I am Professor of Health Services Research and Philosophy with academic homes in both the Health Services Research Unit (Institute of Applied Health Sciences) on the University's Foresterhill campus and Philosophy (School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History) on the Old Aberdeen campus.
My research and teaching are highly interdisciplinary. Broadly speaking, I use philosophy and social research to understand and address concerns about quality, ethics and social justice in health care, public health work and (more recently) funeral provision. I am particularly interested in what are sometimes called person-centred approaches to service provision - you might prefer to talk about the humanity in health and social care provision. I often use feminist theorising and a capabilities approach to human wellbeing in my work.
I've had the privilege of working in, and visiting, a number of universities internationally, gravitating back to the University of Aberdeen each time with an extended range of valued colleagues and learning.
- BA (hons) Natural Sciences and Theology1986 - University of Cambridge
- MSc Information Science (Distinction)1990 - City University, London
- MA Philosophy (Distinction)2008 - The Open University
- PhD Information Science1994 - City University, London
Visiting Professor, National University of Singapore (2020-2024)
International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (Joint Co-ordinator, 2016-2020; Advisory Board Member ongoing)
Editorial board member for:
Asian Bioethics Review
Health Care Analysis
International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics
Revisiting funeral recordings during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in the UKBereavementContributions to Journals: Articles
Unifying and universalising Personalised Care?: An analysis of a national curriculum with implications for policy and education relating to person-centred carePatient Education and CounselingContributions to Journals: Articles
Feminist Bioethics and Empirical ResearchThe Routledge Handbook of Feminist Bioethics. Rogers, W. A., Leach Scully, J., Carter, S. M., Entwistle, V. A., Mills, C. (eds.). 1st edition. RoutledgeChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
Vagueness and variety in person-centred care [version 1; peer review: 2 approved]Wellcome open research, vol. 7, no. 170Contributions to Journals: Articles
Implementing shared decision making in UK: Progress 2017–2022Zeitschrift fur Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualitat im GesundheitswesenContributions to Journals: Articles
Prizes and Awards
Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Public Health (2018)
I use social research and philosophy to help understand what matters for 'good' public health, healthcare and funeral provision. I seek to take seriously the plurality of values, diversity of perspectives, complexity of social relationships and demands of social justice.
I am currently accepting PhDs in Applied Health Sciences, Philosophy.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
Applied Health SciencesAccepting PhDs
I am currently working on two major projects:
'But why is that better?' explores what applied philosophy and ethics can contribute to healthcare improvement. This is a collaboration with Professor Alan Cribb and Dr Polly Mitchell of King's College London. It is funded by the Wellcome Trust until 2023.
'Developing practical ethics of care for the dead and bereaved' examines what we can learn from the disruption and development of funeral practices during COVID-19. This is a highly interdisciplinary project involving colleagues from four different schools within the University of Aberdeen. It is funded by the ESRC until 2022. See www.abdn.ac.uk/care-in-funerals
In addition to the two major funded projects listed above, I am currently working with:
Dr YEW Tong Wei, Prof TAI E Shyong (National University of Singapore). Qualitative study of health professionals' experiences of Care and Support Planning; broader discussions of person-centred care.
Mr Devanand ANANTHAM (PhD candidate), Dr VOO Teck Chuan (National University of Singapore). Doctoral supervision: Doctor-patient partnerships: the key to a better standard of medical advice?
Prof Wendy ROGERS (Macquarie University), Prof Stacy CARTER (University of Wollongong), Prof Jackie Leach SCULLY (University of New South Wales) and Prof Catherine MILLS (University of Melbourne). Routledge Handbook of Feminist Bioethics.
Mrs Lindsay OLIVER and Mr Nicholas LEWIS-BARNED (Year of Care Partnerships), Dr Becky HAINES (GP), Prof Alan CRIBB (King's College London) and Dr Sharon MCCANN (University of Aberdeen). Care and Support Planning via telephone and internet.
Prof J.J. van DELDEN, Ms Emma HACKING and Dr Hester WESSELS-WYNIA (UMC Utrecht). Patient perspectives on healthcare quality.
For Academic Year 2021-22 my main teaching commitments are:
Lecturer for PH1522: How Should We Live?
For this level 1 course, I contribute introductions to Virtue Ethics, Feminist Approaches to Ethics, and the Capability Approach.
Lecturer for Ph5568: Impact and engagement
This Masters level (level 5) course is part of the MLitt in Philosophy and Society.
Supervisor for PH5067 – Readings in Philosophy and Society
This Masters level (level 5) course is part of the MLitt in Philosophy and Society.
Supervisor for PH402D – Philosophy Dissertation
Academic lead for Weeks 1-6 for PU5528 – Values and Ethics in Public Health
This Masters level (level 5) course is offered as an elective for several postgraduate degrees in Applied Health Sciences. (Please note the course co-ordinator for AY2021-22 is Dr Samantha Donnelly)
Project and dissertation supervision:
I will be very happy to discuss supervision possibilities with postgraduate students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds who are interested in pursuing questions relating to questions about healthcare quality and/or ethics and social justice in domains relating to health. I particularly welcome inquiries from people who want to work with feminist approaches and/or to draw on a capability approach.
I also contribute to the supervision of philosophy honours projects relating to ethics and/or feminist philosophy.
For Academic Year 2020-21 my main teaching commitments were:
Course co-ordinator for PU5528: Values and ethics in public health
This Masters level (level 5) course is offered as an elective for several postgraduate degrees in Applied Health Sciences.
Lecturer for PH1522: how should we live?
This level 1 course is co-ordinated by Professor Beth Lord. I contributed introductions to Virtue Ethics, Feminist Approaches to Ethics, and the Capability Approach.
Lecturer for PH306D: contemporary research topics in philosophy
This level 3 course is co-ordinated by Dr Luca Moretti. I contributed teaching on various questions relating to Trust, and on the use of Thought Experiments to examine ethical issues.
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Pushing poverty off limits: quality improvement and the architecture of healthcare valuesBMC Medical Ethics, vol. 22, no. 1, 91Contributions to Journals: Articles
Providing trial results to participants in Phase III pragmatic effectiveness RCTs: a scoping reviewTrials, vol. 22, 361Contributions to Journals: Articles
Made to Measure: The Ethics of Routine Measurement for Healthcare ImprovementHealth Care Analysis, vol. 29, pp. 39-58Contributions to Journals: Articles
How should the 'privilege' in therapeutic privilege be conceived in decision making about treatment for people with borderline mental capacity?Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 47-50Contributions to Journals: Articles
The ethical and epistemic roles of narrative in person-centred healthcareEuropean Journal for Person Centered Healthcare, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 345-354Contributions to Journals: Articles
Revisiting the equity debate in COVID-19: ICU is no panaceaJournal of Medical Ethics, vol. 46, no. 10, pp. 641-645Contributions to Journals: Articles
Patient safety and the question of dignitary harmsThe Journal of Medicine and PhilosophyContributions to Journals: Articles
Health professionals’ experiences and perspectives on food insecurity and long‐term conditions: A qualitative investigationHealth & Social Care in the Community, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 404-413Contributions to Journals: Articles
Some Unresolved Ethical Challenges in Healthcare Decision-Making: Navigating Family InvolvementAsian Bioethics Review, vol. 12, pp. 27-36Contributions to Journals: Articles
What does 'quality' add? Towards an ethics of healthcare improvement.Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 118-120Contributions to Journals: Articles