Skip to the content

Meet our academy - Interns, PhDs and Post-Docs

We all grow throughout our lives, and the our Academy is here to help expand the number of people in Wessex conducting high quality applied health research. It's part of our legacy to the health and social care community across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

This page lists those people who have joined us in their journey to enrich our research community.

There are internships for people starting their research journey, PhD awards for those wanting to develop their experience and research career, and Post-Doctoral Awards to help drive the research agenda in Wessex.


From: Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust

Ambulatory care: exploring an alternative care pathway to support patients with a diagnosis of Heart Failure

Long Term Conditions theme




From: Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Project Title: A qualitative evaluation of the experiences of individuals with persistent pain participating in online pain management interventions.

Brief Summary of Project: This study aims to explore the experiences of individuals with persistent pain participating in online pain management interventions. It involves a systematic review and narrative synthesis of literature regarding individuals' experiences of online pain management interventions. The study will also conduct up to 10 semi-structured interviews with individuals who have recently undertaken an online group pain management programme within Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust's South West Hampshire Pain Management Service.

Long Term Conditions and Ageing and Dementia themes

Supervisors and Organisations involved:

Supervisor - Dr Euan Sadler. School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton. Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Ageing and Dementia Theme.

Supervisor - Dr Lindsay Welch. School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton. Long Term Conditions Theme.

Organisations – NIHR ARC Wessex, University of Southampton, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Search strategy document

See what Justin thought about his internship and what it means for the future

From: Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Project Title:Effects of previous traumatic pain memories on the current pain experience for people with haemophilia

Brief summary of project: Haemophilia is a life-long condition which can cause repeated bleeding into muscles and joints, leading to synovial hypertrophy, destruction of the articular cartilage and haemophilic arthropathy. Due to a lack of treatment in their youth, many adults with severe haemophilia will have experienced multiple painful bleeding episodes, and research suggests that 50% of people with haemophilia (PWH) report experiencing chronic pain. Currently, the factors that drive and influence the chronic pain cycle in this patient group are poorly understood. Many PWH display physical and psychological symptoms which could be linked to post-traumatic stress but there is very little mention of this concept in the literature. This six month internship project consists of a scoping review of the literature and some initial patient and public involvement (PPI) work, to help inform further patient-centred co-designed research. The overarching aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the interaction between psychological and physical influences on chronic pain, to help improve the care we provide and to improve the health, wellbeing and health outcomes for PWH.

Long Term Conditions theme

Supervisors and organisations involved:

Academic Supervisor: Dr Debra Gray, University of Winchester

Mentor: Dr David Stephensen, Clinical Academic, Deputy Director of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Supervisor: Dr Kelly Hislop Lennie, University of Southampton; Long Term Conditions Research Group 

Hear what Anna has to say about her internship journey


From: Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Project title: A systematic review of the effects of medical and allied health professional staffing focussed on junior doctors shift patterns and it effects wellbeing and burn-out

Brief summary of project:I am writing a systematic review and am gathering data on Junior Doctors from Dorset County Hospital via a survey on the topic of shift-work, and how this may, or may not, impact upon burnout amongst this cohort. I will be focusing on burnout, fatigue and well-being. The overall aim is to identify features of shift-work and the rostering process that may contribute to burnout, so as to encourage the implementation of change where possible and improve the working-lives of Junior Doctors. I am also involved in the on-going Pan-Dorset rostering and job-planning project which has a focus on the rostering system for Junior Doctors. I hope to bring my research findings to this project so as to positively contribute to the improvement of rostering for Junior Doctors across Dorset.

Workforce and Health Systems theme 


  • Alastair Hutchison, Medical Director and Consultant, Dorset County Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Peter Griffiths, Chair of Health Services Research, NIHR Senior Investigator, University of Southampton
  • Zoe Sheppard, Head of Research, Dorset County Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

See what Cheska has to say about the internship


Sofia Michopoulou

Project title: Biomarker Research Assessing Inflammation in Neurodegeneration (BRAIN)

Brief summary of project: This project aims to improve the diagnosis of dementia and enable early identification of patients who are likely to experience rapid progression of their symptoms. There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and it takes on average over 2 years from symptom onset to diagnosis. Systemic inflammation is a driving force that accelerates dementia progression. Markers of inflammation from body fluids may help evaluate dementia progression. This project will measure targeted biomarkers of inflammation in patient samples and assess their value in early diagnosis of dementia.

Supervisors and organisations involved:

  • Academic Supervisor: Prof Jessica Teeling, Experimental Neuroimmmunology, University of Southampton
  • Clinical Supervisor: Prof Chris Kipps, Consultant Neurologist, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • Ageing and Dementia Theme

From: Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Project title: How are the physical health needs of older people addressed in older peoples mental health (OPMH)? - A systematic review of literature

Brief summary of project: My aim is to develop my research skills by completing a systematic literature review looking at how the physical health needs of older people are addressed in those with mental health diagnosis. This systematic review will enable me to search for relevant literature, and extract and discuss the findings. This will enable me to gain evidence to inform clinical practice within the trust.

