Category / Featured academics

The PhD examiner

Being asked to examine a PhD thesis is a honour for most academics.  As an examiner you always learn something new.  If not about the topic itself, you may learn different ways of applying a research method or new theoretical explanations or even new ideas for supervising your own PhD students.  It is a joy to have an in-depth scientific discussion with a dedicated and motivated candidate. Usually the candidate is a little nervous, especially at the start of the viva, and I see it as one of my tasks as an examiner to help the candidate to relax a little.

Today I had the pleasure of being one of the examiners for a PhD at the University of Maastricht (the Netherlands).   The PhD candidate (now Dr.) Franka Cadée was a little nervous according to her supervisors, although it did not show during the viva.

Interestingly, enough I also felt nervous!  Before today I had examined 50th PhD thesis in seven different countries.  However, I probably had not felt this nervous since my own viva nearly three decades ago.  Why was I nervous?  First, although I am Dutch and I have studied in the Netherlands and the UK, I had never attended a PhD examination in the Netherlands.  And PhD examinations really do differ between the UK and most northern European countries, especially the public defence of the thesis by the candidate in front of examiners, colleagues, friends and family.  Secondly, the candidate today is the president of the ICM (the International Confederation of Midwives).  Of course, this does not make any difference in the examination process, this candidate was treated the same as any other student would have been.  Thirdly, and most importantly, the ICM had globally advertised the public defence of Dr. Cadée’s thesis to midwives, maternity policy-makers, member of International Non-Governmental Organisations and maternity care providers and invited ‘everybody’ to watch on ZOOM.

I really think it was the latter that made me more nervous than the much more private UK PhD viva with perhaps five or six people in a small class room, or, these days, on ZOOM.

Finally, my congratulations to Dr. Franka Cadée on the successful defence of her thesis Twinning, a promising dynamic process to strengthen the agency of midwives.

 

Professor Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

COVID-19 affects research into other diseases

A systematic review published late last week assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on on-going and new clinical trials and research on a range of diseases [1]. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a series of public health policies, including lock down, that have crippled the healthcare systems of many countries. These measures hugely impact on study participants, care providers, researchers, trial sponsors, and research organizations conducting clinical trials. This pandemic has a substantial impact on the trial sites as they experience difficulty in the continuation of trial activities which eventually hampers the progress of the trial and delays study timelines. Most sites are struggling due to delayed subject enrolment, shortfalls in monitoring, and risks of compromised data integrity, and this situation also has a negative impact on the start of future. Researchers are also concerned regarding the delay or cancellations of trials in the pandemic, which will have financial consequences for research organizations/human resources.

According to one survey, about two-thirds of the respondents have stopped or will soon halt subject enrolment in ongoing clinical trials, one-third halted randomization, and fifty percent of respondents are delaying or planning to delay the studies.  Adopting new approaches and understanding the key risk indicators will help managers support trial sites with flexibility and ingenuity. For instance, switching patient site visits to new-trial virtualization, and telemedicine to interact with patients will help manage current clinical trials also beneficial for the post-pandemic era.

 

Reference:

  1. Sathian B, Asim M,  Banerjee I, Pizarro AB, Roy B, van Teijlingen ER, Borges do Nascimento IJ, Alhamad HK.  Impact of COVID-19 on clinical trials and clinical research: A systematic review. Nepal J Epidemiol. 2020;10(3); 878-887

 

New CMMPH nutrition paper published

Congratulations to FHSS authors on the publication of their paper “A Priori and a Posteriori Dietary Patterns in Women of Childbearing Age in the UK” which has been published in the scientific journal Nutrients [1].  The authors highlight that a poor diet quality is a major cause of maternal obesity. They investigated investigate a priori and a-posteriori derived dietary patterns in childbearing-aged women in the United Kingdom. An online survey assessed food intake, physical activity (PA), anthropometry and socio-demographics.  A poor diet quality was found among childbearing-aged women; notably in the younger age category, those of white ethnicity, that were more physically inactive and with a lower socioeconomic background.

The article is Open Access and freely available (click here!).

 

 

Reference:

  1. Khaled, K.; Hundley, V.; Almilaji, O.; Koeppen, M.; Tsofliou, F. (2020) A Priori and a Posteriori Dietary Patterns in Women of Childbearing Age in the UK. Nutrients 202012, 2921.

Academic Targeted Research Scheme (Sustainability, Impact and Consumption): Predator ecology and conservation

As part of the Academic Targeted Research Scheme, I started my new role as Senior Lecturer in Sustainability, Impact and Consumption on the 1st of July this year.

