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To contact the Health Behaviour Change Research Group, please email Valerie Parker (valerie.parker@nuigalway.ie) or call 091 494454

Core Members

HBCRG banner 2018Nov

 Professor Molly Byrne, Professor of Health Psychology and HRB Research Leader; Director, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Molly’s research has primarily been in developing health behaviour interventions (e.g. secondary prevention of heart disease; self-management of diabetes) within health care settings. She works with a number of multidisciplinary research teams, and is interested in the processes involved in developing behavioural interventions and testing these in real world settings. She has managed a number of randomized controlled trials of behavioural interventions and has published her work widely. Molly was awarded a HRB Research Leader Award in 2013 and since January 2014 has held a full-time research leadership role at the School of Psychology, as Director of the Health Behaviour Change Research Group.

 Dr Jenny Mc Sharry, Post-Doctoral Researcher; Assistant Director, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Jenny is a lecturer in the School of Psychology, where she has responsibility for the teaching and research interface between the Departments of Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Jenny is a Chartered Psychologist and Registered Health Psychologist with the Health Professionals Council in the UK and co-directs the PhD in Health Psychology practice, a new professional health psychology programme. Jenny’s research focuses on people’s perspectives on health and illness, interventions to change health-related behaviours and implementing evidence into practice through healthcare professional behaviour change. 

HBCRG OMeade_med Dr Oonagh Meade, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Oonagh’s research interests lie in health psychology and mental health, particularly the psychosocial impact of living with long-term conditions, the experiences of family members and carers, and self-management interventions. Prior to moving to NUI Galway, Oonagh worked as a Research Fellow at the School of Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, primarily working on the EQUIP research programme  which aims to improve the quality of service user involvement in care planning in community mental health teams. Oonagh’s previous research has included developing online resources for parents of children with cancer, examining interventions to support young people with depression, and evaluating educational interventions for healthcare students.  She also has experience of teaching and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students. Oonagh obtained a BA(Hons) in Applied Psychology in 2005 from University College Cork. She completed a Masters in Health Psychology (2007) and a PhD in Applied Psychology (2013) at the University of Nottingham. Her PhD thesis examined the role of online support groups for individuals and families affected by rare neuromuscular disorders.

Ms Valerie Parker, Strategic Development and Project Manager, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Valerie obtained an honours degree in French and History from University College Cork before coming to NUI Galway to complete postgraduate diploma in Arts Administration. After working in the arts and creative sector for 5 years, she returned to NUI Galway and graduated with a 1st Class Honours Master of Business Studies in 2005. She then worked in the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change (formally the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change) as a Research Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Acting Development Officer, and from 2012-2014 was the Dissemination and Engagement Officer for the Institute. In May 2014, Valerie joined the Health Behaviour Change Research Group.

HBCRG EToomey Dr Elaine Toomey, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Elaine is a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) post-doctoral research fellow. She is currently involved in the development of a complex intervention to enhance infant feeding practices with a goal of improving childhood obesity outcomes. Her PhD in University College Dublin focused on using mixed methods to evaluate implementation fidelity within behaviour change interventions to promote self-management in people with chronic low back pain and/or osteoarthritis, while her MSc from the University of Limerick explored clinical interventions for non-ambulatory people with Multiple Sclerosis. She also works clinically part-time in a physiotherapy practice. Her research interests include clinical trials, mixed methods, implementation science, behaviour change and narrowing the gap between research and practice, in both physiotherapy and broader public health fields. 

BCasey headshot web Dr Bláithín CaseyProgramme Manager,  D1Now Study, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Bláthín is Programme Manager/Post-Doctoral researcher with the Health Behaviour Change Research Group (HBCRG) at NUI Galway. She is working on a project that aims to develop and pilot a complex intervention to improve health outcomes among young adults with Type 1 Diabetes in Ireland. This body of work, entitled, ‘D1-Now’, has a strong patient-public involvement (PPI) focus and has developed a Young Adult Panel (YAP) of young adults with T1D.
She graduated from the University of Limerick (UL) in 2013 with a BSc, honours degree in physiotherapy. She was awarded a scholarship from Multiple Sclerosis Ireland in 2014 to enter a structured PhD programme at UL and graduated in Aug 2018. Her PhD used behaviour change theory and through a body of work entitled ‘Activity Matters’ aimed to develop a web-based physical activity resource to enable people with MS to become more active. 

