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.

Anne Marie Frizzell ( 
PhD. Topic: 
Higher Education Institutions as Healthy Workplace Settings – Drivers, Enablers, Barriers and Opportunities 
PhD. Supervisors:  Professor Margaret Hodgins and Dr Victoria Fallon-Hogan 

The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of a whole systems approach to healthy workplaces within Higher Education Institutions in the Republic of Ireland, including enablers and barriers; and to explore opportunities for, and requisites necessary to advance and sustain Higher Education Institutions as healthy workplaces

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. 

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.

Ruchika Tara Mathur (
PhD Topic: Coming of age: Adolescent Participation in Adolescent Health Service Evaluation
PhD Supervisor: Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

This PhD seeks to demonstrate carrying out processes of adolescent participation in the evaluation of health services through Public and Patient Involvement in research (PPI) partnerships. This PhD will provide a greater understanding of how adolescents view service provision and service needs, which could be translated to other sectors and/or contexts by providing high quality evidence from an adolescent perspective, and which can be further taken up via knowledge transfer by advocacy groups to argue for service improvements. The research will also contribute toward the methodological literature on participation itself, by documenting the PPI journey with adolescents and sharing insights from the process, which can inform future research and practice. 

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.