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PhD Projects and PhD researchers

Zorana Alimpic

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.



Reham Almabadi

PhD candidate in nursing studies at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Dr. Larry Doi and Dr. Colin Chandler. Dedicated to advancing self-management of sickle cell disease in Saudi Arabia. My PhD project is titled (Codesign of a Theory- and Evidence-Based Toolbox of Self-Management Interventions to Support University Students With Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) In Saudi Arabia).
I hold a bachelor degree in nursing science from King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2012-2016). Additionally, I earned a master’s degree with distinction in advanced nursing science from the University of Glasgow (2019-2020).
I worked as a paediatric nurse for one year at the International Medical Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Additionally, I was a quality coordinator at the ministry of health in Saudi Arabia. Currently, I am a teaching assistant at King Saud University in Riyadh who sponsored me for my PhD studies.



Huimin Chong

Profile photo of Huimin Chong (PhD student)

Huimin joined the SCPHRP in 2023. She is a PhD student supervised by Dr Andrew Williams and Dr Elaine Haycock-Stuart. With a solid background in clinical research, Huimin has contributed to studies on adverse reactions during intraperitoneal hyperthermic perfusion chemotherapy for gynaecological malignant tumours. Her current PhD research delves into parental considerations on the HPV vaccination across children’s different genders.

Before her PhD study, Huimin gained valuable experience in medical management and public health policy as an officer in the Public Health Department of the Shenzhen Health Commission, China, and holds a nursing license in the country.


Gosaye Fida

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.



Wako Golicha

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.



Sidra Ishfaq

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.

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Xiaoyang Li

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.



Sandra Peniston

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.


Chris Sweeney

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

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. 




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