Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Work and Social Policy where I teach on the undergradaute and postgrauate programmes in social work.  Before joining the university, I worked for 10 years as a professional social worker in the statutory and voluntary sectors, both in Scotland and the USA.  These experiences underpin my current teaching and research and promoting and developing social work practice is a key priority.

I am actively engaged in a number of inter-disciplinary research projects and knowledge exchange activities with specific interests in: death, dying, loss and bereavement; public health approaches to palliative care (including compassionate communities); childhood; participatory research methods; and practice development.  I welcome opportunities to work collaboratively.

I am a registered social worker with the Scottish Social Services Council and a member of the Association of Palliative Care Social Workers and the Public Health Palliative Care Internatinal. I have a PhD in Social Work from the University of Edinburgh and am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Death, dying, loss and bereavement
  • Public health approaches to palliative care (including compassionate communities) 
  • Participatory research methods
  • Research with children and young people
  • Practice and service development

Teaching Interests

My teaching spans three broad fields: social work, bereavement and loss and research skills. I teach across both of the qualifying social work programmes: the BA(Hons) in Social Work and the Masters of Social Work.  I also contribute teaching on bereavement and loss in other settings, academic and practice, to a variety of disciplines. 

Research Interests

My research focuses on bereavement, loss and end-of-life care with a particular emphasis on developing the resilience of communities to better cope with, and support, related experiences.  I have a particular interest in the experiences of marginalised groups, including children and young people and people involved in the criminal justice system. I have experience of action research and am committed to participatory research methods that have impact across practice and policy as well as within academia.

I welcome proposals from Undergraduate, Masters or potential PhD students with related research interests. 

I currently supervise the following doctoral students: 

David Duncan - Experiences of Bereavement: Using creative methods with children and young people to share, explore and express (with Dr Anna Robinson)

Keyla Correa-Montenagro - The politics of a Good Death (with Professor Ian Greener)

Sallyanne Mercer - Death and dying in prison: deconstructing disenfranchised dying (with Professor Beth Weaver)

Emma Young - Supporting successful parenting: exploring professional responses to women in and leaving care who are pregnant or parenting (with Dr Laura Steckley)

I have supervised the following doctoral students to successful completion of their award:

Dr Tia Simanovic - Bereavement and imprisonment: an exploration of the experience of grief and loss prior to and during custody (with Professor Beth Weaver) Thesis available here

Dr Laura del Carpio - Life after loss: a theory based investigation of the impact of bereavement by suicide or other causes on adolescents in Scotland Thesis available here

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

External Examiner , Queens University Belfast

Sept 2023 → …

External Examiner , National University of Ireland

1 Sept 2019Jul 2023

Research Consultant, Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice

May 2016Jul 2020

Committee Member: Research and Evaluation, Association of Public Health and Palliative Care: UK

Nov 2015 → …

Scottish Representative, Association of Palliative Care Social Workers

Oct 20152018

Stakeholder Group Member, Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief

Mar 20152019


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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