Professor Niamh Fitzgerald

Professor

Institute for Social Marketing University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Professor Niamh Fitzgerald

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About me

About me

My research and teaching interests are primarily in alcohol policy, in particular mixed-method, interdisciplinary studies of population-level policies, and commercial determinants of health including product marketing, conflicts of interest and policy processes. I am involved in the supervision of several PhD students and am open to enquiries from anyone interested in a research degree on these topics.

I am one of two Deputy Directors of the SPECTRUM (Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To Reduce ineqUalities and harM) Consortium which focuses on commercial determinants of health in relation to alcohol, tobacco and food. SPECTRUM is funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership (2019-2024) and includes 10 universities and multiple policy/practice partners. My role is to lead on impact, knowledge exchange and public engagement for the consortium - co-ordinating knowledge exchange events (including annual courses for ECRs, policymakers and practitioners) and overseeing public involvement groups at the Universities of Stirling and Nottingham and King's College London. Academics wishing to consult the public on alcohol/tobacco/food research can get in touch to arrange to meet with these groups.

I originally trained as a pharmacist, working primarily in community pharmacy, but also 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, then worked for 10 years as an independent consultant.

From 2007-2011, I was heavily involved in the national alcohol brief intervention programme in Scotland, and have worked extensively on this topic including internationally. I recently authored two training manuals on alcohol brief interventions (in primary care and trauma settings) for the WHO-Europe office for NCD prevention.

I sit on the board of ICARA - the International Confederation of ATOD (Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug) Research Associations (http://www.icara.info) as immediate past president. ICARA works to support research associations with governance and capacity building particularly in low and middle income countries.

Research (32)

I specialise in mixed methods alcohol policy research and have broad interests within that field including these studies underway or being written up:

  • ELEPHANT (Evaluating later or expanded premises hours for alcohol in the night time economy) - an NIHR-funded mixed-methods study of the impact of later opening hours for alcohol in Glasgow and Aberdeen cities.
  • ExILEnS - an NIHR-funded mixed-methods study of the impact of public health engagement in alcohol premises licensing in England and Scotland (PI);
  • IMPAACT - a CSO study of the impact of alcohol on the ambulance service including whether MUP affected the number of alcohol-related ambulance call-outs in Scotland (PI). I am also Co-Ion three other studies of MUP's impact - in the small retail sector, in youth/binge drinkers and in prescribing data.
  • Several studies of self report and biochemical methods of identifying alcohol use in pregnancy.

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 done work focused on nalmefene (a drug for alcohol dependence); and on understanding how researchers view conflicts of interest and how they should managed. 

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.

Projects

SPECTRUM: Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To Reduce IneqUalities and harM
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Medical Research Council

Regulating alcohol packaging and supply to protect health in Sub-Saharan Africa: lessons from policy systems in Malawi and Uganda (RAPSSA)
PI: Dr Isabelle Uny
Funded by: Medical Research Council

UKPRP Community of Practice
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Medical Research Council

Evaluating Later and Expanded Premises Hours for Alcohol in the Night-time Economy (ELEPHANT)
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: National Institute for Health Research

IRAPS: Interdisciplinary Research into political interest, civil society support and available data to strengthen Alcohol Policy Systems in Brazil and Peru
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Medical Research Council

Alcohol Harms Framing
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Alcohol Change UK

Trends and Inequalities in Prescribing for Alcohol Dependence in Scotland (TRIPADS)
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Alcohol Research UK

Exploring the management of alcohol problems in Deep End general practices in Scotland
PI: Dr Andrea Mohan
Funded by: Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems

An exploration of the characteristics, perceptions and experiences of drink drivers in England and Scotland
PI: Dr Isabelle Uny
Funded by: Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety

Ambulance Call-Outs to Drug Overdoses in Scotland: Patterns and Practice
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Scottish Government

Alcohol Research Network (ACORN) UK/ROI
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council