Supervisors and organisations involved:

  • Supervisor - Michele Board - Academic supervisor Bournemouth university
  • Abby Barkham – Clinical Supervisor Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Liz Taylor supporting manager, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Ageing and Dementia Theme

Naomi's Internship journey


Megan Pound - ARC Intern Autumn 2020

From: University of Portsmouth 

Project title: Co-production with and for vulnerable young people

Brief summary of project: 
This was a 3-month part time internship resulting in 3 key outputs; a podcast discussing the 'Tracking Vulnerable Children in Schools' project introduced due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, a blog post exploring how co-production could benefit Portsmouth as a 'restorative city' and a report following from my interviews with young care leavers, discussing their experiences of service provision in care, which also fed into the larger PSCP Neglect Deep Dive report and findings.

Healthy Communities theme

Supervisors and organisations involved:

Supervisor: Wendy Sims-Schouten (University of Portsmouth)
Organisations: Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Partnership and Portsmouth City Council

Read her blog here


Cherish Boxall is a Clinical Trials Manager in Southampton and her internship project looked at SWAT priorities to improve the evidence to inform recruitment and retention practice in clinical trials.

Here's what she thought of the internship


From:University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

How nutritional status is assessed and monitored in patients with liver cirrhosis in routine Hepatology outpatient clinics

Long Term Conditions theme

Jan is a paediatric Occupational Therapist in Poole.

Project: Are school motor skill programmes that are designed by occupational therapists, physiotherapists and/or educational psychologists but delivered by school staff effective in improving the motor skills of typically developing children aged between 4-11years with motor skill difficulties and therefore improving functional tasks? 


From: University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Urine output: how and why it is monitored in acute medical environments?

Ageing and Dementia theme

From:Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust

Comprehensive medication review using the validated STOPP-START toolkit in haemodialysis patients identified to have a frailty score of 5 or more using the validated widely used clinical frailty scale (CFS)

Ageing and Dementia theme


From: University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

What are older people’s experiences of frailty prevention interventions in acute hospitals? A scoping review

Ageing and Dementia theme

From: Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Establish current practice and challenges in the treatment of pubic rami fractures

Ageing and Dementia theme

From: Bournemouth University

Theo Akudjedu

Dementia, Ageing, Radiography, Neuroimaging/ Clinical Neuroscience

Ageing and Dementia theme

Vikki Tweedy

From: Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Is there a link between Covid 19 and developing Dementia?

Ageing and Dementia theme

From: University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Optimisation of nutrition and frailty prior to cardiac surgery

Ageing and Dementia theme

From: University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Identifying hidden vulnerabilities in patients who present with Major Trauma: a retrospective case note review to inform service development

Healthy Communities theme

From: University of Winchester

To be able to provide standard IF nutritional guidelines - missing at present

Healthy Communities theme

From: University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

To formulate a research question around the Attentional Deficits on Stroke Recovery

Long Term Conditions theme

From: University of Southampton

People living with cancer that is treatable but not curable and their partners: changes in roles, relationships and social networks over time

Long Term Conditions theme

From: University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Self-management of back pain and musculoskeletal long-term conditions

Long Term Conditions theme

From: Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Rachael Middle

Severe Mental Illness and digital literacy

Long Term Conditions theme

From: Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Quality of Life of Pseudomyxoma Peritonei Patients: A Systematic Review

Long Term Conditions theme

From: Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Long Term Conditions theme

From: University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth University

What is the evidence for the use of Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for stroke interventions in Early Supported Discharge?

Long Term Conditions & Ageing and Dementia themes

From:University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Workforce and Health Systems, Critical Care

Workforce and Health Systems theme

Kim Yun Jung

Project title: Social network facilitated engagement in people who are Homeless to address InEqualities in alcohol-related Liver Disease (SHIELD): A pilot study

Plain English summary 

People who are homeless (PWAH) are known to have low rates of engagement with community health services. Poor engagement with liver care services has consequences for PWAH and is likely to contribute to the worse outcomes. Barriers and facilitators to the alcohol related liver disease care pathway for PWAH have not been explored and the level of engagement by this population is poorly quantified. During the internship I will work on a small pilot study (The SHIELD study) that is investigating the potential to use social networks to identify early-stage liver disease in this group. The research outcomes achieved from this award will greatly impact on the determining success of feasibility of the SHIELD study.

My project entails interviews with PWAH in community. This is a unique opportunity for me to meet them as healthy individuals with potential disease progression in community as my current care predominantly focuses on patients who are engaged with the healthcare team in secondary care. I will gain a better understanding of our patient group by networking with them through research. Interacting with this group and listening to their thoughts on alcohol and alcohol related liver disease will enhance my patient-centred care. I will also get an opportunity to learn delivering Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) activity in research.

