The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP) is a collaborative effort, with members spanning the United Kingdom and beyond, and featuring a mix of SCPHRP employees, academics, policy makers, practitioners, and volunteers/professionals from the third sector.

The core team is based in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and is administratively housed within the School of Health in Social Science.

Ruth Jepson (Director)

Ruth is Director of SCPHRP and a Professor of Public Health in the School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh. She is co-Director of the GroundsWell Consortium ( and a co-Investigator on PHIRST Fusion She is particularly interested developing and evaluating complex interventions and in undertaking research in partnership with service providers and users and has recently written a book on the subject with other members of SCPHRP (Developing Public Health Interventions)



View Ruth’s full research profile at

Larry Doi (Deputy Director)

Larry is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Public Health in the School of Health in Social Sciences. He received his PhD in Public Health from the University of Stirling. He holds a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Edinburgh and an honours degree in Biology from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He also holds a postgraduate certificate in Academic Practice from the University of Edinburgh and he is a Fellow at the Higher Education Academy. His methodological expertise is in systematic reviews, developing and evaluating complex public health interventions, evaluability assessment and realist evaluation. In line with SCPHRP’s mandate, he is interested in undertaking research in collaboration with decision makers and service users. His research interest is in maternal and child health. Larry has been involved in several research projects and he is currently Principal Investigator on a Scottish Government funded grant to evaluate the universal health visiting pathway in Scotland. He is also currently the Postgraduate Research Director (Nursing Studies) and a course organiser a number of courses, including Global Public Health (both on-campus and Online) and the MN Dissertations.



View Larry’s full research profile at

Zorana Alimpic (PhD Researcher)

Zorana is a human rights researcher based in South Africa though she originally hails from Serbia having grown up in Canada. She holds a B.S.W (Ryerson University) and M.S.W (York University) from Canada where she worked with refugee and migrant communities as well as a Research Associate for York University. After completing her MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Oxford Zorana moved to South Africa where she has worked in a range of roles including pan-African projects for the UNDP and most recently as Senior Researcher for South Africa’s largest indigenous donor organisation, the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR).

As a Doctoral Fellow with the Canadian Social Sciences and Research Council, Zorana is undertaking her PhD at the School of Health in Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Dr Clara Calia and Dr Divya Sivaramakrishnan. Her dissertation is exploring the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental well-being of young people in South Africa and trying to identify best practice frameworks to help youth improve their well-being after a health crisis.



Ana Sofia Alvarado (Researcher and PhD student)

Sofia is from Mexico and she moved to Scotland in January 2019 to start her PhD in Health in Social Science with SCPHRPs Ruth Jepson and Larry Doi as her supervisors. Her main interests, and topic of her PhD, are food and nutrition security, human right to adequate food, and food citizenship. She has a BSc in Dietetics (in Mexico), and a MSc in Global Health and Management by the University of Aberdeen (2015-2016). Her current PhD is funded by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) in Mexico, which is an entity in charge of the promotion of scientific and technological activities. Sofia has previously worked in the clinical practice, lecturing, and in the last two years in the development of an Observatory of the Right to Food in the city where she used to live. She also has experience with quantitative research approaches, but she is interested in learning about qualitative and participatory approaches.

Emma Carroll-Monteil (Science Communicator and Research Impact Officer, GroundsWell)

Emma works on the GroundsWell project in science communication and research impact, with emphasis on education and training. Emma has a BA in Psychology (University of Edinburgh), a MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education (University of Edinburgh), and also works part time for the University of Strathclyde in Sustainability Engagement. Her background is in sustainability and pro-environmental behaviour, and she is passionate about projects that help both people and the planet.




Clarissa is a Lecturer in Nursing (Life Sciences) in the School of Health in Social Science and a Registered Nurse (RN) in Indonesia and the UK. She earned her Professional Degree in Nursing (RN) and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at Universitas Indonesia. She completed her MSc in Advancing Nursing Practice and her PhD in Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). As a critical care nurse by background, Clarissa has a strong passion for improving critically ill patients’ recovery. Her research interests lie in the area of the recovery and rehabilitation of critically ill patients and young adults after stroke. Her doctoral research explored staff experiences relating to early mobilisation of mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care. She has been involved in research projects on post-stroke rehabilitation for young adults.


