Manchester Centre for Health Psychology

Studying the psychological and behavioural processes involved in health, illness and healthcare


We are one of the largest international centres of researchers, educators and practitioners working in the field of health psychology.

We aim to:

  • Conduct world-leading health psychology research,
  • Deliver high quality training, building future generations of psychologists and equipping health professionals to work in psychologically-informed ways,
  • Make a difference to communities and society,
  • Create a healthy, diverse and equitable working environment, within which staff can be ambitious and flourish.

The centre is jointly led by Professor Sarah Peters and Dr Fiona Ulph.

To get in touch –


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Our research

We seek to understand the experiences and psychological processes of preventing, identifying and managing health problems.

Our research crosses the lifespan; from perinatal care, newborn screening and child development, through adolescence and adulthood, to older adults and end-of-life care.

We work collaboratively within multidisciplinary teams in a wide range of community and healthcare settings. We investigate factors that impact access to, and quality of, interactions with health professionals from diverse populations. We discover ways to equip clinicians to work more psychologically.

Our team contributes to multiple workstreams of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, including Rare Conditions, Hearing Health, Mental Health, Cancer Prevention, and Musculoskeletal Diseases

Methodological expertise

Qualitative data and analysis

We lead on innovations in qualitative methods, such as nesting qualitative approaches within clinical trials and using qualitative methods to work with non-verbal populations and young children.

Our staff have developed new analysis approaches, such as Template Analysis.

We lead on the behaviour science and qualitative methods work of the NIHR Greater Manchester Research Design Service.

Synthesising evidence

We are expert in conducting and developing new methods in systematic reviews.

Innovative approaches include crowd-resourced rapid review techniques. We led on the rapid review for the British Psychological Society’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Our members created a search strategy tool, SPIDER.

Trial design and intervention development

We develop and investigate complex interventions.

We lead on methods to understand the impact of taking part in research, for example on effects of measurement on behavioural and affective outcomes

Questionnaire and survey design

We have developed multiple tools and measures to investigate psychological phenomenon such as quality of life and to assess the impact of interventions.


Our teaching

We teach psychology, behaviour sciences and research methods at all levels, in healthcare and educational settings across the UK and worldwide.

Psychology Training

At the University of Manchester, we design and deliver psychology teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Courses include:

Other training

We are home to the Manchester Health Psychology Practice Skills Group – providing professional training and support for practising health psychologists and Stage 2 trainees.   

We teach behavioural & social science and communication skills to trainee health professionals, such as doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and midwives.

We translate behaviour science to create tailored training for health professions working within the NHS, and globally in low and middle-income countries.

We provide training in research methodologies for novice and advanced researchers.

Want to find out more about training opportunities for yourself or your workforce? Contact us

Interested in becoming a health psychologist? Find out more about a career in health psychology.

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Our team

Meet the researchers and educators working in the Centre.


Sarah Peters

Professor of Health Psychology

Sarah studies healthcare communication, particularly within challenging contexts, such as medically unexplained symptoms, health behaviour change, and mental health problems. A key aspect of her research is equipping health professionals to communicate more effectively with patients, relatives and colleagues.

Read about Sarah’s work in Research Explorer.

Fiona Ulph

Reader in Qualitative Methods

Fiona’s research focuses on children’s roles in health care, professional-parent-child communication; and advances in genetics and screening. She is a senior qualitative advisor for the UK NIHR North West Research Design Service.

Read about Fiona’s work in Research Explorer.

Academic staff

Professor Chris Armitage, Behaviour change intervention and theory 

Professor Belinda Borrelli, Digital behaviour change interventions, Smoking 

Professor Audrey Bowen, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, Stroke

Professor Peter Bower, Primary care, Long term conditions, Mental health

Professor Lucie Byrne-Davis, Health Professional Education, Workforce

Professor Dawn Edge, Mental Health and Inclusivity

Professor David French, Prevention, screening, behaviour change 

Professor Joanne Hart, Health Professional Education, Communication

Professor Sarah Peters, Clinical communication, qualitative methods

Professor Chris Todd, Nursing, older adults

Dr Sarah Cotterill, Biostatistics, public health, health behaviours

Dr Fiona Ulph, Rare diseases, Genomics, Children, Qualitative Methods

Dr Joanna Brooks, Chronic health, Palliative care, Qualitative methods

Dr Laura Brown, Psychological functioning in later life

Dr Tracy Epton, Behaviour change, Systematic reviews, Inclusive research

Dr Rachael Powell, Psychological preparedness for medical procedures

Dr Debbie Smith, Pregnancy and women’s health

Dr Susan Speer, Conversation analysis, clinical communication

Dr Kiera Bartlett, Digital health, Self-management, Smoking

Dr Nia Coupe, Behaviour change, Public health, Healthcare workforce

Dr Graeme Donald, Nursing, mindfulness, long term conditions

Dr Daniela Ghio, Pain, long term conditions, Children and young people

Dr Anna Hood, Pain, Children and young people, Anti-racism in research

Dr Georgios Kitsaras, Behavioural Science in dentistry

Dr Jacqueline Lavallee, Behaviour Science in medical education

Dr Penny Lewis, Patient safety, Pharmacy 

Dr Stephanie Lyons, Breastfeeding, Qualitative methods

Dr Lucy O’Malley, Oral health, Evidence synthesis

Dr Christine Rowland, Quality of life and palliative care

Dr Sarah Shepherd, Communication skills in medical education

Emeritus Professor Gunn Grande, Cancer, Palliative care, Nursing

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Skevington, Quality of life

Emeritus Professor Alison Wearden, Fatigue, Relatives and Partners

Dr Lis Cordingley, Inflammatory conditions, Health Professional Education

Dr Kimberly Dienes, Stress, COVID-19

Research staff

Dr Jack Benton, ISSF Pump Priming Fellow

Dr Madeline Benton, Honorary Research Associate

Joanna Beaumont, Research Assistant

Dr Kelly Birtwell, Research Fellow

Dr Eleanor Bull, Honorary Senior Lecturer (Teaching)