The Impact of Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol on Ambulance Call-outs in Scotland (IMPAACT)
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Chief Scientist Office

Limiting virus transmission during a Sporting Mega Event: COVID 19 and UEFA EURO 2020
PI: Dr Richard Purves
Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council

EXILENS - Exploring the Impact of Alcohol Licensing in England and Scotland
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: National Institute for Health Research

Examining policy options to manage the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on licensed premises and ambulance-call outs in Scotland
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Chief Scientist Office

Alcohol Policy Workshop (SPECTRUM)
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Delegates - Short Courses

Evaluating the Impact of Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland: Observational Study of Small Retailers
PI: Ms Martine Stead
Funded by: NHS Health Scotland

Awareness of alcohol marketing: A pre-implementation cross-sectional survey of adults in the Republic of Ireland
PI: Dr Nathan Critchlow
Funded by: Institute of Public Health in Ireland

Young adult’s perceptions of alcohol packaging as a form of promotion, and how it could be used more effectively to communicate health messaging
PI: Dr Crawford Moodie
Funded by: Alcohol Focus Scotland

Understanding the direct and indirect impact of lowering Scotland’s drink-drive limit
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Chief Scientist Office

Obesity and Alcohol Use: is there a role for dually focused intervention in young adults (18-25) to tackle unhealthy eating and heavy drinking and effectively reduce future health inequalities?
PI: Ms Martine Stead
Funded by: Department of Health

Women and alcohol: evidence synthesis of the impacts on population level interventions to reduce alcohol use/harm by gender
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Glasgow Centre for Population Health

Alcohol Screening in Pregnancy Systematic Review & Scoping Study
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Glasgow Centre for Population Health

The Development of a Training Toolkit for Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) for Alcohol adapted for Emergency Care settings
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: World Health Organisation

WHO ABI Training Materials Pilot
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: World Health Organisation

Alcohol in Pregnancy Study
PI:
Funded by: Glasgow Centre for Population Health

The Identifying & Describing Arguments (IDEA) project.
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Cancer Research UK

Remuneration for Alcohol Brief Interventions Scoping Study
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems

Women and Alcohol: Towards an Equity Review of the Effectiveness of Population-based Interventions to Reduce Alcohol Use and Harm by Gender
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Glasgow Centre for Population Health

Four Nations: the differences and similarities in alcohol policies and programmes across the four jurisdictions of the UK
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

The Content and Design of Alcohol Brief Intervention Training for Practitioners
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: Alcohol Research UK

Extension of Current Research on Overprovision of Licensed Premises
PI: Professor Niamh Fitzgerald
Funded by: NHS Health Scotland

Outputs (85)

Outputs

Commentary

Petticrew M, Fitzgerald N, Maani N, McCambridge J, Pettigrew S & van Schalkwyk M (2021) Responsible Drinking, Conflicts of Interest, and the Elephant in the Room: A Commentary on A Scoping Review of "Responsible Drinking" Interventions by Gray, Williams & Shaffer (2020). Commentary on: Gray, H. , Wiley, R. , Williams, P. , & Shaffer, H. (2020). A scoping review of “Responsible Drinking” interventions. Health Communication, 1–21. https://doi-org/10.1080/10410236.2020.1733226. Health Communication, 36 (2), pp. 257-259. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2020.1827541

Article

Rosário F, Santos MI, Angus K, Pas L, Ribeiro C & Fitzgerald N (2021) Factors influencing the implementation of screening and brief interventions for alcohol use in primary care practices: a systematic review using the COM-B system and Theoretical Domains Framework. Implementation Science, 16 (1), Art. No.: 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-020-01073-0

Article

So V, Millard AD, Katikireddi SV, Forsyth R, Allstaff S, Deluca P, Drummond C, Ford A, Eadie D, Fitzgerald N, Graham L, Hilton S, Ludbrook A, McCartney G & Stead M (2021) Intended and unintended consequences of the implementation of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland: a natural experiment. Public Health Research, 9 (11), pp. 1-210. https://doi.org/10.3310/phr09110

