Alexis Foster (nee Kilgarriff) BA Politics and Social Studies (1st Class Honours), Masters in Public Health (Distinction)

NIHR Doctoral Research FellowAlexis Foster

School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)
University of Sheffield
30 Regent Street
Sheffield S1 4DA

Room: 3012, Regent Court
Telephone number: (+44) (0)114 222 6129

ORCID 0000-0002-7978-2791


I started working as a research assistant at ScHARR in January 2011 in the Mental Health Group. I was involved in a number of projects including statistical analysis, reviews, qualitative research and stakeholder consultation. During this time I completed my Masters in Public Health gaining a distinction. This included a dissertation exploring whether client-associated variables are related to deterioration in psychological therapies.

Between February 2012 and 2015 I worked in the Medical Care Research Unit. I worked as a research associate, project managing the South Yorkshire site of the Healthlines Randomised Controlled Trial, which tested the effectiveness of telehealth for long-term condition management. As part of this role I was involved in interviewing trial participants and health professionals about their experience of the intervention. I was awarded a grant to run a qualitative study alongside the trial, where I conducted interviews with patients regarding the acceptability of telehealth in their future healthcare.

Between 2015 and 2017 I worked as a trial manager at the Sheffield Clinical Trials Research Unit. I managed the Journeying through Dementia Randomised Controlled Trial, which is exploring the effectiveness of group support for people in the early stages of dementia.

Since January 2017 I have been working as an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow, attached to the MCRU and the CLAHRC Health Economics and Outcome Measurement theme. My research is a mixed methods study using a community based participatory approach to explore the facilitators and barriers to implementing the routine use of outcome measures in third sector wellbeing organisations. Alongside the research I will be undertaking a Doctorate.

Alongside the fellowship, I am undertaking consultancy work with two national third sector organsations. This work is focusing on evaluating their wellbeing programmes, specifically focusing on assessing the impact on social isolation and loneliness.

Before joining ScHARR I worked in a number of health related roles including:
• Health Promotion Trainee- NHS Sheffield
• Development Officer- Sheffield Local Involvement Network
• Team Leader and Carer Support Officer- Rethink

These roles enabled me to develop my skills and knowledge of project management, health improvement initiatives, service evaluation, health inequalities and patient and public involvement.

Research Interests

My key area of interest is how to improve the evidence base of wellbeing interventions, such as implementing routine measurement and improving the quantity and scale of research on wellbeing interventions.

Alongside this, I am interested in evaluating self-management interventions for long-term conditions.

I have experience of a range of research methods including qualitative, randomised controlled trials and secondary analysis. I am passionate about using mixed methods and I am interested in how research is implemented into health services.

Teaching Interests

I am involved in delivering various aspects of Master level programs at ScHARR including:

• Delivering teaching and assessing students undertaking the Using policy to strengthen health systems module.
•Delivering teaching on the dissertation module for the Masters in Public Health students
• Supervising and marking dissertations on the Masters in Public Health, Masters in Health Services Research and Masters in Clinical Research.
• Personal tutor to Master’s level students.
• Providing research attachments for undergraduate medical students.
• Leading a peer network for supervisors of qualitative post-graduate dissertations.

Much of my teaching involves taking a collaborative approach with community organisations, providing opportunities for students to get hands on experience of addressing health and wellbeing through taking a holistic wellbeing approach. For example, organising dissertation placements at local charities.

Professional Activities

I am a member of ScHARR’s Athena SWAN Committee.

I set up and currently lead the Wellbeing Intervention Network. This is a cross departmental network which shares knowledge and develops collaborations amongst people interested in wellbeing interventions.

I am on the Executive for the Centre for Wellbeing in Public Policy.

Current Projects

I am currently a NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow leading a study on the routine use of outcome measures in third sector wellbeing organisations.

Conferences and seminars

2018- National Patient Reported Outcome Measures conference- Identifying the facilators and barriers to implementing Patient Reported Outcome Measures: A systematic review of reviews.

2018- Knowledge Mobilization Conference- Taking a collaborative measurement approach.

2018- South West Prescribing Conference- What do we know about the impact of social prescribing- Keynote speaker

2015 - Health Services Research Network Annual Conference - The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of telehealth for depression.

2014- National Conference of the Society of Academic Primary Care-What can we do for patients we don't know how to help?-Could social prescribing be the answer?

2013- Regional Conference of the Society of Academic Primary Care-Healthlines: Exploring the effectiveness of telehealth support for longer-term conditions

2012 and 2013- Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust-Doing collaborative research for patient benefit: The IQuESTs Study-Improving quality and effectiveness of services, treatments and self-management

2013- ScHARR Seminar- Are certain clients more likely have an unplanned ending or experience reliable deterioration when engaging in psychological therapy?


NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship- £264,554 to explore the facilitators and barriers to implementing the routine use of outcome measures in third sector wellbeing organisations.

NHS Solent- £12,498 to develop and lead a research project exploring patients’ views on the acceptability of telehealth.

South Yorkshire and Humber Research Design Service- £450 to involve patients and the public in developing a research proposal exploring the use of outcome measures in third sector wellbeing activities.


Alexis Foster is based in MCRU in Health Services Research.

Please follow this link for full publications list.

Journal articles