EMorrissey headshot Dr Eimear MorrisseyPost Doctoral Researcher,  D1Now Study, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Eimear is a post-doctoral researcher with the D1Now study team under Prof Sean Dineen and Prof Molly Byrne at the HBCRG and School of Medicine at NUI Galway. She completed her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Gerry Molloy and Dr. Jane Walsh at NUI Galway in 2018, focusing on developing the evidence base for digital interventions to enhance adherence to medication in people with hypertension. Prior to this she completed an MSc in Health Psychology at NUI Galway and a BA in Applied Psychology at UCC. Following submission of her PhD, Eimear worked as a postdoctoral researcher on an IRC funded project entitled “Comparing the effectiveness of behaviour change interventions versus new medical treatments: Movement and medicine” which uses a network meta-analysis to compare the effectiveness of first line anti-hypertensive medications to physical activity interventions to reduce blood pressure values in people with hypertension. She has extensive experience in teaching, having delivered lectures and workshops to undergraduate and postgraduate psychology and nursing. She is actively involved in the wider health psychology community, having served as treasurer on the CREATE (early career research network within the European Health Psychology Society) for two years and is currently PRO of the Psychological Society of Ireland Division of Health Psychology. Eimear’s research interests include self-management of chronic disease, treatment adherence, digital interventions and behaviour change science.

Ms Milou Fredrix, PhD student, Structured PhD in Psychology and Health, School of Psychology, NUI  Galway
Milou completed a BSc. in Psychology and Neuroscience and a MSc in Health and Social Psychology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. As part of her masters Milou conducted research on eating behaviour and the underlying psychological mechanisms. As a PhD student at NUI Galway, Milou is focussing on ‘Exploring the implementation and effectiveness of goal setting techniques in diabetes self-management interventions’. Milou's research interests lie within the development, evaluation and implementation of evidence-based behavioural intervention aimed at promoting health. Furthermore, she is interested in developing a greater knowledge of the psychological mechanisms responsible for unhealthy behaviour and habits. Milou is the recipient of a four-year scholarship from the Health Research Board as part of Dr Byrne's HRB Research Leaders Award. Email: m.fredrix1@nuigalway.ie 

 Ms Caragh Flannery, PhD Student and SPHeRE Scholar, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Caragh is a HRB SPHeRE PhD Scholar in Population Health and Health Service Research as part of the Health Behaviour Change Research Group in the School of Psychology. She graduated with a Joint Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Geography in 2010 and with a Masters in Health Economics in 2011 from University College Cork.  Previously Caragh worked in the Health Economics Research Group in the University of Surrey Guildford, on a “Hospice at Home” intervention which focused on patients’ preferred place of death, palliative care, and rapid response teams. Caragh’s PhD research focuses on maternal obesity, pregnancy, physical activity and interventions to change health-related behaviours in pregnancy. Email c.flannery13@nuigalway.ie

 Ms Marita Hennessy, PhD Student and SPHeRE Scholar, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Marita is a Health Research Board-funded SPHeRE PhD Scholar, investigating early life interventions to prevent childhood obesity. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and a Diploma in Youth and Community Work from University College Cork, and a MA in Health Education and Health Promotion, and a Specialist Diploma in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship from the University of Limerick. She initially worked in the food industry for four years and since 2005 has held a number of research positions with Safefood, University College Cork, the Children’s Research Centre-Trinity College Dublin, the National Cancer Registry and Waterford Institute of Technology. Marita’s research interests include obesity, nutrition, food poverty, health inequalities, health promotion, health behaviour change, implementation science, and men’s health. Email: m.hennessy11@nuigalway.ie

