The Health-e-Hearts programme will be co-designed with diverse group of cardiovascular disease experts, software developers and families to develop an eHealth intervention to be completed by families together to reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Online focus groups involving families will be carried out to receive in-depth data on what families are currently doing to look after their health, and what they would like to see/do in the eHealth prevention programme. Additionally, a systematic review will be conducted and used to determine successful components of previous eHealth family-based interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
My project is funded by DfE.
What is your ideal Research outcome?
The ideal research outcome from this PhD study will be to successfully develop an eHealth family-based cardiovascular risk reduction programme, that can go on to be piloted and randomised controlled trial tested in a post-doctorate study. The overall aim of this research is to have developed a feasible, efficient, and evaluated cardiovascular disease risk reduction programme that can be implemented as a primary prevention practice.
Professor David R Thompson, Dr Chris J Watson, Dr Karen McGuigan, Professor Chantal F Ski
Why did you choose this PhD and why at Queen’s?
I chose this PhD study as it was very similar to be BSc interests of human nutrition and health promotion. Additionally, my supervisors Professor David Thompson and Professor Chantal Ski are world-renowned researchers in cardiovascular disease, and had recently moved to Queen’s, so I thought the combination of an interesting PhD topic, highly-recognised supervisors and the positive reputation of Queen’s were a winning trio.
I am from Northern Ireland, were I previously studied a BSc in Human Nutrition with a Diploma in Professional Practice from Ulster University.
How have you been supported at Queen’s?
Queen’s provides a vast number of training opportunities, whether it is school specific or through the Graduate School. Additionally, there are always upcoming conferences, seminars, funding opportunities and webinars circulating from the staff throughout Queen’s, so you are kept as up to date as possible.
In what ways have you developed at Queen’s?
Especially due to the pandemic, I have become more confident in reaching out to others whether it’s for professional or personal help. I have also developed my resilience and ability to adapt throughout my PhD journey so far, thanks to the training, staff, my supervisors, and fellow PhD students here at Queen’s through their support and guidance. Despite being only halfway through my PhD, I feel I am already a better researcher and hope to continue to develop and progress further.
Can you describe the postgraduate community in the School and at Queen’s?
The postgraduate community has been extremely supportive throughout my time at Queen’s, particularly my fellow PhD students. Having others in the same position as myself throughout my PhD journey has definitely made things a lot easier.
Additionally, in the time that I have spent at Queen’s, I have found the staff and the Graduate School have been very supportive and helpful. No one wants to see you struggle, and most people will go out of their way to give you help.
Where do you hope your PhD will lead?
I hope that from my PhD, I will successfully gain a post-doctorate grant so I can evaluate my PhD study as a pilot study and soon after a randomised controlled trial. I hope from here, I will be able to make a name for myself throughout Queen’s and hopefully throughout the public health agency and the health service as a researcher determined to make a difference to family health (both parents and adolescents/children) and go on to implement a primary prevention service to reduce the burden of non-communicable disease treatment and management in our health service.
Anything else you would like to add or advice to new PGR students?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone to ask for help or just to chat through your thoughts, because chances are someone else has already gone through, is going through or has had the same thoughts as you!
Also, don’t take feedback or rejection personally!!