 

My research will focus on predator ecology and conservation and the project funded by the scheme is specifically centred on the porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus). The UK has several species of shark that call our waters home for at least part of the year and many are in dire need of conservation management. Highly mobile, migratory top predators like the porbeagle are important to understand and manage as they play vital roles in nutrient cycling, ecosystem linkage and maintaining food web stability as well as just being incredible species in their own right. Such species are also pretty difficult to study, especially in the marine environment!

Porbeagles are included on IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as critically endangered in Europe and the Northeast Atlantic, largely due to overfishing in commercial fisheries. They are closely related to great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) and share their more mammalian-like features of being warm-bodied and giving birth to live young, though they ‘only’ grow up to roughly 3.5 meters as opposed to the 6-meter white shark. Dorset is emerging as a hotspot for these elusive animals, which migrate to our shores in the summer months. They are proving to be a popular target in the catch and release recreational fishery, which provides a valuable opportunity to learn more about them.

Under Home Office licence, I’ll be joining recreational fishing trips and collecting small muscle biopsies from porbeagles and other sharks for stable isotope and fatty acid analyses. These analyses will provide insights into the relatively long and short-term diet and habitat use of the sharks, telling us more about their trophic ecology and movement patterns and providing information on how to best manage and protect them.

In addition to joining the angling trips, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of York, I’ll be conducting a survey of recreational shark anglers to gain insight into their perceptions of and attitudes towards UK shark populations and their conservation. In partnership with other external experts, I will also be running best-practice shark handling workshops with the aim of building capacity in the angling community and improving the sustainability of the fishery by maximising the health of released fish.

I am aiming to develop a suite of complementary projects alongside my work on the UK shark recreational fishery and am delighted to have already won some funding for a project on kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) trophic ecology, using stable isotope analysis of feathers to update our understanding of their contemporary diet. Furthermore, I am developing projects on small mustelids and big cats and am very excited to work on such a diverse group of species, conducting high quality research that will result in tangible conservation benefits for biodiversity and society. I am very open to interdisciplinary collaboration and would welcome anyone with ideas to get in touch!

New FHSS nutrition publication

Congratulations to Dr. Jib Acharya on the publication of his latest research paper ‘Exploring Food-Related Barriers and Impact on Preschool-Aged Children in Pokhara, Nepal: A Qualitative Review’ which is based on his PhD research [1].  Dr. Acharya has published several papers [2-3] from his PhD thesis in collaboration with his supervisors, Prof. Jane Murphy, Dr. Martin Hind and Prof, Edwin van Teijlingen.

Congratulations!

 

References:

  1. Acharya, J., van Teijlingen, E., Murphy, J., Hind, M., Ellahi, B., Joshi, A. (2020) Exploring Food-Related Barriers and Impact on Preschool-Aged Children in Pokhara, Nepal: A Qualitative Review, Participation 22(20): 98-110.
  2. Acharya, J., van Teijlingen E., Murphy, J., Hind, M. (2015) Assessment of knowledge, beliefs & attitudes towards healthy diet among mothers in Kaski, Nepal, Participation 17(16): 61-72.
  3. Acharya, J., van Teijlingen E, Murphy, J., Hind, M. (2015) Study of nutritional problems in preschool aged children in Kaski District Nepal, Journal of Multidisciplinary Research in Healthcare 1(2): 97-118. http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/1/560/1/12007_JMRH_Acharya.pdf

 

 

 

New CMMPH midwifery paper

Today the European Journal of Midwifery published our paper ‘Midwives’ views towards women using mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature’.  There are many apps to help women to monitor aspects of their own pregnancy and maternal health. This literature review aims to understand midwives’ perspectives on women self-monitoring their pregnancy using eHealth and mHealth, and establish gaps in research. mHealth (mobile health) is the use of mobile devices, digital technologies for health, health analytics, or tele-health, whilst eHealth (electronic health) is the health care supported by electronic processes.

It established that midwives generally hold ambivalent views towards the use of eHealth and mHealth technologies in antenatal care. Often, midwives acknowledged the potential benefits of such technologies, such as their ability to modernise antenatal care and to help women make more informed decisions about their pregnancy. However, midwives were quick to point out the risks and limitations of these, such as the accuracy of conveyed information, and negative impacts on the patient-professional relationship.  The authors conclude that with COVID-19 making face-to-face maternity service provision more complicated and with technology is continuously developing, there is a compelling need for studies that investigate the role of eHealth and mHealth in self-monitoring pregnancy, and the consequences this has for pregnant women, health professionals and organisations, as well as midwifery curricula.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

Reference:

  1. Vickery, M., Way, S., Hundley, V., Smith, G., van Teijlingen, E., Westwood G. (2020) Midwives’ views women’s use of mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature, European Journal of Midwifery 4: 36 DOI: https://doi.org/10.18332/ejm/126625

500 citations!