View Clarissa’s full research profile at

Laddu Sinha Dhanushka De Silva (Researcher)

Sinha is a full-time sponsored researcher attached to SCPHRP since August 2022. He has his basic degree in Medicine (MBBS) from University of Sri Jayewardenepura, MSc in Community Medicine and MD in Community Medicine from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is attached to SCPHRP in view of fulfilling the mandatory post-doctoral training requirement to be trained in a center of excellence in order to obtain board certification as a Consultant Community Physician in Sri Lanka. Prof Ruth Jepson functions as his main supervisor during his stay in University of Edinburgh. His interest areas are development and evaluation of complex public health interventions, systematic reviewing and meta-analysis.

E mail:


Gosaye Fida (PhD researcher and public health principal)

Gosaye is a public health principal  with over 15 years of experience working in various public health and commissioning role working for NHS commissioning organisations in England. He is currently undertaking a PhD part-time in SCPHRP looking at data from the UK Diabetes Prevention programmes. Email:





Wako Golicha (PhD researcher)

Wako Golicha is currently a PhD student working on the GroundsWell project. He joined SCPHRP as a PhD scholar under supervision of Professor Ruth Jepson and Dr Tom Clemens in September 2022. He was an assistant professor of public health at School of Public Health, Bule Hora University. He has obtained both bachelor and master’s degrees in Public Health from Hawassa University, Ethiopia. His research interest includes chronic non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, and infectious diseases. Additionally, he was a research and community services coordinator at Institute of Health of Bule Hora University, where he used to oversee research and community service activities undertaken by academic staff within the Institute.



Diana Grunberg (Visiting medic/researcher)

Diana has a BA in neuroscience from Smith College, Massachusetts, USA (2015), a Master’s in Public Health from Edinburgh University (2016), and most recently a medical degree from University College Cork, Ireland (2022). Having worked for a time in clinical medicine as a junior doctor, Diana is excited to transition back into public health research and further develop her skills with SCPHRP. Her broad interests include investigating and developing sustainable interventions to prevent chronic disease and promote wellbeing, and exploring how childhood experience impacts future adult health. Her previous publications include a systematic review protocol on the effect of exercise on inflammatory markers in major depressive disorder (MDD), exploring gender barriers to participation in after school physical activities in Australian school children, and two others related to social neuroendocrinology in rodents. Within SCPHRP, she is currently working on a qualitative analysis project related to ageism in India and a systematic review/meta analysis investigating the physical health outcomes of Tai Chi in the elderly populations.

Dr Elaine Haycock-Stuart (Senior Lecturer)

Dr Elaine Haycock-Stuart is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health in Social Science.

Elaine’s overarching research programme has a public health and service organisation and delivery focus. Research has a focus on public health nursing and health care in the community context. Employing mixed methods or qualitative approaches in the research process.

Elaine is a Co-Investigator European funded ERASMUS programme A new agenda for nurse educator education in Europe 2020-1-FI01-KA203-066590

Elaine was award a Chief Scientist Office (CSO) Health Service Research Training Fellowship to undertake doctoral studies (PhD1999) examining Sense and Susceptibility: How mothers’ view accidental injury risk and develop safety strategies for pre-school children. Elaine continued to work as a health visitor in Central Scotland whilst studying towards her doctoral studies. Elaine is a Churchill Fellow (1996 lifetime award) and the focus of the fellowship explored unintentional injury prevention strategies in Australia and New Zealand.


Sidra Ishfaq (PhD student and visiting scholar)

Sidra is a PhD scholar from Pakistan. She is in her last year and pursuing her degree in Economics. She joined SCPHRP as a research scholar in 2020, under the supervision of Professor Ruth Jepson. Her main interests are gender studies, social issues, food and nutrition security, and measuring risks towards household food security. The topic of her PhD is “Unveiling Women Empowerment and Its Impacts on Household Food Insecurity and Food Vulnerability in Rural Areas of Pakistan”. Currently, she is working on developing research articles with Ruth Jepson and Glenna Nightingale. She did her M.Sc (Hons.) and B.Sc. (Hons.) in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad and her PhD is from the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. Her visit to the University of Edinburgh is funded by Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan under the scholarship “International Research Support Initiative Program (IRSIP)”. Her ambition is to make remarkable achievements in her academic career and serve the industry with integrity and morality.

Email: / 


Xiaoyang Li (Researcher and PhD student)

Xiaoyang joined SCPHRP in 2022. She is a third-year PhD student in Nursing studies at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Dr. Sarah Rhynas and Professor Heather Wikinson. Xiaoyang has quantitative research experience in predicting the model establishment of Alzheimer’s Disease based on a meta-analysis of risk factors of AD. At the same time, she is a registered nurse in China. Her research area for her PhD programme is about exploring the experience and needs of care staff of people living with dementia who lived in care homes.