Academic Supervisor: Dr Ryan Buchanan, Associate Professor of Hepatology, Honorary Consultant Hepatologist, University of Southampton


Dr Kinda Ibrahim, Academic Geriatric Medicine, University of Southampton

Dr Andy Fox, Consultant pharmacist in Medicines Safety, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Developing and evaluating the feasibility of a community-based health literacy intervention to empower socially disadvantaged parents/carers of children aged 0-4 years to manage minor childhood illness and confidently navigate health services

Project Team Members: Professor James Faulkner – University of Winchester, Dr Margaret Husted – University of Winchester, Dr Simon Fraser– University of Southampton, Dr Sanjay Patel – University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Organisations Involved: University of Southampton, University of Winchester, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Brief summary of project:

This research project aims to make community- based intervention recommendations to increase the health literacy of parents/ caregivers of children aged 0 to 4 years.

This project will use a systematic review and sequential descriptive mixed method designs to meet the following research aims:

• Research Aim 1: establish the effectiveness of community-based health literacy interventions aimed at parents

• Research Aim 2: generate evidence of the validity of the Parent Health Literacy Questionnaire (pHLQ)

• Research Aim 3: profile the health literacy of parents living in areas of high deprivation

• Research Aim 4: identify interventions which could meet the health literacy needs of parents living in areas of high deprivation

Patient and public involvement will be sought throughout this research project.

Listen to her latest Podcast - Finding the Power in Empowerment - Episode One - Long Term Conditions- Sam and Lynn are joined by guests Holly and Mick. 

Project title: The PD Life Study – Exploring the treatment burden and capacity of people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers

Brief summary of project: Treatment burden is the effort of looking after your health and its impact on you. High treatment burden can lead to poor quality of life and difficulties adhering to treatments. Treatment burden is balanced by capacity, which is the ability to manage treatment burden. This study will explore the experiences of treatment burden and capacity in people with Parkinson’s (PwP) and their caregivers. We will initially conduct interviews with PwP and caregivers in Hampshire to explore their views and experiences of the factors that influence treatment burden and capacity. This will be explored further in a national survey for PwP and caregivers with support from Parkinson’s UK.  We will then form focus groups with key stakeholders to discuss the findings and prioritise recommendations for change. This study will enable us to develop recommendations of ways to reduce treatment burden or enhance capacity in PwP and their caregivers.

Supervisors and organisations involved:

Supervisor: Professor Helen Roberts, University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Lead Ageing and Dementia Theme

Supervisor: Dr Kinda Ibrahim, University of Southampton, Ageing and Dementia Theme

Supervisor: Dr Simon Fraser, University of Southampton, Long-term Conditions Theme


Alex Smith

Project Title: A COMmunity Pharmacy-based intervention to identify people with undiagnosed Alcohol related liver Cirrhosis (The COMPAC Study)


Primary – Julie Parkes, University of Southampton

Secondary Ryan Buchanan, University of Southampton
Janisha Patel, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Kinda Ibrahim, University of Southampton

Healthy Communities ARC theme


Development of an integrated care model for patients and families living with long term neurological conditions

Project Team Members:  Professor Mari Carmen Portillo – University of Southampton, NIHR ARC Wessex lead for Long Term Conditions Theme, Dr Dorit Kunkel – University of Southampton, Research Design Service South Central, Professor Christopher Kipps – University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust,  Professor Nick Goodwin – Central Coast Research Institute, The University of Newcastle, Australia

Organisations Involved: University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts, University of Southampton, Southampton Academy of Research, Wessex Academic Health Science Network, Parkinson’s UK, Huntington’s Disease Association, MS Society


People living with long term neurological conditions have complex needs, which are not being fully met at present. This reduces their quality of life and increases costs to society. According to a survey in 2019, 90% of patients had not been offered a care plan. Problems with services not matching people’s needs have been identified, particularly in mental health, finance, and social care. These patients have the lowest health-related quality of life of any long term condition, according to NHS England.

To address the needs of patients, the World Health Organization advises better coordination between different care services - This is called “integrated care”. Integrated care has shown benefits in other conditions but there is a lack ofevidence in long term neurological conditions.
It is not clear what integrated care means, and how it can be delivered for those with long term neurological conditions.

This study will focus on the needs and preferences of people living with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis, by:

1. Reviewing the evidence on how integrated care is provided internationally

2. Undertaking a UK wide survey to identify exemplar systems of integrated care followed by in-depth interviews to explore how care is currently delivered and experienced

3. Reaching consensus between different stakeholders on a model of integrated care and core outcomes for people living with these conditions

This research project will explore the similarities and differences across long term neurological conditions and strategies for implementation of an integrated care model in practice.