Article

Manca F, Lewsey J, Waterson R, Kernaghan SM, Fitzpatrick D, Mackay D, Angus C & Fitzgerald N (2021) Estimating the Burden of Alcohol on Ambulance Callouts through Development and Validation of an Algorithm Using Electronic Patient Records. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (12), Art. No.: 6363. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126363

Letter

Horton M, Perman-Howe PR, Angus C, Bishop J, Bogdanovica I, Brennan A, Britton J, Brose LS, Brown J, Collin J, Dockrell M, Fitzgerald N, Friel S, Gillespie D & Bauld L The SPECTRUM Consortium: a new UK Prevention Research Partnership consortium focussed on the commercial determinants of health, the prevention of non-communicable diseases, and the reduction of health inequalities. Wellcome Open Research, 6, Art. No.: 6. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16318.1

Article

Critchlow N, Jones D, Moodie C, MacKintosh AM, Fitzgerald N, Hooper L, Thomas C & Vohra J (2020) Awareness of product-related information, health messages and warnings on alcohol packaging among adolescents: A cross-sectional survey in the United Kingdom. Journal Of Public Health, 42 (3), pp. e223-e230. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdz080

Commentary

Fitzgerald N & Lewsey J (2020) Commentary on Wicki et al. (2020): Strong effectiveness evidence-but what else do policymakers need?. Commentary on: Wicki, M., Bertholet, N., and Gmel, G. ( 2020) Estimated changes in hospital admissions for alcohol intoxication after partial bans on off‐premises sales of alcoholic beverages in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland: an interrupted time–series analysis. Addiction, https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14967.. Addiction, 115 (8), pp. 1470-1471. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15074

Research Report

Stead M, Critchlow N, Eadie D, Fitzgerald N, Angus K, Purves R, McKell J, Marie MacKintosh A, Mitchell H, Sumpter C & Angus C (2020) Evaluating the impact of alcohol minimum unit pricing in Scotland: Observational study of small retailers. NHS Health Scotland/Public Health Scotland. Stirling. https://www.stir.ac.uk/media/stirling/services/faculties/sport-and-health-sciences/research/documents/MUP-evaluation-Small-Convenience-Stores-report.pdf

Article

Scott S, Muir C, Stead M, Fitzgerald N, Kaner E, Bradley J, Wrieden W, Power C & Adamson A (2020) Exploring the links between unhealthy eating behaviour and heavy alcohol use in the social, emotional and cultural lives of young adults (aged 18-25): A qualitative research study. Appetite, 144, Art. No.: 104449. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2019.104449

Article

Maani Hessari N, Bertscher A, Critchlow N, Fitzgerarld N, Knai C, Stead M & Petticrew M (2019) Recruiting the "Heavy-Using Loyalists of Tomorrow": An Analysis of the Aims, Effects and Mechanisms of Alcohol Advertising, Based on Advertising Industry Evaluations. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (21), Art. No.: 4092. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214092

Article

Haghpanahan H, Lewsey J, Mackay D, McIntosh E, Pell J, Jones A, Fitzgerald N & Robinson M (2019) An evaluation of the effects of lowering blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers on the rates of road traffic accidents and alcohol consumption: a natural experiment. Lancet, 393 (10169), pp. 321-329. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736%2818%2932850-2

Article

Fitzgerald N, Egan M, de Vocht F, Angus C, Nicholls J, Shortt N, Nichols T, Maani Hessari N, McQuire C, Purves R, Critchlow N, Mohan A, Mahon L, Sumpter C & Bauld L (2018) Exploring the impact of public health teams on alcohol premises licensing in England and Scotland (ExILEnS): procotol for a mixed methods natural experiment evaluation. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 18 (1), Art. No.: 123. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-018-0573-z

