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Equity, Health and Wellbeing

This research area covers important contemporary aspects of health and wellbeing, with particular focus on inequalities in health and issues affecting work and the working age population. We specialise in applying and evaluating evidence-based health practice and the design, development and evaluation of contemporary health interventions. Our research spans specific health issues (e.g. chronic illness, behaviour change, physical activity, alcohol misuse) within specific settings (particularly workplaces, schools or communities) using a range of intervention and evaluation methods (e.g. making use of digital/technology). This is an interdisciplinary group, with biopsychosocial expertise, including public health scientists, physiotherapists, exercise and health scientists, psychologists and sociologists.

Work and health

Within this theme we are focusing on the inter-relationship between work, health and wellbeing including: the study of people moving in and out of paid employment; the importance of technologies at work; management of health at work; and the development of a broad public health response to promoting health and wellbeing in the workforce.


This theme investigates inequalities in health and access to services across a range of issues including alcohol use and behaviours such as uptake of health checks.

Health and wellbeing across the life course

Researching across the life-course, we have expertise in research in children’s health through to working with older ages, for example health and wellbeing in retirement.

Digital health

Work in this theme includes the design and evaluation of digital applications (apps) for tracking of health and behaviour, and evaluation of the use of social media for health information and support.

Communities in Charge of Alcohol (CICA) Programme: Evaluation of an alcohol health champions programme in Greater Manchester

The Communities In Charge of Alcohol programme is run by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and will be led by community volunteers called ‘Community Alcohol Champions’. These champions will be trained to help family, friends and colleagues to rethink their drinking habits. The NIHR-funded evaluation is led by the University of Salford (School of Health Sciences and School of Health and Society) in partnership with the University of Bristol, the University of York and Public Health England. The aim of the evaluation is to assess the impact of the scheme on the levels of alcohol harm. Lead: Penny Cook with Margaret Coffey and Liz Burns.

The WOMMeN (Word of Mouth Mammogram e Network) The development and evaluation of an on-line hub for women in the UK breast screening population. Social Media is the key mechanism through which information and support is provided on the hub. Within WOMMeN there are a number of smaller projects:

  • Evaluation of the development of the WOMMeN hub using a closed Facebook group of 100 women users as designers
  • Evaluation of the hub, using face to face user experience methods, eye tracking and focus groups and on-line evaluation of user behaviours and opinions using survey and click through metrics
  • Exploration of practitioner attitudes towards engaging with clients on-line (project funded by the College of Radiographers Industry Partnership Scheme)

Lead: Leslie Robinson with team: Adam Galpin, Joanne Meredith, Claire Mercer, Marie Griffiths, Alex Fenton and Julie Wray. Clinical practitioner colleagues: Julie Stein Hodgins, Shaheeda Shaikh, Cathy Hill, Bev Scragg and Geraldine Shires.

Green Infrastructure to Promote Health and Wellbeing in an Aging Population (GHIA)

NERC/AHRC/ESRC funded project under the 'Valuing Nature Programme' to better understand the benefits and values of urban green infrastructure for older people and how green infrastructure and specific 'greening projects' can be best used to support healthy ageing in urban areas. The project is a collaboration between the University of Manchester, the University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan Universities, led by Sarah Lindley (Manchester University). Further details can be found on the GHIA project page of the NERC website. Salford team: Penny Cook and Philip James

Women and practitioner views on Breast Arterial Calcification reporting in Screening Mammography

Over 70% of women between 47-73 yrs in the UK attend breast cancer screening mammography. Mammography is a technique which involves X-ray of the breasts to detect cancer. An incidental finding on some women’s images includes calcified arteries which are able to provide an indication of cardiovascular health. This information is not currently routinely reported. This research project aims to understand the views of women and practitioners on breast arterial calcification reporting as part of breast cancer screening mammography. Lead: Lucy Walton


Occubuzz is a free app that is based on the principles of occupational science and is entirely evidence based.  The app comprises a short self-assessment quiz that helps the user identify their current work and home life balance. Please see Occubuzz: Leads: Angela Hook and Sarah Bodell.

National survey of Emotional Intelligence in Occupational Therapists

Currently conducting the first national longitudinal study (2014–2017) which measures EI in occupational therapy students and the impact of studying the occupational Therapy BSc(Hons) has upon EI development. Lead: Jacqui Mckenna with Ashley Weinberg

Service User Engagement in Occupational Therapy

Service user perceptions around what makes a good OT and what practitioner knowledge, skills and attitudes are essential to support effective engagement. Lead: Jacqui Mckenna with Ashley Weinberg

Evaluation of an Active Tameside Exercise Referral Scheme

A 3-year evaluation of the Live Active Exercise Referral Scheme using the Standard Evaluation Framework for Physical Activity began in June 2015.  Live Active is a newly developed programme delivered by Active Tameside (funded by a Sport England Grant).  It is designed to provide strong and sustainable pathways into activity for Tameside residents who are inactive and have a chronic health condition.  Lead: Margaret Coffey with Penny Cook and Paul Wilson.

