Health Promotion

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.

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.

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.  

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.  

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. 

Cathal Connolly  (
MPhil. Topic:  Exploring the perceived facilitators and barriers to participation in rugby for children with disabilities in Ireland, as mapped to the 'F-Words in Child Development' framework.
MPhil. Supervisor:  Dr Hazel Kileen

The aim of this research is to investigate the factors that impact children with disabilities' participation in rugby. This will be done by distributing mixed-methods questionnaires to rugby clubs throughout the country. There is one version for parents and one version for club personnel. This study also aims to investigate the impact that participation in a rugby programme, designed specifically for children with disabilities, has on the six 'F-Words for Child Development' (Fun, Fitness, Friendship, Function, Family and Future). Pre and post-focus groups will be held with the children that took part, their parents and the volunteers that helped run the programme. This research is affiliated with the 'F-Words in Ireland research team'.

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.

Aisling Hill  (
PhD. Topic:  Exploring the Effect of Mirror Therapy versus Constraint Induced Movement Therapy in an Older Adult Post Stroke Population - A control trial.
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Agnes Shiel

The overall aim of the study is to evaluate the interventions of CIMT and Mirror Therapy within a group of post stroke participants with an upper limb deficit, up to 12 months post stroke. The study is carried out in a controlled environment using quantitative standardised evaluation measures and qualitative feedback forms along with analysis of participant home programme diaries to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions, both face to face and virtually delivered. 

Umarasri Jitprapasnan (
PhD. Topic:  Occupational Therapy Leisure Evaluation and Treatment Software: an OT Hobbies App.
PhD. 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.

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

Yvonne Fitzmaurice  (
PhD. Topic:  Exploring the co-development of an online post stroke communication partner programme (PSCPP) for use with health care professionals in training (HCPiT) in Irish universities.
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Ruth McMenamin

Saoirse Lally  (
PhD. Topic:  Language Assessment of Polish-English bilingual children in Ireland: towards developing diagnostic tools for Speech and Language Therapy Practice. 
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Stanislava Antonijevic-Elliott, Dr Rena Lyons and Dr Ruth Mc Menamin 

The main aim of this study is to investigate whether the use of language assessment tasks including Sentence Repetition Tasks and Non-word Repetition Tasks can be used by monolingual Speech and Language Therapists in conjunction with children’s parents to assess bilingual Polish-English speaking children and differentiate between typically-developing children and children with a language disorder.  

Noha Maakafi  (
PhD. Topic:  Use of narrative in teaching English as second language.
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Stanislava Antonijevic-Elliott

Podiatric Medicine

Ailsa Baumgartner  (
PhD. Topic:  Staggered Steps: The use of podiatric interventions and foot health education in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 
PhD. Supervisors:  Professor Caroline McIntosh and Dr Claire MacGilchrist

The aim of this research is to establish the effects of MS on lower limb health; and evaluate the benefit of podiatric interventions, including foot health education, in the management and rehabilitation of lower limb health for increased mobility and ambulation. The research will utilise an advisory panel and public and patient involvement (PPI) to establish which areas of lower limb care require attention.

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

Ellen Kirwan  (
MPhil. Topic:  ALERT 2: Investigation into the Relationship between Atrial Fibrillation and Mild Cognitive Impairment in a podiatric community setting. 
MPhil. Supervisors:  Professor Caroline McIntosh and Dr Claire MacGilchrist

This study aims to explore the relationship between Atrial Fibrillation and Mild Cognitive Impairment. This research also aims to contribute to a wider project on the topic of Atrial Fibrillation in the discipline of Podiatric Medicine. 

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