Stephen Malden (Researcher, GroundsWell)

Stephen is a research fellow based within SCPHRP at the University of Edinburgh. Stephen joined SCPHRP in 2015, before completing his PhD in childhood obesity/public health at the University of Strathclyde. Stephen has a varied research background having experience in health services research, health informatics, systematic reviews/meta-analyses and the development/evaluation of public health interventions. His research interests include childhood obesity, health benefits and determinants of physical activity, health inequalities, and the impact of urban greenspace on health.

Stephen returned to SCPHRP from the Usher Institute in 2022, where he will be responsible for co-designing and evaluating community-based public health interventions in urban green and blue spaces as part of the GroundsWell Consortium. For more information about GroundsWell see:



Jillian Manner (PhD Researcher)

Jillian joined SCPHRP in 2017. She is a Research Fellow and third-year PhD Researcher. She is supervised by Ruth Jepson, Graham Baker (Moray House School of Education & Sport) and Belinda Steffan (University of Edinburgh Business School). Her PhD explores how organisational culture impacts the long-term implementation and sustainability of workplace health interventions. She previously worked on an NIHR-funded evaluation of Stand Up for Health, an intervention to reduce sedentary behaviour in contact (call) centres. Jillian has a BSc in Kinesiology and Health Science (York University, Canada), a Masters in Public Health (University of Waterloo, Canada), and is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). Prior to working at SCPHRP she worked as an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, and workplace disability case manager. She also worked for NHS Lothian as a Falls Assistant Practitioner, developing an educational intervention to reduce falls in care home residents across Edinburgh.



Craig McDougall (Researcher, GroundsWell)

Craig is a part-time research assistant working on the GroundsWell project He is also a final year PhD student at the University of Stirling. Craig’s PhD research explores the effects of spending time in and around natural environments on physical and mental health, with a specific focus on freshwater environments (or blue spaces). He is particularly interested in health geography and environmental justice and frequently uses GIS-based methods to investigate urban health and health inequality. Before joining SCPHRP, Craig obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) in Environmental Management from Glasgow Caledonian University, where he conducted research on inequalities in green space accessibility in West Glasgow.



Glenna Nightingale (Chancellor’s Fellow)

Glenna is interested in applying statistical principles to real-world problems in public health, ecology, and demography.  I enjoy data visualization, building R Shiny apps, and teaching statistics through data storyboarding.  Glenna specializes in the use of  Point process models, Bayesian inference, Spatial epidemiology, Natural experiment evaluation, and time series modeling.

Some of her work can be found here:



Jenny Ordoñez Betancourth (Researcher)

Jenny is from Colombia and received her PhD in Population Health Sciences from the University of Edinburgh in 2020, funded by the Newton Fund and the Colombian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MINCIENCIAS). Her PhD thesis aimed to understand the role of ethnicity for framing childhood obesity as a public health problem and it was supervised by Raj Bhopal, Ruth Jepson and Louise Marryat.  Jenny holds a BSc in Physiotherapy, a Masters in Epidemiology (both from Universidad del Valle, Colombia). Since 2008, she has been involved in research in environmental epidemiology at the Epidemiology and Population Health Group (GESP) at the same university. Her methodological expertise is in systematics reviews, causal diagrams and quantitative approaches for analysing health inequalities. Her research interest focus on the social and commercial determinants of health, particularly on child and maternal health. Jenny is currently located in Colombia working at the Universidad del Valle as a lecturer in research methods, disability & pubic health and supervising postgraduate students´ research projects. Jenny enjoys tapestry weaving and writing poetry.


Sandra Peniston (PhD researcher)

Sandra is a nurse academic from York University, Toronto, Canada, and an adult Nurse Practitioner. She is currently a first-year PhD student in Nursing Studies and recipient of a School of Health in Social Science PhD Studentship (2022-2025). Sandra has been volunteering and conducting research in northern Ghana since 2010. As a member of the Ghana Health Team from 2010 to 2019, she worked with Ghanaian healthcare professionals and volunteers to drive health equity in resource-poor communities. Her area of research is cardiovascular diseases and how risk factors influence them. In a previous study conducted in Northern Ghana, she examined CVD occurrence and risk factors among adults over 40 years of age. A fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular event was at risk for 10.4% of the population with high rates of undiagnosed and uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes. Sandra’s objective of her doctoral thesis is to respond to the inadequate diagnosis and suboptimal control of hypertension and diabetes for adults in rural Northern Ghana by developing and feasibility-testing a co-produced primary healthcare intervention. Her proposed study will follow the process defined by the six steps in quality intervention development (6SQuID) framework to co-develop an intervention and feasibility study through a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods.