Neglect in children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Working with the National Clinic for FASD ( to investigate the impact of neglect in early infancy in the cognitive functioning of children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Lead Penny Cook with Sarah Norgate

Digitising Children’s Data Collection for Health Project (2016)

Development of applications: the ‘Supporting Server Application’ manages and stores data flowing to and from the ‘Tablet Application’, which allows flexible data collection with primary school children. Lead: Anna Cooper

Beth Johnson Foundation – Evaluation of two advocacy services (2015)

Two advocacy projects – for older people affected by dementia and older people affected by cancer are being qualitatively evaluated.  The aims of this evaluation are to produce a model and supporting resources to enable the development of further projects relating to issues affecting older people. Lead: Ziv Amir.

NHS Health Checks (2014)

Using the monitoring of NHS Health Checks delivery to improve quality and outcomes for patients; Vascular Health Checks in Salford (an exploration using FARSITE data). Lead: Margaret Coffey. Team: Tamara Brown, Anna Cooper, Alex Clarke-Cornwell and Penny Cook

Working With Cancer Service - Durham County Council (2014)

The aims of this evaluation were to provide information about the impact of the ‘Working with Cancer Service’ on its users: people affected by cancer, their carers and employers, and other professionals and volunteers.  Key findings were that the majority of participants in this evaluation project identified the need for a service of this kind and the quality of the provision.  Lead: Ziv Amir other staff: Tamara Brown.

Supporting claimants’ health: A role for the Personal Adviser? (2014)

This study was funded by the Health Inequalities Theme within the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for South Yorkshire (NIHR CLAHRC SY).   It centred on the way in which welfare claimants’ health-related needs have been understood and addressed within the new welfare-to-work landscape. Lead: Jenny Ceolta-Smith.

Best Practice in Promoting Employee Health and Wellbeing in the City of London (2013-2014)

Investigation of best practice in supporting the health needs of City workers, focusing on large financial and professional services companies. Main findings: Health promotion/wellness multi-component programmes appear to be the most effective in improving employees’ health. Lead: Lindsey Dugdill/Margaret Coffey

Telehealth (2013)

A systematic overview of the literature into the effects on clinical outcomes, cost effectiveness and the patient experience. Lead: Alison Brettle with Tamara Brown

Mental Health Needs Assessment (2012)

Mental Health Needs Assessment – (Department of Health) A project working with 5 Mental Health Trusts in the North of England to improve mental wellbeing in NHS staff through primary and secondary level interventions, identified through the development and delivery of a mental health needs assessment.  Lead:  Lindsey Dugdill/Margaret Coffey

Information and advice to reduce sickness absence in physiotherapy practice (2011-2012)

Evidence-based information and advice to reduce sickness absence: a feasibility study for a clinical trial in a physiotherapy practice. Lead: Chris Parker

Working Well (2010-2013) 

Interventions to address staff sickness absence due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) within NHS Salford. Impacts: an improvement in staff psychological well-being, satisfaction with work, and identified functional limitations; individual sickness absence records showed a significant decrease; costs were reduced by 26% (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Research in Practice award winner). Lead: Christine Parker; other staff: Tamara Brown

NICE Physical Activity Evidence review (2006-2008)

A review of the evidence regarding workplace physical activity interventions for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Impacts: used to inform the development of national guidelines on physical activity in the workplace (NICE, 2009); used across Canada to inform public health practitioners and the general public about the benefits of physical activity for working populations. Lead: Lindsey Dugdill

Edge CE, Cooper AM, Coffey M 2017, Barriers and facilitators to extended working lives in Europe: a gender focus, Public Health Reviews, 38(2).

Clarke-Cornwell A, Farragher T, Cook P, Granat, M (2016) Empirically derived cut-points for sedentary behaviour: are we sitting differently? Physiological Measurement, 37(10): 1669-1685

Mckenna. J. (2016)  Psychosocial Support, Engagement and The Therapeutic Relationship Book chapter  in Press. In Curtain.M and Adams.J. Eds (2016)   full title to be confirmed.

