Dr Cristina Vasilica

School of Health & Society

Photo of Dr Cristina Vasilica

Current positions



Cristina is a Reader in Digital Health, and Head of Digital Engagement, the School of Health & Society, UoS. In addition, she co-leads the Digital Health and Medical Imaging.

She worked in the industry in digital business development before joining Academia. Cristina has a sustained record of high impact research, for which she received prestigious awards.

Her work is organised into intertwined workstreams – digital engagement, digital methods, and digital divide/literacy - spanning across disciplines to make more effective use of resources, strengthen impact and long-term sustainability in digital health.
The digital engagement workstream involves use and non use of platforms, and how to optimise digital tools to trigger long-term engagement. The model used builds on positive social capital and its values (trust, relationships, bonds) as mechanisms to stimulate engagement through online communities and engages people in spaces they inhabit.
Relevant projects include implementing, evaluating, and expanding the Kidney Information Network, an online community for renal patients, for which she received an innovation award (2015) and the Big Chip Digital Awards (2018).

Cristina is part of the Salford Digital Methods Initiative seeking new ways of informing information and service provision through accessing, generating, and analyzing new kinds of data on the social world. She has used digital methods to scrape and analyse data from social media platforms to understand patients information needs. Cristina also co-chaired the inaugural International Netnography Conference #NETNOCON23.

Through her work, digital literacies and exploration of digital capabilities and novel pedagogical approaches to enhance uptake of digital technology and improve practice emerged as an area of interest.
She created the University of Salford Digital Skills Passport (‘DiSK Pass’), one of a few initiatives in the country aiming to equip healthcare students with digital capabilities for digital care. Or, developing sustainable routes into the digital sector, for people managing a long-term condition facing significant barriers in re-joining the labour market (CKD-DiSk).

Cristina has developed a local and national reputation for the ability to use digital tools to innovate services, for which she has won VC’s Research Excellence Awards 2013 and Entrepreneur of the Year, Established Excellence” Award 2023.

Areas of Research

Digital engagement, social capital, online networks, digital readiness, digital capabilities, novel research methods, behaviour change, digital innovation


Cristina has a strong leadership in digital literacy and education, responding to current strategy, policy, and evidence. This is corroborated through leading the integration of the Digital Skills Passport within the nursing curricula, and exploring transfer of knowledge into NHS workforce development through enterprise activities. She has a sustained commitment to research informed teaching and evaluation of teaching activities and learning science to improve teaching practices.

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Academic Practice,

    2014 - 2015
  • The impact of social media on patient information provision, networking and communication

    2011 - 2015
  • BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology with Industrial Placement

    2006 - 2009