Research

My research examines medical knowledge and technologies, and their use by ordinary people and negotiation in local and national government. I draw on traditions in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and political and medical sociology. 

I have two main current projects.

The first builds on previous work on practices and products for pursuing health and 'self care.' Together with Dr Kate Weiner and Professor Flis Henwood I am working on the field of self-monitoring of blood pressure and BMI/weight, with support from the Leverhulme Trust (see Tracking Ourselves project website). Dr Weiner and I prevoiusly collaborated on an ESRC funded project on 'DIY Heart Health' the use of low-dose statins, investigating responses to both over-the counter and prescribed drugs for cardiovascular risk reduction

The second relates to health and wellbeing in relation to housing. Pursuing an interest in inequalities, marginalisation and living on low incomes, I have been doing research in a number of related areas including fuel poverty in Brighton and Hove, and more recently on water needs in social housing. This work also builds on my ongoing interest in the meaning of evidence in health and social policy, and I have been writing about efforts to carry out controlled trials in housing, and to generate evidence of what works in relation to housing improvements and new forms of supported housing. I wrote about trials in medicine in an edited collection on clinical trials with Dr Tiago Moreira at Durham University entitled Medical Proofs, Social Experiments: Clinical trials in shifting contexts with Ashgate, in which we brought together diverse ethnographic accounts of trials to illustrate their diverse effects and their power. Since then I have pursued questions about the use and interpretation of evidence in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and in other institutions concerned with public health. 

I also have a strong emerging interest in questions around antimicrobial resistance. This builds on my understanding of pharmaceutical use and non-use and efforts to regulate medicine prescribing and medicine taking in the name of the broader health service or community. I recently published a virtual special issue on this topic in the Sociology of Health and Illness, and have other papers and grant proposals under review in the area. 

Postgraduate supervision

I would be happy to hear from potential graduate students with an interest in studying social movements and activism, evidence or policy making in different fields (not limited to health), especially where they touched upon issues of quantification, prevention, fairness or redistribution and inequality. I am also interested in more typical medical sociology projects for example relating to medicine use, pharmaceuticals and pharmaceuticalisation, preventive health, consumer products and well-being, health and self-care.

I have supervised six doctoral project to completion, including: 

Anna Grinsbergs: Public Ethics, Social Movements? Stakeholder Perspectives on Experimental Neuroscience(now employed with the Alzheimer's Society working on patient and public involvement).

Shadreck Mwale: Exploring regulatory and ethical dimensions of human research participation in Phase 1 (first in human) clinical trials in the United Kingdom (recently appointed to a Senior Lecturership at the University of Brighton)

Jane Peek: The lived experience of Parkinson's - a footprint in every room (Research fellow at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School)

Kate Spiegelhalter: Creative interventions in mental health: a critical analysis of the mindfulness agenda (now working at the Institute of Employment Studies)

Eilis Lawlor: Revaluing Progress: Building an alternative indicator of progress for Ireland (economics consultancy and researcher)

 

I am currently working with five students on doctoral research projects:

Aaron Gain: Employee ownership in healthcare 

Po-Han Lee: Health Disparities among Sexual and Gender Minorities in the Global Health Context

Jennifer Spicer: Deliberative democracy, the case of the Food Security Act in India

Annika Baddeley: Health and wider support needs of adults with cerebral palsy

Serena Verendicci: The Politics and Practice of Wellbeing in Local Government