Dr Katherine Easton

BSc (Hons), MRes, PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS

School of Health and Related Research

Research Associate

Research Scientist

+44 114 222 0690

Full contact details

Dr Katherine Easton
School of Health and Related Research
Regent Court (ScHARR)
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

I am a health services researcher (13 years) and a chartered psychologist. I have been a member of The University of Sheffield since 2011, working within the School of Health and Related Research and I currently work within the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH) as a Translational Research Scientist. My role within CATCH is to take forward research into the application of digital technology to support mental healthcare. This work is funded by the NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research (CLAHRC). I specialise in facilitating and develop collaborations with industrial partners and research into the co-design, user-testing, realistically evaluation and implementation of technology supported health and social care services. I collaborate widely across the University and with charity and NHS organisations nationally.

Previous to joining the University of Sheffield I worked as a researcher in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at the University of Manchester, where I also completed an MRC/ESRC funded doctorate exploring anxiety in individuals with a diagnosis of heart failure. I gained my BSc (Hons) and Masters of Research, both in Psychology at Manchester University in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

Research interests

My research interests lie in addressing health inequalities for vulnerable groups, particularly those with mental health needs, the elderly and individuals with long term conditions, with a focus on the psychosocial barriers and benefits of innovative digital technologies. In 2017 I was awarded the Faculty Early Career Researcher Prize for Research.

Currently I am working on projects that involve the use of artificially intelligent virtual agents to support older adults with LTCs to optimally self-manage (Avachat NIHR YH CLAHRC). In the past year I have been exploring adverse events and benefits of using online peer support to improve mental health in collaboration with National Mind, and co-designing and developing an electronic platform to support university students with emotional resilience in collaboration with the University counselling service. I am a partner in a recent James Lind Alliance Priority Setting partnership on Digital Technology and Mental Health, led by NIHR Mental Health Medtech cooperative, Nottingham.

I lead a number of consultancy projects and translational research projects with industry/third sector, including the co-design and develop of a digital application to support engagement in cognitive analytic therapy, the evaluation of the Sheffield Online Mental Health guide and a £876k SBRI funded phase 2 project in the area of falls prevention and protection.

Current projects

Currently I am funded by the YH CLAHRC (NIHR) to develop research into the use of digital technology supported mental healthcare. I work across the university and externally to develop and deliver a number of projects in this area. I am passionate about knowledge transfer and engaging the public in the research that I conduct to improve the quality and reach of that work.

  • Development of a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement bid. £2000.00 ScHARR research stimulation prize (PI)
  • Avachat: virtual autonomous agent for supported self-management in COPD. £34,040.00, YH CLAHRC Research Capacity Fund 2017-18 Connected Mental Health (CI)
  • Technology Assisted Recovery Goal Elicitation and Transaction (TARGET) £20,000.00 Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS RCF (CI)
  • Sheffield online mental health guide with Recovery Enterprises £350,000.00 Sheffield Borough Council (CI)
  • Resilience MOOC with Sheffield counselling service Evaluation £35k (CI)
  • Improving mental health and reducing stigma through technology and peer providers of self-help in LMICs. £1000.00 GCRF pump priming (co-PI)
  • LifeAide: Feasibility study of an electronic care and wellness plan. £11,726.00 IKE (CI)
  • Health Mapper: clinical validation of mobile app for self-monitoring of multiple symptoms. £18,870 Collaborative R & D funding (CI)
  • Techno Therapies: showcase of technology to support wellbeing Faculty Innovation Fund £2000 (PI)
  • Longhand Data Ltd Industrial Research Sabbatical. Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) at the University of Sheffield funded sabbatical (PI £12,550).
  • RICHARD Project; a € 2,750. 000 European Commission Seventh Framework Programme funded partnership between 15 partners involving industry, academia, the health service and local government across 4 European clusters; Italy, United Kingdom, Sweden and Poland. www.richardproject.eu/richard/
  • Ready, Steady Go Toolkit for telehealth. I am involved in research to inform reiterations of the Ready, Steady, Go Toolkit; an output from the RICHARD Project/ SY CLAHRC to guide the implementation of telehealth.
  • Qualitative study exploring GP’s experiences of, and attitudes towards the use of telehealth in primary care (NIHR CLAHRC SY funded).
  • “VirtEX – Virtual Extra Care”. Technology Strategy Board, Assisted Living Innovation Platform. £2 million. The project involved designing and testing the efficacy of a prototype telecare tool to improve social inclusion for individuals in assisted living.
  • Consultancy work a large international telecoms organisation. The output from this work included three comprehensive reports, all of which I was primary author on and in addition supported a 2020Health publication ‘Telehealth: What can the NHS learn from experience at the US Veterans Health Administration?’ Cruickshank (2012).
Teaching activities

I am currently the deputy module leader for HAR680 Contemporary Health Psychology and Behaviour Change module in the Master in Public Health. I have supervised numerous masters dissertations and directed a masters module in telehealth. I teach and facilitate at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the following areas:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research design & methods
  • Literature searching
  • Systematic review methods
  • Ethics and governance
  • Technology in healthcare
  • Health Psychology

I enjoy group work, blended learning and distance learning. I also have experience at delivering educational sessions to lay groups, service-users and patients/public.

Professional activities

Roles within the University and externally

  • Chartered member of the British Psychological Society
  • Member of ScHARR Internationalisation Committee
  • Co-founder of the TechnoTherapies research network at the University of Sheffield
  • Honorary Researcher at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • President of the British Lung Foundation Sheffield breathe easy support group

Social responsibility

Throughout my research career I have worked with charity and NHS organisations to support people to maintain and improve their mental health. These organisations include: Sheffield Flourish, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Trust, Sheffield Breath easy BLF group, National Mind, the Hearing Voices Network Manchester branch, Anxiety UK, Sheffield MIND, and Sheffield 50 Plus.

  • Co-production of an animation to explain the role of IAPT and how to access its services (2018 & 2016 with Sheffield Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
  • Evaluation of co-production of the Sheffield Online Mental health guide (2017-2018 Sheffield Flourish)
  • Evaluation of anger management course for males (2017 Sheffield Mind)
  • Exploring older adult’s views on a new form of remote delivered health and social care support (2016 with Sheffield 50 Plus)
  • Evaluation of a mobile app to support people with stress and anxiety reduction (2015 with Sheffield MIND)
  • Set-up and facilitated the female self-help group at Manchester HVN (2002-2004)
  • Investigating association between trauma and auditory hallucinations: investigating the role of dissociation, autobiographical memory and metacognitive beliefs (MRes dissertation with HVN and National MIND)
  • Easton, K., Lidbetter, N., Gask, L. & Lovell, K. (2007) Evaluation of telephone therapy for anxiety: increasing access and availability’. Service evaluation report for Anxiety UK
  • Easton, K. (2007) NPS Psychological therapies questionnaire findings. Anxious Times, 64, pp 17-21.