Health Promotion

Hiyam Al-Riyami ( 
PhD. Topic:  Mapping the capacity of Health Promotion Interventions for non-communicable diseases in Oman.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Lisa Pursell and Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn 

This study examines the level of: knowledge, skills, commitment, system, structure and leadership that exist for promoting interventions (including policies, organisational and community level strategies) that are integrated into the existing structures for reducing non-communicable diseases in Oman. This is in order to identify gaps to determine where further Health Promotion capacity is required. This study will use a mixed methods approach to Health Promotion capacity mapping.   

Mary Callaghan (
PhD. Topic: 
Exploring bullying and victimisation among post-primary school students in Ireland.
PhD. Supervisors: 
Dr Michal Molcho and Dr Colette Kelly

The aim of this study is to investigate the determinants of bullying among post-primary school students in Ireland.  Differences between traditional bullying and cyber bullying will also be explored.  This study will provide insight into factors influencing bullying and victimisation at the individual and school level in Ireland.

Lauren Connell (
PhD. Topic: 
 Developing Health Professionals Health Literacy competencies to support patient’s self-management of Diabetic Foot Disease.
PhD. Supervisors:  
Dr Jane Sixsmith and Dr Yvonne Finn

This PhD project is part of the Diabetic Foot Disease (DFT) from prevention to improved patient outcomes (Primo) CDA scholarship, in conjunction with HRB, within the topic of Health Literacy.  The project is entitled 'Developing Health Professionals health literacy competencies to support patient's in diabetes self-management'.  This programme aims to develop and assess the feasibility of an education intervention to empower patients, at risk of diabetic foot ulceration occurrence or recurrence, to self-manage.

Ann Marie Crosse (
PhD. TopicEco Health Literacy: Repositioning health and environment sectors towards integrated, proactive and sustainable eco health policies and practice.
PhD. Supervisors: Professor Margaret Barry and Dr Mary Jo Lavelle 

This study aims to develop a place based model of Eco Health literacy, it will support the development of healthy, resilient and sustainable communities. It will provide a common language based on the interconnections between ecosystems services, health and sustainable development and will help create a negotiated space for synergistic working between communities, science and decision makers.

Saintuya Dashdondog (
PhD. Topic:  Examining determinants of eating patterns in preschool settings in disadvantages areas in Ireland.
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Colette Kelly

Preschool years are a critical period for growth and development and healthy or unhealthy habits formed at this age may persist in later years; therefore, preschools may serve as an important setting for Health Promotion.  Research shows that there is a strong relationship between low socioeconomic status and poor quality diets.  The aim of this study is to identify factors that influence eating patterns among preschoolers attending childcare settings in disadvantaged areas.  This project will examine staff, children and parents' perceptions and behaviours toward healthy eating at childcare settings and develop recommendations for promoting healthy eating in preschools in disadvantaged areas. 

Kathy Ann Fox (
PhD. Topic:  Changes in attitudes towards alcohol use and drinking behaviours in early to mid-adolescence.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Michal Molcho and Dr Colette Kelly.

This study investigates the changes in drinking behaviours, with a particular focus on adolescents' attitudes and perceived norms towards alcohol use.  A prospective mixed methods study design is employed, in order to observe changes over time among 12-15 year old adolescents, an age range where a notable increase in drinking behaviour has been identified.  Applying Social Norms Theory, this study will provide insight into the complex mix of influencing factors that could explain such changes in drinking behaviours, thus informing the development of interventions aimed at reducing adolescent alcohol use in Ireland.

Aoife Gavin ( 
PhD. Topic:  
Exploring trends in health behaviours among children in Ireland: 1998-2010.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Michal Molcho and Dr Colette Kelly

The aim of this study is to explore the trends in health behaviours among school-aged children in Ireland between 1998 and 2010 primarily utilising the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The study will involve secondary data analysis, with methodological considerations for analysing cross-sectional trends data. A systematic review of peer-reviewed papers presenting trends data is underway to identify appropriate statistical approaches.

