting an NIHR Career Development Fellowship leading the OSCAR study (Optimising Staff-patient Communication in Advanced Renal disease). I am also Co-Principal Investigator on an ESRC-funded national study on bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic (in collaboration with Dr Emily Harrop at Cardiff University), and the founding director of Good Grief Festival. I co-lead the University of Bristol Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group.  

My research interests fall into two areas: the development and evaluation of complex clinical interventions, and palliative and end of life care and bereavement.

Development and evaluation of complex interventions 

I have worked on a number of studies using mixed methods to develop and evaluate complex interventions. In 2012-14 I led the qualitative component of the TOPCare randomised trial of palliative care for patients with HIV, established on anti-retroviral therapy, in South Africa and Kenya. On a Visiting Scholarship to the University of California, San Francisco in 2014, I worked on a pilot study of a Tele-Yoga intervention for patients with COPD and heart failure. From 2016-2019 I was a qualitative researcher at Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration, where I was responsible for qualitative research with participants and healthcare providers in the UPSTREAM NIHR-funded research study. UPSTREAM (Urodynamics for Prostate Surgery Trial; Randomised Evaluation of Assessment Methods) was a national randomised controlled trial in men who have bothersome difficulty passing urine, comparing a care pathway including invasive urodynamics to usual care in terms of symptoms and rates of bladder outlet surgery. 

Palliative and End of Life Care and Bereavement 

My clinical research interests are primarily related to palliative, supportive and end of life care, including bereavement. Prior to joining the University of Bristol, I worked for 11 years at the Cicely Saunders Insitute, King's College London, where I completed a PhD in Palliative Care. I have published widely in this field, with a specific focus on psychosocial and spiritual aspects of the illness experience and of care provision, decision-making and communication, family caregiving, cultural factors in care provision, and end of life care education and training.

At King's College London I was Principal Investigator on the Transforming End of Life Care study (2014-16, funded by Health Education South London), investigating end of life care training needs in healthcare providers who care for those with advanced disease but who are not specialists in palliative care. I have also led a number of international research projects in spiritual care, and conducted palliative care research across diseases (heart failure, HIV/AIDS, cancer), settings (hospice, community and hospital), and countries (India, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, USA, UK).  

In January 2017 I co-founded the University of Bristol Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group - please contact me if you would like further details about this. I am interested in linking with researchers from diverse disciplines with an interest in palliative and end of life care, bereavement and communication and decision-making in clinical contexts.  

External positions

Cicely Saunders International Faculty Scholar, King's College London

Jul 2005Dec 2016


  • Qualitative research methods
  • Service users' experience of health and health services
  • Qualitative research in trials
  • Development and evaluation of complex interventions
  • Decision-making in serious illnes
  • Communication
  • Palliative care
  • Spiritual care
  • Advanced disease
  • HIV
  • Cancer
  • Organ failure
  • Experiences of illness
  • Grief
  • Bereavement


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