This project will characterise current care delivery and the experience of service users, showing the gaps in care and the changes needed in the system to meet the needs of people living with long term neurological conditions. It will inform the implementation and evaluation of the care model at post-doctoral level. This will result in a cost-effectiveness evaluation of the model and impact on service users’ outcomes. The anticipated long term impact of this study is that better system integration will result in improved outcomes for service users at no or reduced costs for health and social care systems. This knowledge is potentially transferable to other rare and prevalent long term neurological conditions – the biggest cause of disability worldwide.

Read Sandra's blog 

Working under pressure – The UK community nursing workforce

Project Team Members: Professor Jane Ball – University of Southampton, Dr Joanne Turnbull – University of Southampton, Dr Sarah Williams – Solent NHS Trust Professor Jill Maben – University of Surrey

Organisations Involved: University of Southampton, Solent NHS Trust, University of Surrey.


Community nurses are an essential part of the nursing workforce in the UK. Providing care in peoples’ homes, community nurses play a vital role managing long term conditions, end of life care, acute management in a home setting and preventing avoidable hospital admission. UK healthcare policy continues to recognise the key role of community provision by setting ambitions to increase community-based care. This community focus is also reflected within research nationally, with clear strategic ambition to increase community-based research.

Despite their importance, community nursing numbers are declining. There is a distinct lack of community nursing workforce research and therefore little empirical understanding of community nursing workforce outcomes such as staffing levels, retention, and burnout.

Pressure is a term that is frequently used in nursing discourse and policy to describe nursing workforce contexts, but there is no recognised definition. This project will seek to understand and define pressure in a community nursing context and explore the viability of pressure as a community nursing workforce outcome.

We hope that this project will provide understanding on current workforce outcomes in UK community nursing, provide a theoretical and empirical understanding of ‘pressure’ in UK community nursing contexts and begin to explore the use of pressure as a potential outcome measure for the UK community nursing workforce.


Caring for the Sexual Health of Cancer Survivors and their Partners

Project Team Members:  Mrs Suzanne Sheppard – Bournemouth University, Dr Sally Lee – Bournemouth University
Dr Zoe Sheppard – Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Ms Tracy Glen – Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Organisation Involved: Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.


Sexual difficulties are reported to be one of the most frequent, distressing, and persistent consequences of cancer and its treatment. However, despite the availability of both numerous interventions to treat sexual difficulties and models to help healthcare professionals communicate about sexuality, many patients continue to report that they do not receive supportive care from the hospital cancer team for these issues. Furthermore, if sexual concerns are discussed then the focus is often only on physical concerns.

This mixed methods project is aiming to further illuminate the barriers to and facilitators for care for the sexual health of cancer survivors and their intimate partners. The initial quantitative phase will be a national, online survey of cancer survivors and their intimate partners. This survey will provide broad information about experiences of care and will explore perceptions of potential barriers and facilitators. The subsequent qualitative phase will take place at Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and will involve semi-structured interviews exploring the lived experiences of the receipt and provision of care for sexual health in an oncology setting.

At the end of the project, we will have a deeper understanding of the barriers to and facilitators for care for sexual health in oncology. It is anticipated that the use of the critical realist paradigm will help to achieve this deepening of understanding. These findings may be used to create an intervention to help improve the provision and receipt of care for sexual health for cancer survivors and their intimate partners. Sexual wellbeing is thought to be an important component of overall wellbeing and it is hoped that the findings may lead to improvements in both areas.


Project title: Nudging; a theoretical concept for a very practical approach to pelvic floor muscle training

Project team members: Professor Carol Clark- Bournemouth University. Dr Carly Stewart- Bournemouth University. Mrs Sally Sheppard- Dorset Lead Pelvic Health Physiotherapist

Organisation involved: University Hospitals Dorset

Background: The aim of this study is to explore whether nudge theory, in the form of digital nudges, influence pelvic floor muscle training adherence in perinatal women. The mixed methods study is divided into three phases. The first phase involves a systematic literature review around the effect of pelvic floor muscle training mobile apps on pelvic floor muscle training adherence in women. Phase two of the study involves qualitative research around discourse and behavioural communication behind a social media campaign. Patient and public involvement work alongside phases one and two will be used to inform the co-design of digital pelvic floor muscle training nudges. The third phase of the study will a feasibility study integrating digital nudges in new NHS perinatal pathways. Study findings will determine whether a randomised control trial is feasible for post-doctoral research.

Project title: Exploring the relationship between health system responsiveness and the implementation of person centred integrated care for older people with frailty

Post Doctoral

Project: Early detection of chronic liver disease in community settings

More details here

Understanding, addressing, and meeting the complex needs of people living with long term physical and mental health conditions: a qualitative study

Read more

The career aspirations of nurses working in the research delivery workforce: a cross-sectional survey

Read more