Margaret Hester (  
PhD. Topic:
 Exposure and experience with substance use among Irish young adults living short term in Massachusetts.
PhD. Supervisors: Prof Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

The aim of this research project is to investigate the perceptions of changes in illicit drug market due to COVID-19 and risk reduction strategies used among people who use drugs in Ireland to keep safe in response to these changes in supply. This research hopes to use qualitative methods to shed light on important issues surrounding drug use and overdose prevention today. It will explore concepts such as availability of drugs, presence of adulterants, incidents of overdose, and barriers to care among people who use drugs. Further, it will investigate how COVID-19 may have influenced the presence of synthetics in the illicit drug supply and the acceptability of using fentanyl test strips as a risk-reduction strategy among people who use drugs.

Claire Kerins (  
PhD. Topic: Implementation of menu labelling interventions in the out-of-home food environment.
PhD. Supervisors: Dr Colette Kelly (NUIG), Professor Ivan Perry (UCC), Professor Catherine Hayes (TCD)

The aim of this research is to explore the contextual factors (i.e. individual- and organisational-level factors) that influence the implementation of menu labelling interventions in the out-of-home food environment.  The research plan is organised into two interlinked work streams: a mixed methods systematic review of the barriers and facilitators to implementing menu labelling interventions to support healthy food choices (Work Stream 1), followed by a multiple-case study to explore the influence of contextual factors on implementation of a calorie menu labelling policy in Irish public hospitals (Work Stream 2).  The proposed studies are guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR).  The CFIR incorporates constructs from existing implementation theories into a single comprehensive framework that can help guide systematic evaluation of the implementation process.

Nurul Kodriati ( 
PhD. Topic:  Gender, masculinities, and smoking behaviour among males:  Settings based health promotion approach.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Lisa Pursell and Elli Nur Hayati

This study explores how smoking is a gendered behaviour in many parts of the world with the least ratio of male and female smokers occurring in Europe and America, but is more prevalent among males in countries like Indonesia, China, and Korea where it is more than ten times higher than among females.  Given the magnitude of the problem of male smoking in these regions, this study employed an initial scoping of literature to explore relationships between masculinities and smoking behaviours in general.  Following this, quantitative analysis of data taken from UN Multi-Country Study (UNMCS) of masculinity is being undertaken to examine smoking behaviours and masculinities within Indonesia.  Recommendations for future smoking interventions targeted towards men within settings based health promotion approach will be considered.  

Margaret McLoone ( 
PhD. Topic:  An examination of the attitudes, perceptions and awareness of infant feeding practices amongst young people in Ireland.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Colette Kelly and Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

Breastfeeding can make a significant contribution to population health by improving health outcomes for both infant/child and mother. According to the Irish Maternity Indicator System (IMIS) breastfeeding was initiated with 63.8 per cent of infants born in Irish Maternity hospitals (IMIS, 2020).  Breastfeeding rates decline rapidly and the Healthcare Pricing Office (2020) report that only 48.3 per cent of babies were still being breastfed at discharge from hospital. These breastfeeding rates lag significantly behind rates of breastfeeding globally.  Promoting breastfeeding to young people is a challenging issue in our society where formula-feeding is an accepted norm.  This study is examining the attitudes, perceptions and awareness of infant feeding practices amongst young people in Ireland.  

Teresa Meaney (
PhD. Topic: Irish mothers experience of persisting with breastfeeding.
PhD. Supervisor: Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

Despite the accepted social, emotional and health benefits associated with breastfeeding the incidence of breastfeeding in Ireland is at an alarmingly low level (56% ERSI 2012) with Ireland having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. The aim of this study is to use a qualitative phenomenological longitudinal research approach to understand and gain insight into Irish mother’s experience of breastfeeding. It is anticipated that this study will provide a meaningful understanding of mother’s experience of persisting with breastfeeding. Knowledge may be generated to inform policy makers and health professionals on necessary areas for development in the promotion and support of breastfeeding.