I have recently checked my Google Scholar profile and I was delighted to see that one of my papers has received a landmark number of citations – 500.

The paper was published in 2014 in co-authorship with Professors Scott Cohen (formerly at BU and now at the University of Surrey, UK) and Girish Prayag (University of Canterbury, NZ).

Focusing on a review of the literature of one of the most, if not the most researched topic in tourism – consumer behaviour -, and published in a high ranked Journal, I always felt the paper could do well, but never imagined that it could get so much traction.

The paper is scheduled to be part of the forthcoming REF submission.

FHSS PhD student’s poster at prestigious GLOW conference

Today and tomorrow Sulochana Dhakal-Rai will have her poster ‘Factors contributing to rising Caesarean Section rates in South Asia: a systematic review’ online at this year’s GLOW Conference [Global Women’s Research Society Conference].  This year for the first time, this international conference is held completely online.  Sulochana’s PhD project is supervised by Dr. Pramod Regmi, P., Dr. Juliet Wood and Prof Edwin van  Teijlingen at BU with Prof. Ganesh Dangal [Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Kathmandu Model Hospital] who acts as local supervisor in Nepal.  Sulochana has already published two papers from her on-going thesis research [1-2].

References

  1. Dhakal-Rai, S., Regmi, PR, van Teijlingen, E, Wood, J., Dangal G, Dhakal, KB. (2018) Rising Rate of Caesarean Section in Urban Nepal, Journal of Nepal Health Research Council 16(41): 479-80.
  2. Dhakal Rai, S., Poobalan, A., Jan, R., Bogren, M., Wood, J., Dangal, G., Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E., Dhakal, K.B., Badar, S.J., Shahid, F. (2019) Caesarean Section rates in South Asian cities: Can midwifery help stem the rise? Journal of Asian Midwives, 6(2):4–22.

Welcome Dr. Lyle Skains, SL in Health and Science Communication

I am delighted to announce that as of this week Dr. Lyle Skains joins us in FMC, Department of Communication & Journalism, as a Senior Lecturer in Health & Science Communication. Lyle researches and teaches Creative Digital Writing and Science Communication, conducting practice-based research into writing, reading/playing, publishing digital and transmedia narratives, and how these can be used for health and science communication. Her recent digital fiction includes No World 4 Tomorrow for the You & CO2 project, and Only, Always, Never for the Infectious Storytelling project; both works were designed to effect social change. She is the founder of Wonderbox Publishing, which publishes speculative digital fiction, aiming to explore innovations in digital and online publishing and creativity. Her digital fiction can be found at lyleskains.com; articles in ConvergenceDigital Creativity, and Computers and Composition; and books with Cambridge UP (Digital Authorship), forthcoming Emerald (interdisciplinary scicomm) and Bloomsbury (convergent evolution of mainstream digital fiction).

Dr. Skains was appointed under the BU Academic Targeted Research Scheme and will be collaborating with colleagues in the department, faculty, university and beyond to support the further development of our innovative and world-leading scholarship in the areas of Health and Science Communication. You can drop her a line to set up a virtual coffee lskains@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Productive week CMMPH

Some weeks are more productive than others and this week the  academics in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) have been very busy.   Professor Hundley published  a paper  ‘The initiation of labour at term gestation: physiology and practice implications’ with two midwifery colleagues [1].   The further two CMMPH paper accepted this week were systematic reviews: (a)  Perceived Stress and Diet Quality in Women of Reproductive Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis; and (b)  ‘Midwives’ views towards women using mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature’ [2-3].  Fourthly, CMMPH PhD student Sulochana Dhakal-Rai had a poster accepted at this year’s GLOW conference, which will be held, for the first time, online.  This poster based on her PhD ‘Factors contributing to rising caesarean section rates in South Asia: ​a systematic review’ is supervised by Dr. Juliet Wood, Dr. Pramod Regmi, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and Prof.  Ganesh Dangal (based in Nepal).

