I have made the (small) jump from the Brindley Building to the Science Centre and I am extremely pleased to have joined the Psychology team here at Staffordshire University as a Lecturer. After completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Durham in 2005, my journey at Staffordshire University began. I completed my MSc in Health Psychology here in 2006 before starting my PhD in 2007, under the supervision of Dr Christopher Gidlow, Prof David Clark-Carter, Prof Sarah Grogan and Prof Rachel Davey. My PhD research focused on the use of a multi-component behaviour change intervention to promote physical activity in the area of Sandwell, West Midlands. My PhD was carried out in an applied setting working with Sandwell Primary Care Trust.
Following this, I was involved in the evaluation of a community development project through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Staffordshire University and NHS Stoke-on-Trent. The My Health Matters project focused on addressing the underlying social and environmental determinants of health using a bottom-up, asset-based approach. My role involved investigating the use of community-led interventions to reduce health inequalities relating to physical activity and healthy eating in Stoke-on-Trent using community-based participatory research and a socio-ecological approach. During this time I also began my Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University.
More recently, I was employed as a postdoctoral Research Officer in the Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research investigating the links between exposure to natural outdoor environments and human health and well-being across Europe – PHENOTYPE.
Therefore, I have a wide range of research interests in the field of health psychology and beyond, including: the evaluation of health promotion programs using both quantitative and qualitative research methods; reducing health inequalities through community-led interventions and partnership working; the social and environmental determinants of health; and understanding the positive health effects of different environments.
Throughout my time at Staffordshire University, both as a student and a member of staff, I have always found it to be an incredibly supportive and welcoming place to be and the Psychology team has continued this pattern. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the students over the past few weeks, they are a great bunch and I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into teaching. If you’d like to know a little more about me and my research, please follow me on twitter @gemma_hurst.
The School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise at Staffordshire University is a leading School in the UK for Psychology degrees and is situated in the heart of England. We produce internationally recognized research which is driving knowledge in the area of Psychology forward and we work with a variety of healthcare providers, charities, international sports teams and private sector organisations.