Lhara Mullins (
PhD. Topic: Homecare and older people in Ireland: How much do we care?
PhD. Supervisor: Dr Margaret Hodgins

Older people in Ireland represent a fast-growing cohort and largely prefer to age in place.  The expanding homecare market in Ireland is currently unregulated and omits legislation to protect older people and promote minimum standards.  Lack of research on homecare particularly based upon the lived experiences of older people, further compounds the issue.  This research aims to ascertain the individual experiences of homecare from the older person's perspective and further gauge the systematic factors which influence the provision of homecare from those working in the sector.  

Áine O'Brien (
PhD. Topic: Characteristics of Injury Fatalities in the West of Ireland; Investigating Coroner Inquest Reports.
PhD. Supervisor: Dr Margaret Hodgins

Trauma from injury and violence represents a major public health problem affecting individuals, families and communities.  Annually, it accounts for 5 million deaths worldwide (9% of global mortality).  In Ireland, it is the fourth leading cause of mortality, yet inadequate research has been published in this area.  Death certificate records provide limited data on injury mortality.  Coroner inquest reports provide case information collated from multiple sources (including police reports, witness statements, coronial autopsy and forensic pathologist post mortem and toxicology examinations).  Comprehensive information is available in these reports regarding the manner and mechanism of injury, the presence of alcohol and drugs, detailed descriptions of injuries and a narrative of the circumstances resulting in death.  This study investigates characteristics of injury-related fatalities in the West of Ireland over a 5 year period through these data sources.

Breda O'Mahony (
PhD. Topic: Investigation into the implementation of the Nutrition Standards for School Meals.
PhD. Supervisor: Dr Colette Kelly

With the recent introduction of the Nutrition Standards of School Meals in Delivering Equality of Opportunity (DEIS) schools and the potential introduction of these standards across all post primary schools, the aim of this research is to investigate the internal school factors that influence the implementation of these standards in post primary schools.  The research plan is organised into three interlinked work streams.  The direction of work streams two and three are subject to adaptation as work stream one has the potential to amend the areas of enquiry.  Work stream one consists of a mixed methods systematic review of the barriers and facilitators to implementing Food and Nutrition Standards in School Meals.  Factors (barriers and facilitators) reported to influence implementation will be synthesized using the theoretical domain framework.  

Divya Ravikumar (
PhD. Topic:  Food provision and the homeless population: working together to enable solutions.
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Colette Kelly and Prof Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

The study will address research gaps in the literature that were highlighted during a research project for the MA Health Promotion course.  The first phase of this study is a systematic review examining food sources and donations in the homeless sector.  The second phase of this PhD involves the co-production of food and nutrition guidelines with and for service providers that work with the homeless population.  The third phase will assess the feasibility of these guidelines.  Study outcomes will add to the evidence base and aim to improve policy and healthcare provision and further progress towards the goal of achieving health equity in this population.  

Jaroslava Velartova (
PhD. Topic:  Defining and managing risk in adult social care disability services.
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Martin Power

This research will explore understandings that surround the manner in which risk is defined, perceived and operationalised by stakeholders.  While risk assessment has become ubiquitous in social care, service users, social care staff and service provider managers often approach risks differently.  As a consequence, there can be challenges to balancing competing demands of independence, autonomy, health, safety and duty of care.

Occupational Therapy

Badr Al-Duqsi
PhD. Topic: 
The effectiveness of Kinesio taping in comparison to a long thumb spica in the treatment of DeQuervain's tenosynovitis.
PhD. Supervisors:  
Professor Agnes Shiel and Dr. Sinéad Hynes

The aim of my research project is to compare two interventions: Kinesio Tape and long thumb spica splint for treating DeQuervain Tenosynovitis and to identify which one is more effective in reducing pain, and improving functional outcomes.  By conducting this study, the results will support in evidencing the most effective treatment of DeQuervain's tenosynovitis.  Additionally, it will guide the practitioners in setting up the gold standard treatment and protocol for DeQuervain's tenosynovitis. 