HBCRG Luke Van Rhoon Mr Luke Van Rhoon, PhD Student and Hardiman Scholar, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Luke completed a BSc. in Health Sciences at Deakin University, Australia in 2014 with majors in psychology and nutrition; which included one year abroad at Michigan State University in the USA to study food science. Luke also worked part-time as a health and wellness instructor for the YMCA before accepting a full-time position working with disadvantaged adults and youths at a community centre in Melbourne. In 2017, he completed the MSc. in Health Psychology at NUI Galway where he developed an mHealth-Based mindful eating intervention for university students, and assessed its efficacy via Randomised Controlled Trial. Luke is currently enrolled in the Structured PhD in Health Psychology Practice, funded by the four-year Hardiman Scholarship. His research will focus on the development and implementation of interventions to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Luke’s research interests include: eating behaviours, physical activity, nutritional science, and health promotion. Email: l.vanrhoon1@nuigalway.ie

Associate Members

Dr Patrick Murphy, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin
Patrick completed a PhD in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin in 2015, focusing on the disclosure of HIV seropositivity in the context of casual sex between men. He also holds a Higher Diploma in Psychology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics from Trinity College, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from UCC. Patrick joined the HBCRG in April 2015, as project manager for a pilot evaluation of the CHARMS intervention which aims to improve sexual assessment and counselling in hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation. He moved to Trinity College Dublin in January 2017 to take up a position as a lecturer in Psychology at St. James' Hospital.

Dr LIsa Hynes, Postdoctoral researcher & MY COMRADE Plus project manager, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, NUI Galway
Lisa completed her PhD in Health Psychology under the supervision of Professor Molly Byrne at NUI Galway in 2015, focusing on using mixed methods to develop and test a model of clinic attendance behaviour among young adults with type 1 diabetes. Following graduation, she worked as the post-doctoral researcher on a HRB funded project called D1Now, which aimed to develop an intervention to better support self-management among young adults with type 1 diabetes. Lisa moved to West Virginia University in September 2016 to take up a position as a post-doctoral research fellow with the Pediatric Lab for Adherence & Transition. She served as the project coordinator for a Health Resources & Services Administration-funded study, Take Action for Asthma Control. In 2019, Lisa returned to NUI, Galway to join the Discipline of General Practice within the School of Medicine as a postdoctoral researcher. Lisa is the project manager of MY COMRADE Plus, a cross-border pilot study testing a complex behavioural intervention aiming to facilitate general practitioners and practice-based pharmacists to collaborate on the management of treatment for people living with multiple long-term health conditions. This pilot study is led by Professor Andrew Murphy, founder of the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, and the intervention was developed by Dr Carol Sinnott. Lisa is interested in research that aims to improve the Irish health system for service users and providers, and hopes to be part of the ongoing development of health psychology practice and research in Ireland. 

HBCRG Chris Noone sm Chris Noone, Lecturer, Health Behaviour Research Group, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Chris is a lecturer in the School of Psychology where his primary focuses for teaching are methdology and statistics. Chris works on research intersecting sexuality and health. For example, he managed a feasibility study of the CHARMS sexual counselling intervention in Irish cardiac rehab centres and has secured funding to develop training on LGBT health for medical students (funded by NUI Galway) and interns (funded by National Doctors Training and Planning). In his role as chair of the research sub-committee for the National LGBT Federation, he has highlighted health disparities for migrants within the LGBT+ community through research funded by the Community Foundation for Ireland.

 Maureen D'Eath, Qualitative Researcher, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Maureen has degrees in Law, Politics and Health Services Research. She has worked as a researcher in NUI, Galway, Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and in a number of Disciplines including Psychology, Health Promotion and General Practice. Her research interests are in the area of health services research and she has a particular interest in qualitative research. Maureen joined the HBCRG in April 2016 as a research associate on the qualitative component of the CHARMS study. 

Visiting Researchers

HBCRG Sarah TC 2015 Dr Sarah Tonkin-Crine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, UK
Sarah visited the HBCRG in April 2015 to work with Jenny Mc Sharry on the EHPS STEPS study (Students’ expectations and experiences of studying health psychology MSc programmes in the UK: a qualitative study; Supported by the European Health Psychology Society, Create Tandem Award 2015). Sarah's research focusses on reducing antibiotic prescribing in primary care.

