I was appointed as a Lecturer in Alcohol Studies, in the Institute for Social Marketing here at Stirling in February 2014, and then as a Senior Lecturer in August 2017.
I originally trained as a pharmacist, working in community pharmacy, addiction services and the pharmaceutical industry. I received my PhD in 2003 from Robert Gordon University (RGU), Aberdeen, Scotland, for a qualitative study of policy, planning and practice in school-based drug education. After my PhD I held a training role at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, working to build the capacity of health visitors, teachers and youth workers to prevent or respond to alcohol and drug issues in their practice.
I worked for 10 years as an independent consultant, trainer and researcher with my own agency Create Consultancy. We supported the rollout of the national alcohol brief intervention programme in Scotland, including writing all training and professional materials, as well as a wide range of local alcohol brief interention initiatives in Scotland, Wales and England. Other work included research and training on consultation skills.
During that time I also worked as a Senior Research Fellow with RGU, and was subsequently appointed as a Visiting Professor there from 2012 to 2015. I am a member of the co-ordinating committee of the International Network for Brief Interventions on Alcohol and Other Drugs (www.inebria.net) and Vice President of ICARA - the International Confederation of ATOD (Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug) Resarch Associations (http://icara.uconn.edu/).
I am responsible for the development of teaching and public engagement on alcohol for the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies www.ukctas.net. For UKCTAS, I co-ordinate an annual CPD course on Alcohol Policy in Practice for practitioners working in alcohol policy and an annual MSc module on Alcohol Problems, Policy and Practice at Kings College London. I co-ordinate a public involvement group at Stirling, the "Alcohol Discussion Group" which meets twice a year to involve the public in UKCTAS research.
At Stirling I am supporting the development of the Masters in Public Health.
Finally, I am involved in the supervision of a number of Masters and PhD students and am open to enquiries from anyone interested in a Masters dissertation or PhD in my areas of interest (see below).
I specialise in alcohol policy research and have broad interests within that field.
I am interested in the language used to discuss alcohol problems and policies and how it impacts on public and policymaker attitudes. I am leading the IDEA (Identifying & DEscribing Arguments) project which is developing a systematic typology of the frames (claims or arguments) found in the alcohol policy literature. This study, funded by CRUK, will facilitate systematic framing analysis of future bodies of data such as consultation responses etc. and training/education on this issue.
I am interested in how financial conflicts of interest affect science and practice in public health, and have current work focused on nalmefene (a drug for alcohol dependence); and on understanding how researchers view conflicts of interest and how they should managed.
In alcohol brief interventions, I am interested in intervention design, quality and training for practitioners. I have studied and previously advised authorities in Denmark, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Russia and WHO-Europe on these issues.
I am involved in several alcohol policy evaluations including ExILEnS - a mixed-methods study of the impact of public health engagement in alcohol premises licensing in England and Scotland; a qualitative study of unintended consequences of the reduction in Scotland's drink drive limit; and several studies of self report and biochemical methods of identifying alcohol use in pregnancy.
I am open to collaboration with others interested in taking forward research in these fields, or to prospective research students interested in any of these issues.