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, 2021)
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
What, how, when and who of trial results summaries for trial participants: Stakeholder informed guidance from the RECAP project.BMJ Open, vol. 12, no. 3, e057019Contributions to Journals: Articles
Understanding and investigating relationality in the capability approachJournal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 86-104Contributions to Journals: Articles
Moving residence in later life: actively shaping place and wellbeingInternational Journal of Ageing and Later Life, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 127-161Contributions to Journals: Articles
An international core outcome set for evaluating interventions to improve informed consent to clinical trials: the ELICIT StudyJournal of Clinical Epidemiology, vol. 137, pp. 14-22Contributions to Journals: Articles
Pushing poverty off limits: quality improvement and the architecture of healthcare valuesBMC Medical Ethics, vol. 22, no. 1, 91Contributions 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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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
Defining What is Good: Pluralism and Healthcare QualityKennedy Institute Ethics Journal, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 367-388Contributions to Journals: Articles
Risk, Overdiagnosis and Ethical JustificationsHealth Care Analysis, vol. 27, pp. 231-248Contributions to Journals: Articles
"The more you know, the more you realise it is really challenging to do": tensions and uncertainties in person-centred support for people with long-term conditionsPatient Education and Counseling, vol. 101, no. 8, pp. 1460-1467Contributions to Journals: Articles
Should women aged 70-74 be invited to participate in screening mammography?: A report on two Australian community juriesBMJ Open, vol. 8, no. 6, e021174Contributions to Journals: Articles
Why Health and Social Care Support for People with Long-Term Conditions Should be Oriented Towards Enabling Them to Live WellHealth Care Analysis, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 48-65Contributions to Journals: Articles