Meet the team 

Professor Rebecca Lawton (Theme Lead)
Rebecca is a health psychologist. She graduated from University of Nottingham with a BA in Psychology in 1991. In 1994 Rebecca was awarded a PhD from the University of Manchester, the culmination of an ESRC (Case) studentship working with Professor James Reason and investigating the role of procedural violations in railway accidents. Rebecca stayed at Manchester, working as a Research Fellow on two research projects; the first, a Department for Transport funded project investigating the psychological predictors of speeding while driving and the second, an ESRC funded project, investigating the attitudes and behaviour of healthcare professionals to the increasing regulation of their work. In 1999 Rebecca took up a post at the University of Leeds as a lecturer and was later promoted to Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology. Rebecca has attracted research funding from the ESRC, DH, NIHR, British Academy and Bupa Foundation and has published over 50 peer reviewed articles. Her current research interests focus on applying psychological theory to improving health and health care services. More specifically, Rebecca carries out research on human factors and patient safety, patient involvement in patient safety, the uptake of evidence based practice as well as more traditional health psychology research investigating determinants of health risk behaviours, implementation intentions and emotional influences on health behaviours.

Ruth Simms-Ellis (Theme Manager)
Ruth is a psychologist with over 20 years’ experience of working in the field of occupational health psychology. She has a BSc in Psychology from the University of Leeds, an MSc Occupational Psychology from the University of Leicester and is currently studying for her PhD at the University of Leeds. As an organisational consultant and trainer Ruth has collaborated with diverse organisations to help them reduce stress, build resilience and enhance team functioning, through individual coaching, team workshops, Management Development Programmes and Human Resources support. Ruth has also worked extensively with people exposed to traumatic events. In the financial services industry, she supported teams involved in armed robberies and developed a national anticipatory anxiety programme to boost team resilience in the event of a robbery. As a clinician, she worked in the Ministry Defence’s Department of Clinical Psychology, assessing and treating military personnel with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Prior to joining the team, Ruth was a researcher at the University of Leeds. In the School of Psychology, she managed a large cluster randomised controlled trial testing a complex intervention to reduce smoking initiation in adolescents, and helped evaluate mechanisms of change resulting from a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme for staff. In the Psychological Therapies Research Centre, where she worked on a national survey of counsellors working in primary care.  She  lectures on the School of Psychology’s undergraduate and post-graduate programmes at the University of Leeds.  

Cathy Hulin
Cathy provides administration support for the EBT Theme within CLAHRC YH. Cathy is based at the Bradford Institute for Health Research, and her role is to administrate and co-ordinate specific research projects and programmes within the quality and patient safety research programme.

Dr Laura Sheard
Laura is a Principle Research Fellow within the Evidence-based Transformations in the NHS Theme. By background, Laura is a sociologist and a health services researcher, with extensive expertise in qualitative research. She undertook her doctoral research at the University of Leeds and was awarded her PhD (sociology) in 2010. Her PhD explored how women use public spaces and their safety fears.  Over the past two years Laura has worked on a large randomised controlled trial of the PRASE (Patient Reporting & Action for a Safe Environment) patient safety intervention. This trial was conducted across three NHS Trusts within the region, with 33 wards participating. Laura spent the first six years of her career conducting research for the NHS, with injecting drug users and prisoners. This entailed both in depth qualitative research and several randomised controlled trials comparing opiate detoxification agents. She co-ordinated the only clinical trial of a medicinal product in the UK prison estate in the past decade.  More recently, she has worked on two qualitative health research projects at the University of York concerning: i) how doctors make decisions about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer associated thrombosis ii) the patient experience of living with an open surgical wound.  In her spare time, Laura is Project Manager & Trustee for Friends of Bramley Baths.

Dr Lesley Dewhurst
Lesley has a BSc in Psychology, an MA in Health research, and a PhD awarded from the University of Bradford where she explored the experience of children and families with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to identify barriers and enablers to behaviour management. A nurse practitioner by profession, Lesley’s interest in healthcare delivery led to a career in academia as a senior lecturer. She has attracted funding from Marie Curie 7th FWP, NHS SHA, European Commission, ENB, and HEFCE, from which she has conducted research into the effectiveness of education meeting clinical practice needs, team working, innovation in clinical practice, patient experience of healthcare, and variation in policy and practice. Lesley joined the Institute for Health Research in Bradford as a senior research fellow as is a member of the quality and safety team. Lesley is currently working on the following collaborative projects; positive deviance, the patient’s experience of quality and safety in health care, and evidence based transformation with the NHS.

Professor Robbie Foy
Robbie is Professor of Primary Care at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences and a General Practitioner in inner-city Leeds.  His field of work, implementation research, aims to inform policy decisions about how best to use resources to improve the uptake of research findings by evaluating approaches to change professional and organisational behaviour.  He was formerly a Clinical Senior Lecturer (Newcastle University) and an MRC Training Fellow in health services research (Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen). He also trained as a public health physician. He was a 2006–7 Harkness/Health Foundation Fellow in Health Care Policy, based jointly between the Veteran’s Administration and RAND in Los Angeles. Robbie is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the open access journal, Implementation Science, and a member of the NICE Implementation Strategy Group. 

Dr Katja Grasic
Katja Grasic is a Research Fellow in the Health Policy Team at the Centre for Health Economics, University of York. She joined the team in October 2012. Katja holds a diploma [MSc] in Mathemathics from University of Ljubljana and has previously worked in Slovenia on several projects in the areas of care pathways and investigation of anomalies in the reported DRG data. Katja’s role in the EBT Theme is to co-ordinate the health economics input for the research examining positive deviance for patient safety.