Article

Scott S, Beyer F, Parkinson K, Muir C, Graye A, Kaner E, Stead M, Power C, Fitzgerald N, Bradley J, Wrieden W & Adamson A (2018) Non-Pharmacological Interventions to Reduce Unhealthy Eating and Risky Drinking in Young Adults Aged 18-25 Years: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 10 (10), Art. No.: 1538. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101538

Article

Albani V, Bradley J, Wrieden W, Scott S, Muir C, Power C, Fitzgerald N, Stead M, Kaner E & Adamson A (2018) Examining associations between body mass index in 18-25 year-olds and energy intake from alcohol: findings from the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey. Nutrients, 10 (10), Art. No.: 1477. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101477

Article

Rosário F, Santos MI, Angus K, Pas L & Fitzgerald N (2018) Factors Influencing the Implementation of Screening and Brief Interventions for Alcohol Use in Primary Care Practices: A Systematic Review Protocol [Fatores Condicionantes da Implementação da Deteção Precoce e Intervenções Breves no Consumo Excessivo de Álcool nos Cuidados de Saúde Primários: Protocolo de Revisão Sistemática da Literatura]. Acta Medica Portuguesa, 31 (1), pp. 45-50. https://doi.org/10.20344/amp.9753

Article

Stead M, Parkes T, Nicoll A, Wilson S, Burgess C, Eadie D, Fitzgerald N, McKell J, Reid G, Jepson R, McAteer J & Bauld L (2017) Delivery of alcohol brief interventions in community-based youth work settings: exploring feasibility and acceptability in a qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 17 (1), Art. No.: 357. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4256-1

Article

Scott S, Parkinson K, Kaner E, Robalino S, Stead M, Power C, Fitzgerald N, Wrieden W & Adamson A (2017) Non-pharmacological interventions designed to reduce health risks due to unhealthy eating behaviour and linked risky or excessive drinking in adults aged 18-25: a systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 6 (1), Art. No.: 42. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-017-0434-6

Article

Fitzgerald N, Nicholls J, Winterbottom J & Katikireddi SV (2017) Implementing a Public Health Objective for Alcohol Premises Licensing in Scotland: A Qualitative Study of Strategies, Values, and Perceptions of Evidence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (3), Art. No.: 221. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030221

Commentary

Fitzgerald N (2016) Commentary on Anderson et al. (2016): The question is not just whether to incentivize and train practitioners on alcohol screening and brief advice, but how?. Commentary on: Anderson P., Bendtsen P., Spak F., Reynolds J., Drummond C.,Segura L. et al. Improving the delivery of brief interventionsfor heavy drinking in primary health care: outcome resultsof the ODHIN five-country cluster randomized factorial trial.Addiction 2016; 111:935–45.. Addiction, 111 (11), pp. 1946-1947. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.13513

Article

Fitzgerald N, Heywood S, Bikker A & Mercer SW (2014) Enhancing empathy in healthcare: mixed-method evaluation of a pilot project implementing the CARE Approach in primary and community care settings in Scotland. Journal of Compassionate Healthcare, 1 (1), Art. No.: 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40639-014-0006-8

Meeting Abstract

Stewart D, Youngson E, Fitzgerald N, Watson M & Cunningham S (2013) Community pharmacist involvement in minimising alcohol related risks: views of the general public in Scotland. 2013 Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference, Birmingham, 08/09/2013 - 09/09/2013. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 21 (Supplement S2), pp. 5-6. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpp.12063

Meeting Abstract

Fitzgerald N & Heywood S (2013) Training multidisciplinary practitioners to deliver SBI on alcohol and other health behaviours. International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol and Other Drugs (INEBRIA) Meeting 2013, Rome, Italy, 18/09/2013 - 20/09/2013. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 8 (Supplement 1), p. A26, Art. No.: A26. https://doi.org/10.1186/1940-0640-8-S1-A26