Loyen A, Clarke-Cornwell AM, Anderssen SA, et al. (2016) Sedentary Time and Physical Activity Surveillance Through Accelerometer Pooling in Four European Countries Sports Med doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0658-y

Ceolta‐Smith, J., Salway, S., & Tod, A. M. (2015). A Review of Health‐related Support Provision within the UK Work Programme–What's on the Menu? Social Policy & Administration, 49(2), 254-276.

Cook, PA & Morleo, M & Billington, D & Sanderson-Shortt, K & Jones, C & Gabbay, M & Sheron, N & Bellis, M & Phillips-Howard, P & Gilmore, I (2015) 'Evaluation of work-based screening for early signs of alcohol-related liver disease in hazardous and harmful drinkers: the PrevAIL study', BMC Public Health, 15(352).

Cooper AM and Clarke-Cornwell A (2015)  The built environment, active design and public health the impact of office design on activity, in Conde J and Cooper M (Eds)  Dialogues of sustainable urbanisation: Social science research and transitions to urban contexts. University of Western Sydney, Australia.

Collins, T. (2014). Managing widowhood in later life: the challenges encountered. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 21, 2, 69 –76.

Cooper AM, Coffey, M, Dugdill L. (2014). Challenges in designing, conducting and reporting behavioural intervention studies in primary age child oral health - methodological issues. Pragmatic and Observational Research, Vol 2014:5, pp. 43—51.

Hook, A & Bodell, S & Penman, M & Hamilton, A & Burwash, S & Jacobs, K (2014), Online Technology for Occupational Therapy: Blazing a new highway for the way we are ALL going to travel in the new era, World Federation of Occupational Therapists Bulletin, 69, pp.24-26.

O’Brien, K S Ferris, J, Greenlees, I, Jowett, S, Rhind, D, Cook, PA & Kypri, K (2014), Alcohol industry sponsorship and hazardous drinking in UK university students who play sport, Addiction, 109(10), pp.1647-1654.

Collins, T. (2013) Remembering the past, looking to the future: Christmas as a symbol of change in later life widowhood. Ageing and Society, Available on CJO 2013 doi: 10.1017/S0144686X13000329

Cooper AM, O'Malley LA, Elison SN, Armstrong R, Burnside G, Adair P, Dugdill L, Pine C. (2013) Primary school-based behavioural interventions for preventing caries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD009378. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009378.pub2

McKenna J and Mellson .J (2013) Emotional intelligence and the occupational therapist. British Journal Of Occupational  Therapy. Vol 76(9) –p 427-430.

Regan, P & Ball, E (2013), Breastfeeding Mothers Experiences: The Ghost in the Machine, Qualitative Health Research, 23(5), pp.679-688.

Bodell, S & Levins, K (2012), Virtual team working and collaboration in occupational therapy: A paradox, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(12), pp.574-576.

Amir Z,  Wilson K, Hennigs J, Young Alys, (2011), The meaning of cancer: implications for family finances and consequent impact on lifestyle, activities and relations, Psycho-Oncology, DOI:10.1002/pon.2021

Bains M, Yarker J, Amir Z, Wynn P, Munir F, (2011), Helping cancer survivors return to work: what providers tell us about challenges in assisting cancer patients with work questions, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation (22), 71-77

Bodell, S & Hook, A (2011) Using Facebook for professional networking: a modern day essential. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(12), pp.588-590.

Amir Z, Wynn P, Fong C, Strauser D, Whitaker S, Luker K, (2010), Return to work after cancer in the UK: Attitudes and experiences of line managers, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, (20), 435-442

Dugdill, L., Brettle, A., Hulme, C., McCluskey, S. and Long, A.F. (2008). Workplace Physical Activity Interventions: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 1;20-40

Interested in doing a PhD?

Contact: Penny Cook Within your email, please either send us a project proposal, or include a brief idea of the areas you are interested in.

We do not currently have funded PhD positions, but will update this page when opportunities for funded places are available.

Workplace health theme

Which interventions can effectively reduce the onset and/or prevalence of certain conditions in employees (mental ill health, dementia, obesity, diabetes, arthritis etc.)?

How can we assess the organisational factors that contribute to health and wellbeing?

How does moving in and out of work (redundancy) impact on health and ill health of employees, and how can we build resilience in workers to counteract the effects?

