Dr Rachel O'Hara

BSc, MSc, CPsychol

Population Health, School of Medicine and Population Health

Senior Lecturer in Public Health

Chartered Occupational Psychologist

+44 114 222 0680

Full contact details

Dr Rachel O'Hara
Population Health, School of Medicine and Population Health
2nd Floor
Regent Court (ScHARR)
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

I am a Chartered Occupational Psychologist with a specific interest in occupational health and safety. My first degree was in Human Communication, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Psychology and an MSc in Occupational Psychology. In 1999 I completed a part-time doctorate at the University of Sheffield, studying the management of musculoskeletal pain at work.

I have been at the University of Sheffield since 2006 and am a Senior Lecturer in Public Health. I previously worked at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) conducting research on safety and risk management. Prior to that I was employed as lecturer in Psychology and Communication Skills at Imperial College School of Medicine.

Current and recent projects

  • Goodacre S, Fletcher A, Hutchinson A, Nicholl J, Coster J, Gibson A, O'Hara R. Safety for Patients through Quality Review (SPQR). DOH PRP (16-02-03). Jun 2017-May 2019. £551,743.
  • O'Cathain A, Coster J, Jacques R, James C, Knowles E, Marsh M, O'Hara R, Siriwardena N, Turner J, Williams J, Hughes R. Understanding variation in rates of ambulance service ‘non-conveyance of patients to an emergency department’. NIHR/HS&DR 13/54/75 Jan 2015-April 2017, £385,634.
  • O’Hara R, O'Keefe C, Johnson M. Pre-hospital care for patients in the Y&H region presenting to the Ambulance Service with issues related to mental health problems. CLAHRC RCF Avoidable Attendances and Admissions theme in collaboration with the mental health theme. Jul 2014-Mar 2015, £25,000.
  • O'Hara R, Mason S, Turner J, Siriwardena A N, Quinn T, Weymann A, Shewan J, Hirst E.  Decision making and safety in emergency care transitions.
    NIHR/SDO 10/1007/53, May 2011-October 2013, £168,690.
  • Parry G, Barkham M, Curran J, Saxon D, Chambers E, O'Hara R.  Understanding and preventing adverse effects of psychological therapies (AdEPT), NIHR/RfPB, January 2011 - May 2014, £262,000.
  • Mason S, O'Keefe C, O'Hara R, Carter A, Stride C, Needham G, Fletcher A, Grant J, Darlison B.  The impact of foundation doctor training on workforce wellbeing and patient care (EDiT), NIHR/SDO 08/1819/221, August  2008- July 2012, £474,678.
Research interests

My current research interests include:

  • Patient safety
  • Human factors in healthcare
  • Safety culture

I am interested in supervising research students in topics/areas such as Patient Safety, Organisational Culture and Safety Culture in Healthcare.


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All publications

Journal articles


  • Weyman A & O'Hara R (2019) Decision-Making at the Front Line In Wankhade P, McCann L & Murphy P (Ed.), Critical Perspectives on the Management and Organization of Emergency Services Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Weyman A & O’Hara R (2019) Decision-Making at the Front Line, Critical Perspectives on the Management and Organization of Emergency Services (pp. 200-216). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Lunt J, O'Hara R & Cummings R (2007) Changing Occupational Health Behaviour. In Houdmont J & McIntyre S (Ed.), Occupational Health Psychology: European Perspectives on Research, Education and Practice (pp. 115-141). Nottingham, UK: Nottingham University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers


  • Coster J, O’Hara R, Glendinning R, Nolan P, Roy D & Weyman A (2022) PP38 Impact of working through COVID-19 on ambulance staff resilience and intention to leave the NHS: a mixed methods study. RIS download Bibtex download
  • O’Hara R, Bishop-Edwards L, Knowles E & O’Cathain A (2019) PP15 Non-technical skills in the delivery of ambulance service telephone advice. RIS download Bibtex download



Research group

PhD Students

  • Loren De Freitas: Evaluating an emergency department using process mapping
  • Habiba Saddiq: Obstetric adverse events and contributory factors in Nigeria.
  • Paul Griffiths: Organisational culture, quality improvement and efficiency savings in the NHS.
Teaching interests

My current teaching responsibilities include:

  • Theme lead for Public Health teaching (Behavioural and Population Health Sciences) in Phase 2a and 3b of the Undergraduate Medical Degree (MBChB).
  • Supervision of masters dissertations
  • Supervision of postgraduate research students.

My teaching interests and activities are in the areas of Psychology Applied to Medicine and Health Behaviour, Patient Safety, Evidence Based Medicine and Critical Appraisal.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Member of the British Psychological Society
  • Member of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology
  • Associate Member of the Ergonomics Society