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Prestigious Professor comes to Stirling

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THE University of Stirling has won a Prestigious Carnegie Centenary Professorship to bring internationally renowned clinical health psychologist Professor James C Coyne to Scotland from the USA

Professor Coyne is the author of more than 350 publications and has been recognised by the Institute for Scientific Information Web of Science as one of the most published and highly cited psychologists in the world. Papers from his dissertation study of how depressed persons are depressing to people around them make it among the 10 most cited dissertations in psychology in the past 50 years. An article he published which criticised "mother bashing" in academic literature concerning the effects of maternal depression on children has also been cited over 1000 times.

Professor Coyne will be based within the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP-RU) in Stirling's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health (NMH), one of the UK’s leading research schools with an international reputation in a number of fields including cancer care, mental health, maternal and child health, public health, self-care and educational research.

In welcoming the Professorship, Head of the School, Professor William Lauder, said: “Professor Coyne’s research concerning difficulties addressing depression during the perinatal period is particularly relevant to Stirling’s distinctive midwifery and maternal health research programme. His expertise will particularly benefit the mental health, cancer care and midwifery research groups, in both the Schools of NMH and within Psychology.”

The University of Stirling has a strong reputation in mental health research with international collaborations established through the European Alliance Against Depression ( ), and other EU funded programmes on suicide prevention ( ) and online self-help for depression ( Professor Maxwell (Deputy Director of the NMAHP-RU) and Professor Coyne already work together in evaluating multi-national and multi-level mental health interventions and the Carnegie Centenary professorship will further consolidate this work and add  to the portfolio of projects related to the Scottish Primary Care Mental Health Research and Development Programme led by Professor Margaret Maxwell.

Professor Coyne is currently collaborating with Unit staff in a new workstream being developed within the NMAHP Research Unit related to the mental health and well-being of cancer survivors led by Dr Fiona Harris. His visit will lend considerable expertise in psycho-oncology to both this body of work as well as workstreams on cancer and behaviour change led by the newly appointed Professor Mary Wells.

Commenting on the benefits of the visit, Dr Fiona Harris, said: “Professor Coyne is passionately evidence-based and patient-oriented. He argues that supportive psychosocial services should be readily available to cancer patients as a means of preserving and improving quality of life without unsustainable claims of extending life after a diagnosis of cancer. The development of primary and community based psycho-oncology resources and their evidence base will be a major focus for this visiting professorship. There are obvious differences between the American and Scottish health and mental health systems, but there is also transferable knowledge that may address common problems that these systems face in meeting the needs of cancer patients as whole persons, rather than simply bodies containing tumours.”

Professor Andrew Miller, Secretary of the Carnegie Trust, said: “I am delighted Professor Coyne has accepted the Carnegie Centenary Professorship. Created in 2001 to mark the Trust’s Centenary, this award aims to support international links for Scottish universities and foster long term collaborations. Professor Coyne’s tenure will encourage the sharing of expertise and knowledge with researchers based at the University of Stirling as well as with the wider academic community in Scotland.”

Professor Coyne is currently a Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute, and Director of Behavioral Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center at the Perelman School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania. He will join the University of Stirling for a period of three months in 2015.

You can follow Professor Coyne on Twitter @CoyneoftheRealm

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