Other areas of interest include:

  • The impact of long term conditions on employment
  • Psychology and politics
  • Psychological health at work
  • Organisational interventions to improve well-being at work
  • Emotional intelligence

Digital health theme

WOMMeN hub

There are opportunities for a PhD student to evaluate the final WOMMeN hub. There are a number of complementary research approaches that could be taken in this work. For example, the work could be positioned within the digital health/media design discipline providing insight into the less well explored contexts of health screening and intimate health. Research questions relating to the most appropriate design and marketing features to attract this specific audience could be explored. The context also provides interesting opportunities for interactional analysts to explore how practitioners and health professionals interact in a virtual space, investigating concepts of power, discourse and client choice in an on-line environment.

An integrated approach to public health interventions in children of primary school age

This research is related to the development and evaluation of an integrated public health intervention.  The intervention will target primary school children in the NW of England; exploring the use/impact of digital technology for data capture and delivery.  Schools have limited resources including time for delivery of health interventions/education however much of a child’s formative years are spent in the school environment. Currently school public health messages are generally delivered as individual topic-based issues rather than as integrated, multi-disciplinary programmes. This can cause problems for teachers as they then have to prioritise what they choose to focus on rather than looking at health behaviours as a whole. Place and setting also influence the outcomes and design of interventions. Schools, home, primary care and community are the most influential settings for primary aged children however few interventions ever attempt to join all these areas together across the trajectory of a child’s daily life and the behavioural decisions taken during habitual daily routines.

Advances in technology provide opportunities to try and develop a joined-up method for delivering health messages, which help with tailoring programmes as well as being used in the collection of data across a variety of settings and time points. A generic application for Android to capture data from primary school children has already been developed by the supervisory team, as part of this proposal the use of the application over traditional methods can be explored. This work will focus on the design, development and evaluation of a pilot behaviour-change intervention using digital data collection tools building on an existing digital data collection App.

Health and Wellbeing across the lifecourse and inequalities themes

There are opportunities PhD projects that link access to and use of greenspace with health and wellbeing.

We welcome applications from potential PhD students on interventions to reduce alcohol harm or interventions to improve sexual health.

Ateyah, Maha
(Ashley Weinberg)

Bragg, Joanna
Interventions to Reduce Alcohol Harm: The effectiveness of a school-based intervention to reduce alcohol consumption in young adolescents by addressing self-esteem (Penny Cook, Margaret Coffey and Linda Dubrow-Marshall)

Clarke-Cornwell, Alexandra
Sedentary behaviour, work and health-related outcomes: analysis from the Health Survey for England (Penny Cook and Malcolm Granat)

Edge, Clare
Ageing, health and retirement choices in a diverse workforce: Case study of a large private retail sector organisation (Margaret Coffey and Penny Cook)

Gbadamos, Abolanle
Domain-specific sedentary behaviour among the working population (Malcolm Granat and Alex Clarke-Cornwell)

Obeng, John
Spatial inequality in the utilisation of the free maternal delivery policy in Ghana (Penny Cook, Fiona Phipps MacVane and Jeanne Lythgoe)

Higgins, Leyonie
Predictors of resilience among nursing students

Price, Alan
The impact of neglect in early infancy in the cognitive functioning of children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (Penny Cook and Sarah Norgate)

Prior, Faye
Evaluation of an Active Tameside Exercise Referral Scheme (Margaret Coffey, Penny Cook and Anna Robins)

Sampson, Dana
Perception is Reality: Understanding the Influence of Environmental Views on Physical Activity Among Washington, D.C. Women (Penny Cook and Joanne Meredith)

Ure, Cathy
Exploring the role of social media in supporting the psychosocial health of women living with and beyond breast cancer: A mixed methods study (Adam Galpin and Anna Cooper)

Professor Penny A. Cook

Equity, Health and Wellbeing Reseach Group Lead

The team

Prof Ziv Amir

Ms Elaine Ball

Ms Sarah Bodell

Occupational Therapy

Miss Tamara Brown

Workplace Health

Dr Jenny Ceolta-Smith

Miss Alexandra Clarke-Cornwell

Public Health

Dr Margaret Coffey

Public Health

Dr Tracy Collins

Occupational Therapy

Prof Penny Cook

Public Health

Dr Anna Cooper

Public Health

Dr Gillian Crofts

Dr Peter Eachus

Prof Alison Hammond


Dr Farina Hashmi

Podiatric Dermatology

Ms Angela Hook

Health and wellbeing, Occupational Therapy

Ms Rachel Martin

Ms Helen Matthews

Mrs Jacqueline Mckenna

Occupational therapy, service user engagement and emotional intelligence

Ms Paula Ormandy

Ms Christine Parker

Ms Kate Parkinson

Ms Ailsa Shaw Parsons

Dr Leslie Robinson


Dr Lucy Walton

Ms Anita Watson

Dr Ashley Weinberg

Dr Paul Wilson