 

Congratulations!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

 

References:

  1. Hundley V, Downe S, Buckley S (2020) The initiation of labour at term gestation: physiology and practice implications. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology 67: 4-18  https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/best-practice-and-research-clinical-obstetrics-and-gynaecology/vol/67/suppl/C
  2. Khaled K, Tsofliou F, Hundley V, Helmreich R, Almilaji O Perceived Stress and Diet Quality in Women of Reproductive Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Nutrition (in press) 

  3. Vickery M, van Teijlingen E, Hundley V, Smith GB, Way S, Westward G. Midwives’ views towards women using mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature.  European Journal of Midwifery (in press)

Audio Testimonies Symposium at BU (online)

Dr Panos Amelidis, Dr Tom Davis from Experimental Media Research Centre, BU and Dr Thomas Gardner from Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice, UAL, hosted the first Audio Testimonies Symposium at BU on 4-5th July 2020.

This symposium was an attempt to consider the role of Audio Testimony in artistic practice, and explored the ways in which artists use sound to enable new forms of testimony, and create new artistic configurations, which engage public consciousness. The event featured two keynotes and workshop sessions spread over two days.

Keynote 1:  The symposium was opened by a keynote presentation by John Young, Professor of Composition at De Montfort University, who reflected on recorded audio testimonies as agents of meaning through electroacoustic music. Professor Young started from the notion that sound recording is a significant act in itself, and discussed some of the ways in which he has used a range of audio testimonies to explore the experience of war.

Keynote 2: A second keynote presentation was by Amy Wlodarski, Professor of Music at Dickinson College, USA, who talked about her experiences of listening to audio Holocaust testimonies and how she have come to think about the relationship of listening to recorded traumatic memories, specifically the relationship between the witness and the interviewer.

Workshop sessions: Participants worked in small discussion groups of 4-5 people, in which they gave short presentations about how their work related to the theme of the symposium. Participants also brought material that connected their practice to audio testimony and presented this to the group in order to draw links between their own creative practice and emerging themes.

On day two participants attempted to collaborate creatively within their groups and explored ways of presenting their findings and experiences back to the main body of the symposium. The outcomes were amazing successful given that they were constructed in such a short time frame and included, poetry, reflective writing, performance, edited audio, pre-recorded testimonies and more.

The groups were coordinated by six group facilitators: John Young (keynote speaker) Salomé Voegelin (Professor of Sound at the London College of Communication), Cathy Lane Professor of Sound Arts at the London College of Communication and Director of CRiSAP), Dr Mark-Peter Wight (Post-Doctoral Research Arts at the London College of Communication), Dr Thomas Gardner, Dr Tom Davis and Dr Panos Amelidis.

Building Strong Primary Health Care in Nepal

New  BU co-authored article ‘Building Strong Primary Health Care to Tackle the Growing Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in Nepal’ will be published soon [1].  This paper has been accepted by the international journal Global Health Action (published by Taylor & Francis).  The international authorship comprises Nepal, Denmark and the UK.

Nepal is currently facing a double burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and communicable diseases, with rising trends in the former. This situation will add great pressure to already fragile health systems and pose a major challenge to the country’s development unless urgent action is taken. The paper argues that while the primary health care approach offers a common platform to effectively address NCDs through preventive and curative interventions, its potential is not fully tapped in Nepal. In line with the Alma-Ata and Astana declarations, the authors propose an integrated approach for Nepal, and other low-and middle-income countries, including six key reforms to enhance the primary care response to the increasing burden of NCDs.  These six key areas are: (1) Life-course approach to addressing NCDs; (2) Task shifting for NCD risk factor management; (3) Strengthening informal care givers; (4) Strengthening quality of PHC and health systems;  (5) Establish strategic information management system; and (6) Healthcare financing.

Publication Cover

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Reference:

  1. Gyawali, B., Khanal, P., Mishra, S.R., van Teijlingen, E., Meyrowitsch, D.W. (2020) Building Strong Primary Health Care to Tackle the Growing Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in Nepal, Global Health Action (accepted) https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2020.1788262

 

BU Dementia paper published today

Today the international sociology journal Sociological Research Online (SAGE) published the paper  ‘Dementia as Zeitgeist: Social Problem Construction and the Role of a Contemporary Distraction’  [1].  Using notions of social problem construction and sociologies of legitimacy, this article explores dementia as Zeitgeist that has captured imaginations but as such is contingent and therefore precarious building an edifice that may be limited and may occlude dangers for people living with dementia.  This paper is written by two BU academics: Prof. Jonathan Parker (Department of Social Sciences & Social Work) and Dr. Vanessa Heaslip (Department of Nursing Science) and former one BU staff  member Dr. Clare Cutler .  Clare is now at the Wessex Institute for Health Research & Development.

 

Congratulations

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH