Ms Debra Westlake
PenCLAHRC Research Fellow
Institute of Translational & Stratified Medicine (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry)
Research Assistant CLAHRC
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Speech Pathology and Therapy, Manchester, UK ; MA (Latin American Studies) Chicago, USA.
I am primarily a qualitative researcher, with a specific interest in ethnography and its application to mixed methods studies.I work in applied health service research that seeks to make research findings accessible to patients and practitioners and inform practice.
I joined Plymouth University in May, 2014 to work on the ethnographic component of the Avoidable Acute Admissions Study. While with PenCLAHRC I have also completed a qualitative evaluation of a third sector organisation’s project, which provides a phone link service to socially isolated groups within the seafaring community.
My interests are in people’s and practitioners’ views and experiences of health services and the participation of patients in the development of services. I am currently working on an evaluation of Integrated Personal Commissioning across the South West and am also part of the NHS England Evaluation team for this initiative.
Before coming to Plymouth, I worked for the Department of General Practice, University of Liverpool, on a qualitative study of GP attitudes to completing benefit claim forms, and for the Health and Community Care Research Unit (HaCCRU) at the University of Liverpool, on a mixed methods project that examined the impact of health policy on family management of health. I was also employed by The Children’s Society to design and carry out a study of community child health needs, commissioned by purchasers and providers of local health services.
I initially qualified as a Speech and Language therapist, working in the health, education and voluntary sectors. I am the co-founder of a project in Peru and a UK registered charity (Westnell UK in partnership with Sembrando Juntos, Peru www.sembrandojuntos.org ) that provides preschool education and community development for families in shanty towns of Lima. Working internationally has allowed me to learn about the joys and challenges of applying practice across cultures and sensitised me to local variation in implementation. My understanding of the role of the community in informing health and parenting practices in families has been key to this work.
Qualitative methods, ethnography, child and family health, emergency care, international community development
Key publications are highlightedJournals