Third Gap

The Third Gap programme is currently working on a wide range of research projects.

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 Emma Cockcroft (Research Fellow) is funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC). Emma supports involvement in PenCLAHRC research, and conducts research into involvement and engagement. Emma has a background in Sport and Health Science, and an interest in physical activity and health in childhood.

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 Research. She undertakes research about health service delivery and patient experience, using qualitative and mixed methods.

She is currently qualitative lead on two NIHR funded studies:

  1. A process evaluation for a randomised controlled trial of a facilitated home-based rehabilitation intervention in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and their caregivers: the REACH-HFpEF Study (funded by the NIHR, and following on from a previous process evaluation of Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH HF))
  2. Optimising key components of the community mental health policy through implementation of the PARTNERS intervention: learning about personalisation, integration and team-based supervision (funded by the NIHR and following on from a process evaluation of PARTNERS2: collaborative care for people with severe mental illness).

Julia has recently been involved in SAMUEL: Use of simulation and machine learning to identify key levers for maximising the disability benefit of intravenous thrombolysis in acute stroke pathways, also funded by the NIHR. She contributes to both postgraduate (MSc in Health Research Methods, Health Data Science and Healthcare Leadership and Management programmes) and undergraduate education (BMBS Medicine and BSc Medical Sciences) in the College of Medicine and Health. She supervises four PhD students.

Julia is involved in the Qualitative Research Reference Group at the University of Exeter - whose aim is to raise the profile of qualitative methods within the college and more widely, and the Qualitative Research Forum - an informal group for staff and students undertaking qualitative research. With colleagues she provides Qualitative Research Advice Clinics to support less experienced qualitative researchers.

Dr Ruth Gwernan-Jones is a Senior Research Fellow currently working on a process evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial of the PARTNERS2 collaborative care intervention for people living with psychosis. Her areas of speciality include qualitative and mixed methods approaches to primary research and synthesis (including realist approaches), and experiences of mental health-related disabilities. She delivers undergraduate and postgraduate sessions on qualitative methods in the College of Medicine and Health and is on the team of qualitative researchers who offer Qualitative Research Advice Clinics.

Starting in May 2021 and continuing for one year, Julia and Ruth will be involved in a follow-up project funded by NIHR TRiP (Translating Research into Policy). It will explore how key components of the Partners intervention can be implemented within the NHSE transformation programme currently being conducted at twelve community sites. We will explore how supervision can support personalised responses to individuals with a range of complex mental health problems, enabling policy makers to operationalise the vision of integrative and personalised health care goals. Building on our established involvement in the NHSE transformation programme, engagement and dissemination will be extended from co-design with the two pilot sites, to sharing findings and learning with all twelve NHSE transformation pilot sites, and wider clinical, academic and service user networks.

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.

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.

Georgina Macdonald (Placement Student) is a medical sciences student currently on a placement with the patient and public involvement team. She supports the PPI team assisting with enabling and supporting members of the public to collaborate on research studies. She is working on a qualitative analysis project evaluating the impact of patient and public involvement in the INTERPRESS study.

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.