HBCRG Mei Tang Mei Yee Tang, Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, University of Manchester, UK
Mei visited the HBCRG in October 2015. She is a PhD student at the Manchester Cntre for Health Psychology, under the supervision of HBCRG Advisory Board member Prof David French. For her PhD research, she is investigating the role of self-efficacy in physical activity change and maintenance, and which behaviour change techniques are likely to best enhance self-efficacy and maintain physical activity changes in the longer-term. 

HBCRG Helena 2016 Helena Hernansaiz Garrido, School of Psychology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
Helena visiting the HBCRG in summer 2016, while she was a fourth year PhD student in the Clinical and Health Psychology Program at the School of Psychology in Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Her work focuses on mental health after HIV diagnosis in terms of resilience, posttraumatic growth, anxiety, and depression, and their predictors. Helena completed her PhD in April 2017.

HBCRG JSpeight Professor Jane Speight,  Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, Australia
Jane visited the HBCRG in October 2016, where she delivered a seminar and met with several members of the Group, as well as School staff. Jane leads a large and varied program of research in Australia and the UK, through which she aims to improve the quality of life of people with diabetes and encourage healthcare professionals to better understand the impact of diabetes and its treatment from the individual’s perspective.

HBCRG DK 2017 Dr Dominika Kwasnicka, Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Research Group, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Dominika visited the HBCRG in February 2017. Her research interests focus broadly on maintenance of behaviour change in public health. Her main interests are motives for behaviour maintenance, habits, self-regulation, and coping with behavioural barriers.

HBCRG ASchmitt Dr Andreas Schmitt, Diabetes Center Mergentheim, Research Institute of the Diabetes Academy Mergentheim, Germany
Andreas visited the HBCRG in August-September 2017 to work with the team on various research questions, including the psychosocial aspects of the care of patients with type 1 diabetes. Andreas returned to the HBCRG in June 2018 to complete a publication in that area.

HBCRG DMcGee Daragh McGee, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and HRB Summer Scholar 2017
Dr Elaine Toomey of the HBCRG and Daragh received the Trials Methodology Research Network Summer Student Scholarship grant (€2,000) for the project ‘Surveying knowledge, current practice and attitudes toward intervention fidelity practices within randomised trials in healthcare’. The project aimed to survey the current knowledge, practice and attitudes towards intervention fidelity practices (e.g. methods to enhance, assess and report fidelity) amongst researchers, policymakers and practitioners across Ireland who are, or have been, directly involved in designing and/or conducting randomised healthcare trials.

HBCRG LCollins Professor Linda M. Collins, Director, The Methodology Center; Distinguished Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies; Professor, Department of Statistics
Dr. Collins was a recipient of a Fulbright Specialist Award 2018 and visited the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at the National University of Ireland, Galway in April – May. During her visit to Ireland, she delivered a workshop and lecture on MOST, and met with research teams to explore and develop the application of MOST to their work.  Linda is interested in most aspects of research methods. Lately she has been most interested in experimental and non-experimental design, particularly for building, optimizing and evaluating behavioral interventions. She also has a long-standing interest in models for longitudinal data, particularly latent transition analysis, and other latent class models.