Dr Sudeh Cheraghi-sohi, Research Fellow

Dr Sinha De Silva, Research Associate

Dr Robyn Dowlen, Research and Teaching Associate

Dr Joanna Goldthorpe, Honorary Research Fellow

Dr Rebecca Goulding, Research Associate

Rhiannon Hawkes, Research Associate

Rachel Hawkins

Dr Sarah Hindmarch, Research Associate

Lucy Hulme, Graduate teaching assistant

Dr Arbaz Kapadi, Research Associate

Dr Chris Keyworth, Honorary Research Fellow

Dr Kathy Leadbitter, Research Fellow

Dr Jessica Leather, Research Associate

Dr Rebecca Lee, Research Fellow

Dr Hannah Long, Research Associate

Dr Michael Loughran, Research Associate

Rabiya Majeed, Research Associate

Lauren Martin, Graduate teaching assistant

Dr Lorna McWilliams, Research Fellow

Chloe Musa, Research Assistant

Dr Pauline Nelson, Research Fellow

Dr Emma Patchwood, Research Fellow

Dr Katherine Perryman, Research Fellow

Grant Punnett, Research assistant, Christie NHS Trust

Amber Ruigrok

Dr Sara Simao, Research Associate

Dr Lauren Templeman, Research Development Manager

Amy Waghorne, Research Assistant

Doctoral researchers

Abigail Fletcher

Alexandra Gillyon

Beth Callander

Bethany Harcourt

Charlotte Sharp

Dalil Alshammari

Danielle Mountain

Dominic Gately

Emma Hooper

Faye Johnson

Fozia Hayat

Gamze Kaplan

Gill Lever

Hannah Foote

Hannah Talbot

Helen Morley

Jack Hamer

Jennifer Peterson

Jessica Leather

Karabo Sibasa

Kerry Hozhabrafkan

Lauren Lucas

Lauren Martin

Lucy Hulme

Mariangels Ferrer-Duch

Mitanshi Dhanwani

Natalie Carr

Philip Greene

Qianyu He

Qinyi Zhong

Rhiannon Hawkes

Rina Rahmatika Husni

Safiyya Mank

Sarah Muirhead

Sarah Plant

Sophie Griffiths

Stephanie Mace

Sanaa Hyder

Tarnjit Sehmbi

Victoria Woof

Zoyah Sheikh

Interested in joining our thriving community of PhD and Professional Doctorate Trainees? Find out about opportunities here

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Current projects

Our research is supported by external funding, including grants from NIHR, MRC, ESRC, and Versus Arthritis.

We have strong collaborations with many NHS Trusts, Health Education England and government organisations such as Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, and UK Health Security Agency. We also work with a wide range of charitable, educational, and other third sector organisations nationally and globally.

See below for examples of some current projects:


The Versus Arthritis-funded CHAMP study investigates how healthcare professionals assess and communicate pain in paediatric and adolescent rheumatology settings. We are developing and testing a new intervention to improve these conversations.

The Polar Bear Study

The Polar Bear Study is an NIHR-funded collaboration of psychologists and dental practitioners. It aims to:

  • Help dental practitioners have more useful conversations with families about making tooth-kind behaviours.
  • Develop a dental workforce that are trained to use behavioural science confidently in their practice to help patients develop good oral health habits.
  • Reduce the number of children in the UK needing to have teeth extracted under general anaesthetic

Funded by the ESRC, RARE aims to stimulate and capture public conversation related to one of the biggest changes in how we think about health: what does it mean to have a rare condition and how may we all become ‘RARE’ when genomics becomes part of mainstream healthcare?

We are focusing on the psychological, ethical and economic debates, and in turn how social science is helping to shape future healthcare.

The main thread of RARE is a series of publicly accessible conversations (initially a podcast), which explores the concept of RARE, its current impact, and how we can alter that impact.

To learn more and listen to the podcasts, please visit the project website.

Quality of Life Study

This project explores what quality of life is like during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides many resources to help you to improve your quality of life.

Outputs include resources for optimising physical and psychological health, social relationships, environment and spiritual, religious and personal beliefs.


Social responsibility

We are a key contributor to The University of Manchester’s social responsibility agenda. We work to ensure our research and teaching activities make a difference to communities and society.

Examples of current initiatives:

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Research Unit

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Research Unit is a collaboration between Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester.

Led by Professor Dawn Edge, it promotes and conducts innovative research to improve the health of minoritised groups and people with protected characteristics.

Psychology Education and Wellbeing in Schools (PEWS)

This award winning project introduces Year 6 pupils to psychology and life at The University of Manchester. It is run by Dr Debbie Smith and Dr Elizabeth McManus

The Change Exchange

This project is a collaboration of health psychology professionals who aim to understand, drive and evaluate behaviour change within health partnerships between high and middle or low-income countries.

It is run by Professor Lucie Byrne-Davis, Professor Jo Hart and Dr Eleanor Bull.


Contact us

If you would like to know more about our work, please get in touch.


Twitter: @ManHealthPsych