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The Third Gap - What We Do

Kate Boddy (Research Fellow) funded by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula (PenARC) working within the PPI team delivering practical PPI and researching novel applications for PPI such as health economics and operational research. Kate is interested in making public involvement more inclusive. She has recently worked on two studies supporting women with very young children to become involved in research. She is currently leading the PPI work on HUMS: “Ensuring effective treatments are available to people with Multiple Sclerosis: addressing the value for money issue” funded by the MS Society.

Dr Jessica Bollen is a mixed methods Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the College for Medicine and Health. Jessica has a research interest in improving health outcomes and quality of life for people with chronic conditions such as stroke, heart failure and physical frailty. With a degree in Human Biology and Sport and Exercise Science, Jessica has a keen interest in the human body, how it functions and the changes that can be brought about by exercise, aging, diseases and disabilities. Through working in gyms specialising in rehabilitation, an area of particular interest, Jessica was intrigued by individuals' attitudes to rehabilitation programs and their outcome expectations. This led to her applying for a PhD where the end result was to create a valid and reliable questionnaire for stroke survivors to determine which individuals may be having particular problems conducting their rehabilitation programmes. More recently, she has become interested in physical frailty and how this can be assessed in a clinical setting.

Since her PhD, Jessica worked on the multisite REtirement in ACTion (REACT) trial which evaluated the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a group, community based physical exercise programme for people beginning to show signs of mobility related disability. More recently, Jessica was a Trial Manager in the University of Exeter Clinical Trials Unit (ExeCTU) having worked on a number of trials including a nursing intervention for nurses working with patients admitted with COVID. She is also involved in supporting Professor Mark Tarrant with some of his work with stroke survivors. In November 2021, Jessica joined the Third Gap research group working for Dr Julia Frost to work on the Process Evaluation of the REACH-HFpEF trial.

Linda Dumchen joined Peninsula Medical School in March 2009. She provides administrative support to a number of colleagues in the College of Medicine and Health: Dr Vashti Berry, Professor David Llewellyn, Professor Chris Morris, Professor Marios Politis and his team (based in the London office of the CMH), Professor Jo Thompson-Coon and also to members of the Third Gap Team.

Dr Julia Frost leads the Third Gap research group and is a Senior Lecturer in Health Services. She undertakes research about health service delivery and patient experience, using qualitative and mixed methods. She is currently working on 5 externally funded studies:

  • MRC Innovation Scholarship: Widening patient engagement for orphan drugs trials (UKRI MRC funded)
  • A randomised controlled trial of a facilitated home-based rehabilitation intervention in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and their caregivers (REACH-HFpEF – NIHR HTA funded)
  • Optimising key components of the community mental health policy through implementation of the PARTNERS intervention (NIHR PRP funded)
  • Developing Enhanced Assessment and Management of older people living with frailty (DrEAM) (NIHR PDG funded)
  • Use of simulation and machine learning to identify key levers for maximising the disability benefit of intravenous thrombolysis in acute stroke pathways (SAMueL – NIHR HS&DR funded)

Annette Gillett is a Research Associate in the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula (PenARC) Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement team. Her role involves helping to support the effective and meaningful involvement of patients and the public in all stages of health and social care research.

Tanya Hynd is the Patient & Public Involvement (PPI) Community and Engagement Administrator. She supports members of the Peninsula Patient Involvement Group (PenPIG) as well as carrying out administrative tasks for the PPI Team.

Georgia Jenkins is a research assistant within the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula (PenARC) Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Team. Georgia is involved in various projects ensuring that patients and public members are supported in their involvement in the research process, extending from the initial research planning stages to its final dissemination.

Dr Kristin Liabo (Senior Research Fellow) leads the PenARC Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Team. This team supports researchers to involve patients and members of the public in their research, from funding applications through the entire lifecycle of a study and to dissemination. The team runs regular in-house advisory sessions about PPIE which are bookable through the link to PenARC above.

Kristin has worked collaboratively with service users, patients and members of the public since she started out in research with Barnardo's, the children's charity. Her PhD focused on patient involvement in systematic reviews. She has developed creative methods for working collaboratively across disciplines and expertise and published extensively about co-production and involvement in research.

Kristin is Planetary Health module lead on the Masters of Public Health at the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health.

Dr Naomi Morley (Postdoctoral Research Associate) is a Research Associate in the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula (PenARC) Patient and Public involvement team, supporting the coordination of effective involvement and engagement of patients and public members in health research.

Dr Samantha van Beurden is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the College for Medicine and Health with a background in Psychology and Behavioural Medicine. Her work is focused on the development, evaluation, and implementation of health behaviour change interventions and has a particular interest in the utility and uptake of digital health and integrating key stakeholder involvement throughout the lifecycle of interventions. During her PhD she developed the ImpulsePal intervention (a digital eating behaviour change intervention supporting individuals with impulse management) and collaborate with Prof Natalia Lawrence in Psychology to move Food Trainer from a web-based intervention to a smartphone app.

She is currently the lead on an NIHR funded feasibility trial of a digital intervention to promote physical activity among young people with cystic fibrosis (Research for Patient Benefit – Joint-Lead: Prof Craig Williams) which follows on from her work with the Youth Activity Unlimited Team in the Children’s Health and Exercise Centre and a co-applicant on two grants related to the REACH-HF home-based cardiac rehab programme for people with Heart Failure – in which she leads work packages focused on the digital adaptation of the intervention itself (British Heart Foundation) and the facilitator training (NIHR Programme Development Grant). She recently joined the Third Gap research group through her role on the Process Evaluation of the REACH-HFpEF trial led by Dr Julia Frost.