Advisory Board

Pictured at the Advisory Board Meeting, June 2016: Patrick Murphy, Sean Dinneen, Lisa Hynes, Valerie Parker, Molly Byrne, David French, Milou Fredrix, Prof Susan Michie (Centre for Behaviour Change, UCL, in place of Caroline Wood), Marita Hennessy, Evelyn Fanning, Maureen D'Eath, Jenny Mc Sharry and Andrew Murphy.
  • Dr Rachel Carey, Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London, UK
  • Professor Mike Clarke, Director of MRC Methodology Hub, Director of MRC All-Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences , Queen’s University Belfast and Chair of the MRC Network of Hubs for Trials Methodology Research
  • Professor Declan Devane, Chair of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway and Professor of Midwifery, West Northwest Hospitals Group
  • Dr Sean Dinneen, Consultant Endocrinologist, Galway University Hospitals and Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Diabetes Clinical Lead, HSE National Diabetes Programme
  • Ms Evelyn Fanning, Health Promotion Services, HSE West
  • Professor David French, Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
  • Professor Andrew W. Murphy, Discipline of General Practice and Primary Care, NUI Galway and General Practitioner Principal, Co. Galway
  • Professor Martin O’Donnell, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Associate Director, HRB Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway
  • Dr Orlaith O’Reilly, HSE National Clinical Advisor and Programme Group Lead, Health and Wellbeing and Clinical Strategy Programmes
  • Ms Jackie Reed, General Manager, HSE Health and Social Care Professions Education and Development

Affiliated Faculty

Dr Gerry Molloy, Lecturer in Psychology, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Gerry’s research focuses on the question, 'How does the immediate social environment and one's personality influence health and illness across the lifespan?' In this work self-regulation models from behavioural sciences are used to understand how aspects of social relationships interact with individual differences to influence health and illness throughout life. This programme of work has a particular focus on treatment adherence and in particular the use of daily medications.

Dr Jane Walsh, Lecturer in Psychology, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Jane’s research has focused mainly on developing health behaviour interventions in both a public health domain and in health care settings, with a particular focus on preventive health behaviours (e.g. screening, vaccination, exercise). She has worked in several multidisciplinary teams to develop theory-based interventions in applied settings. Her work also includes interventions to reduce patient pain and distress and increase adherence to medical advice. Jane has obtained funding for her research from the HRB, HSE Western Region and Mid-Western Region, and the Millennium Fund and published her research internationally in high quality journals. She is the current Director of both the MSc in Health Psychology and the Structured PhD in Psychology and Health in NUI Galway.

Dr Caroline Heary, Lecturer in Psychology, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway
Caroline has a particular interest in adopting a developmental approach to the health behaviours of children and adolescents. She is involved in a number of projects on understanding and explaining patterns of health behaviours during childhood and adolescence (including food consumption, physical activity and sedentary behaviours). More recently, she has also worked with Dr. Jane Walsh, Noelle Martin and Jennifer Keane (School of Psychology, NUI, Galway) on the design and evaluation of interventions to prepare children for stressful medical procedures.

Kieran A. Walsh, BPharm, MPharm, MPSI, SPHeRE PhD Scholar, School of Pharmacy/School of Public Health, University College Cork
Kieran is a SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health Services Research Education) PhD Scholar based in University College Cork, and is being co-supervised by Dr. Jenny Mc Sharry in the Health Behaviour Change Research Group. His PhD is focusing on developing an intervention to rationalise the prescribing of antipsychotics to people with dementia in long term care settings, using the Behaviour Change Wheel approach. His research interests include applied dementia research, mixed-methods, public and patient involvement, systematic reviewing, behaviour change and implementation science. Kieran completed his BPharm degree in University College Cork and his MPharm degree in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is also a practising community pharmacist. Email: kieran.walsh@ucc.ie

Jane Murphy, PhD Student and Galway Doctoral Research Scholar, Structured PhD in Psychology and Health, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
Jane completed a BA in Psychological Studies and Irish in 2015 and a HDipPsychology (Conversion) in 2016 at NUI Galway. As part of her HDip Jane conducted research on habit strength and adherence to oral contraceptives in university students. In 2017, she completed the MSc in Health Psychology at NUI Galway. Her MSc research assessed the usability and feasibility of a smartphone application for self-management of asthma. Jane is currently enrolled on the Structured PhD in Psychology and Health, funded by the Galway Doctoral Research Scholarship, and is being co-supervised by Dr. Jenny Mc Sharry in the Health Behaviour Change Research Group. Her PhD research is focusing on the development and evaluation of digital health interventions to support self-management of asthma in young adults (15-30 years). Her research interests include medication adherence, self-management behaviour, chronic illness and mHealth. Email: j.murphy51@nuigalway.ie