Ewelina Rydzewska (Lecturer in Health Futures)

Ewelina joined the University of Edinburgh in January 2022 as a Lecturer in Health Futures at the Edinburgh Futures Institute and School of Health in Social Science. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing where she had previously worked as a Research Fellow for the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory. In her research, Ewelina investigates population demographics, health needs and determinants of health for people with autism and/or intellectual disabilities, using big data and data linkage methodologies. Ewelina’s work draws on various fields, such as public health, epidemiology, developmental and clinical psychology, which means that she often seeks to cross disciplinary and methodological boundaries between health and social sciences and quantitative and qualitative research. You can read more about Ewelina’s work here.

Divya Sivaramakrishnan (Chancellor’s Fellow)

Divya is a Chancellor’s Fellow with the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy, Department of Nursing Studies. She is a mixed methods researcher with experience in intervention development and evaluation. Her research interests include development and evaluation of public health interventions, healthy ageing, and physical activity and sedentary behaviour across varied populations.

Divya was a postdoctoral researcher on the Stand Up for Health project, which aimed to reduce sedentary behaviour in contact centres. The NIHR funded project evaluated the feasibility of the programme, using a cluster randomised stepped wedge study design. Divya has completed her PhD at the Physical Activity for Health Centre, University of Edinburgh on developing a yoga intervention for older adults. She is also a yoga teacher.

She is currently working on health ageing in India, and is collaborating with researchers in ISEC, Bangalore to understand ageism and age norms in Urban India. She is also working with the Physical activity for Health Research Centre on developing interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour while working from home, as well as physical activity and menopause.



Chris Sweeney (PhD Researcher)

Christopher joined the SCPHRP in 2022. He is a PhD student supervised by Dr Larry Doi and Dr Elaine Haycock-Stuart. He was awarded a Chief Scientist Office (CSO) funded Clinical Academic Fellowship to explore how parents of children under five respond to childhood illness and make decisions to use unscheduled care services as a single system within NHS Scotland.

He holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Glasgow (2017-2018), a honors degree in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing from Glasgow Caledonian University (2012-2013), and a degree in Adult Nursing from the University of Strathclyde (2005-2008).

Christopher has worked as a Nurse and Health Visitor in Scotland and as a nursing manager for Medecins Sans Frontieres in maternal and child health in South Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia.





Mengying Zhang (Researcher and PhD student)

Mengying joined SCPHRP in January 2021. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science (Nursing Studies), a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), and a Master’s degree in Science (Nursing Studies) from the University of Edinburgh. She is currently a third-year PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Dr. Larry Doi and Dr. Maria Wolters. Her research topic is using realist evaluation to explore how smoking cessation apps can help Chinese smokers stop smoking. Her methodologic focuses are realist evaluation and systematic review. In June 2022, she was funded as a research assistant on a project exploring the barriers and solutions of healthcare professionals and students accessing scholarly literature. She was also an exchange student at Kanazawa University (Japan), Swansea University (UK), and California State University (Long Beach, USA), during her undergraduate studies. She is a Student Representative at the School of Health in Social Science (HiSS), at the University of Edinburgh. 


Caroline Brett (Lecturer)

Caroline is a health psychologist who joined Edinburgh University as a lecturer in clinical psychology in February 2023. She completed her MSc Health Psychology at Stirling and her professional doctorate in health psychology at City University, London, while working as a research assistant on studies affiliated to the Lothian Birth Cohorts – longitudinal studies of health and wellbeing in older adults. Caroline is also an honorary research fellow at Liverpool John Moores University, where she spent 7 years teaching health and positive psychology.

Caroline’s research interests have been a rather eclectic mix of topics relating to health and wellbeing, with collaborators from psychology, public health, epidemiology, education, primary care, and the creative arts. Her main interests are in the psychosocial determinants of wellbeing – including personality, resilience, sense of coherence, and social support – and the effectiveness and mechanisms of non-clinical interventions such as nature-based interventions and social prescribing in enhancing health and wellbeing. She is particularly interested in developing robust, co-developed evaluation frameworks for complex interventions, and has been involved in several such projects in the Liverpool City Region.

You can read more about Caroline’s research work here:





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