Mai Alharthy ( 
PhD. Topic:  
The Arabic translation and cultural adaptation of the Rivermead behavioural memory test third edition RBMT-3. 
PhD. Supervisors:  
Professor Agnes Shiel and Dr. Sinéad Hynes

Memory assessment is an important part of the rehabilitation process of patients with acquired brain injuries. There is a need for a valid and reliable standardised assessment for memory function in Arabic language. Therefore, this study aims to translate and culturally adapt the RBMT-3 to be suitable to use with Arabic speaking populations (phase one). In addition, the second phase of this study will investigate the psychometric properties of the Arabic version of the RBMT-3. 

Larissa Donatoni Da Silva (
PhD. Topic:  Analysing the practice of Pilates for the balance of the elderly in the prevention of falls.
PhD. Supervisors:  Professor Agnes Shiel and Professor Caroline McIntosh

Abiola De Mojeed (
PhD. Topic:  The use of baseline profiles to inform cognitive and functional skills training to address deficits in occupational performance in older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Agnes Shiel

Samira Dhamapurkar (
PhD. Topic:  Disorders of consciousness considering topics such as the effect of infectionson level of consciousness; clinical characteristics of altered conscious state andpharmalogical effect of specific medications on levels of consciousness.
PhD. Supervisors:  Professor Agnes Shiel and Professor Barbara Wilson

Jackie Fox  (
PhD. Topic:  Occupational Therapy for Individuals with Anxiety and Stress-Related Conditions.
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Agnes Shiel.

This study aims to explore the evidence for the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions in improving outcomes for individuals with anxiety and stress-related conditions, and to explore the feasibility of an occupational therapy programme called 'Redesigning Daily Occupations' in the Irish context.  In phase one, a systematic review will be carried out to determine the existing published evidence for the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions in improving outcomes for individuals with anxiety and stress-related conditions.  In phase two, a pilot randomised controlled trial of the 'Redesigning Daily Occupations' programme will be carried out by occupational therapists working in primary care.  The aim of this pilot is to determine whether this programme can show trends towards effectiveness for Irish women with stress and anxiety, and also whether this programme is feasible and acceptable in this context.

Umarasri Jitprapasnan (
PhD. Topic:  Occupational Therapy Leisure Evaluation and Treatment Software: an OT Hobbies App.
PhD. Co-Supervisors:  Professor Agnes Shiel and Dr Ruth McMenamin

Lisa Maloney (
PhD. Topic:  A survey and evaluation of community residential and mental health servicesin West and East Galway.
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Agnes Shiel

Mary-Rose Mulry  (
PhD. Topic:  An exploration into the effectiveness of an electronic device known as Fall Detector for the Elderly (FATE) in preventing and detecting falls amongst the older adult population. 
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Agnes Shiel

This study sets out to explore the effectiveness of an electronic device known as Fall Detector for the Elderly (FATE) in preventing and detecting falls amongst the older adult population. The study aims to evaluate if an electronic fall detector like FATE has an impact on one’s occupational performance and occupational satisfaction in their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) furthermore investigating if it improves one’s quality of life. In addition to this the study will explore carer burden and whether or not this device has a positive or equally a negative effect on relieving carer burden. Falls or a fear of falling is a great source of anxiety for the older adult as a fall can lead to potentially fatal injuries, diminished self confidence resulting in the individual no longer participating in certain ADLs and a reduced quality of life. This study aims to explore and address such issues.

Claire Murphy (
PhD. Topic:  Moving to Recovery: An evaluation of an intensive individualised occupational therapy approach to enable transition from institutional living to independent living.
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Agnes Shiel

Speech and Language Therapy

Sandra Brandon  (
PhD. Topic:  To investigate the effects of Expiratory Muscle Strength Training on Swallow Function in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Ruth McMenamin and Dr Stanislava Antonijevic-Elliott

Podiatric Medicine

Sinead Flynn (
MPhil. Topic:  
Investigating the care of Active Diabetic Foot Disease during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
PhD. Supervisor:  
Prof Caroline McIntosh and Prof Sean Dinneen

Amanda Walsh (
PhD. Topic:  
Pes Planus in Down Syndrome: Problem Pathology or Special Feet for Special Children.
PhD. Supervisor: 
Professor Caroline McIntosh