Research Report

Fitzgerald N, Johnston L & Heywood S (2013) Needs Assessment of Services for Children, Parents and Families affected by Parental Substance Misuse in Edinburgh City - Summary Report. Edinburgh Alcohol and Drug Partnership. City of Edinburgh. http://www.edinburghadp.co.uk/Resources/EADPPublications/Documents/CASPM%20Needs%20Assessment%20Summary.pdf

Research Report

Heywood S, Fitzgerald N & Winterbottom J (2012) Supporting Communication Skills and Behaviours in Healthcare Staff: Evaluation of Two Pilots: The CARE Approach and Practice Based Small Group Learning - Summary Report. NHS Education for Scotland. Create Consultancy. http://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/media/1574594/evaluation-of-care-pbsgl-short-summary.pdf

Meeting Abstract

Fitzgerald N, Molloy H & MacDonald F (2012) Evaluation of a rollout of alcohol brief interventions in health- and social-care teams following multidisciplinary training. International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol and Other Drugs (INEBRIA) Meeting 2011, Boston, MA, USA, 21/09/2011 - 23/09/2011. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 7 (Supplement 1), Art. No.: A84. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1940-0640-7-S1-A84; https://doi.org/10.1186/1940-0640-7-S1-A84

Meeting Abstract

Fitzgerald N, Stewart D, Jaffray M, Inch J, Duncan EM, Afolabi E & Ludbrook A (2012) A pilot study of alcohol screening and brief interventions in community pharmacies. International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol and Other Drugs (INEBRIA) Meeting 2011, Boston, MA, USA, 21/09/2011 - 23/09/2011. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 7 (Supplement 1), Art. No.: A22. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1940-0640-7-S1-A22; https://doi.org/10.1186/1940-0640-7-S1-A22

Meeting Abstract

Fitzgerald N (2012) How do health professionals learn their communication skills? Lessons for SBI implementation. International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol and Other Drugs (INEBRIA) Meeting 2011, Boston, MA, USA, 21/09/2011 - 23/09/2011. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 7 (Supplement 1), Art. No.: A1. https://ascpjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1940-0640-7-S1-A1; https://doi.org/10.1186/1940-0640-7-S1-A1

Research Report

Dowds J & Fitzgerald N (2010) A synthesis and analysis of current information and evidence relating to Action 10 of the Smoking Prevention Action Plan (NHS report on youth tobacco cessation and prevention). NHS Health Scotland. http://www.healthscotland.com/uploads/documents/12420-RE041FinalReport0910.pdf

Lecture

Fitzgerald N (2008) Building Capacity/Overcoming Barriers - Alcohol: It’s Everyone’s Business (Presentation) 3rd European Alcohol Policy Conference: Building Capacity for Action, Barcelona, Spain, 03.04.2008-05.04.2008. http://www.eurocare.org/library/updates/3rd_european_alcohol_policy_conference_building_capacity_for_action

Conference Paper (unpublished)

Fitzgerald N, McCaig D, Watson H & Stewart D (2006) Brief Interventions In Community Pharmacies. 3rd INEBRIA Annual Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 26.10.2006-27.10.2006.

Research Report

Fitzgerald N & Stewart D (2006) Drinking Interventions in Pharmacies Study (DIPS): Development, implementation and evaluation of a pilot project to deliver interventions on alcohol issues in community pharmacies - Final Report. Alcohol Research UK. School of Pharmacy, Robert Gordon University. http://alcoholresearchuk.org/downloads/finalReports/AERC_FinalReport_0038.pdf

Teaching

Teaching

I lead on two knowledge exchange events in my role as one of two Deputy Directors of the SPECTRUM Consortium which focuses on commercial determinants of health in relation to alcohol, tobacco and food. These annual events for ECRs, policymakers and practitioners are advertised on the SPECTRUM website www.spectrum.ac.uk.

Research programmes

Research centres/groups

Research themes