Professor Penny Curtis PhD MA BA RN RM

Penny CurtisProfessor of Child and Family Health and Wellbeing

The School of Nursing & Midwifery
C07, Barber House
387 Glossop Road
Sheffield S10 2HQ

Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 2040

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My professional background was in midwifery practice and, following completion of a PhD in sociology, I held academic contracts in a number of Universities before taking up a post in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. I am also currently Director of the University of Sheffield´s interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth.

I am closely involved in research and teaching relating to the health and the wellbeing of children, young people and families. Utilising participatory methods in order to facilitate the active involvement of children, my research has examined children´s experiences of hospitals with a particular focus on the built environment and hospital design. Outputs include a toolkit of assessment tools for healthcare professionals, architects and planners, and children themselves. I have also been awarded a 2017 Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to explore Arts for Health in children’s hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.

A further strand of research concerns children´s eating practices and their family food environments. My interest in families has focused on the day to day practices of everyday life in diverse family contexts including families with a child with obesity. Current research is also examining the experiences of young people with Juvenile Huntington’s Disease and their family carers.

Research Interests

My research interests are broadly focused on childhood and youth, children´s lives, intergenerational relations and the health and well-being of families.

Professional activities

I am a series editor for Palgrave's Studies in Childhood and Youth and am also a member of the International Board of the Journal of Early Childhood Research.  I review for a broad range of other international social science and nursing journals as well as international journals concerned with childhood and youth.

Current projects

Mixed-Realities Play Kit to Prepare Children Aged 4-10 for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Jan 2019 - Aug 2020. Led by Leeds based company Dubit, the project brings together expertise from the University of Sheffield, the Royal College of Art, Glasgow School of Art and Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The project will produce an innovative digital kit for preparing children aged 4-10 years of age to undertake an MRI. The Mixed Reality play kit will be suitable for use in the home and in the hospital setting and will include cutting edge augmented and virtual reality play opportunities which will guide children, and their parents/s, through the entirety of the patient journey.

Assessment and satisfaction of services for Juvenile Huntingdon’s Disease and modelling alternative methods of service organisation. NIHR RfPB (Competition 20) With Dr O Quarrel (PI) Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust + colleagues (2014- 2018). This is a mixed methods study including interviews and questionnaires to elicit the views of young people with Juvenile Huntingdon’s Disease, and their family carers, on current and future service provision.

Wellcome Trust. Why is youth alcohol consumptions falling? A mixed methods investigation of changing drinking cultures across recent generations (PI Holmes, ScHARR) (2018- 2022).

MRC Confidence in Concept. The development of immersive, interactive Virtual Reality environments for children’s upper limb and hand rehabilitation (With Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS FT and Sheffield Hallam University) (2017-2018).

Key publications

Journal articles