Dr Tracey Parkin

Dr Tracey Parkin

Associate Professor

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)




As programme lead, I enjoy working with the dietetic team to ensure that we deliver a quality programme. I have an active teaching role, leading the 'dietetics in practice' module in year 3 as well as leading communication skills/behaviour change training across the 3 years of the programme and at postgraduate level, as well as supervising dissertations for UG, Masters and PhD students. I maintain an active role in delivering clinical supervisory skills training to practice educators across the South West and in researching and developing education to support competency in skill attainment when communicating for behaviour change. In addition, research into self-care management, through structured education programmes and effective consulting skills is ongoing. More recently, I have been focusing on motivation to support behaviour change and have been working with psychologists using functional imagery training (FIT) in the area of weight management.


I graduated from Kings College London with a degree in Nutrition, followed by a postgraduate diploma in dietetics. I went on to work as a dietitian in the NHS, covering a range of dietetic areas before specialising in diabetes. I worked as a diabetes specialist dietitian for 14 years with a strong interest in developing structured education programmes and developing communication skills. I completed my doctorate in 2012 which focuses on "empathy" and "information exchange" within the dietetic consultation. I joined the Dietetics team here at Plymouth in 2006 and have been the programme lead since 2016.  

  • BSc (Hons) Nutrition
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics RD
  • FETC
  • PgCert LTHE
  • FHEA
  • PhD 

Professional membership

  • Member of the British Dietetic Association
  • Registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Member of Diabetes Management and Education Group (DMEG)
  • Member of Diabetes UK
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Roles on external bodies

2009 – ongoing Member of the HEI Placement Network (BDA)

2014–2018 External Examiner – MSc Advanced Diabetes Educator (Children, young people and families) (MDIAB) – Leeds Becket University 

2015 – Member of the Practice Education Working group – for the British Dietetic Association (BDA) 



Teaching interests

I teach undergraduates and postgraduates 

I cover a range of dietetic areas, my specialist areas are:

  • diabetes 
  • communication skills/behaviour change.

I teach communication skills / behaviours for effective working with patients across the 3 years of the dietetic programme. In addition I am interested in supervisory skills training and help deliver education in this area to practice educators across the South West.

Staff serving as external examiners

External Examiner MSc Advanced Diabetes Educator (Children, Young people and Families) (MDIAB), Leeds Becket University 2014-2018



Research interests

My research interest fall into three main areas:

Patient education 

  • Communication skills around one to one consultations
  • Facilitating self care management 
  • Structured education programmes for people with long term/chronic conditions
  • Motivation for long term behaviour change


  • Dietary management of diabetes
  • Prevention of diabetes

Dietetic practice

  • Communication /behaviour change skills training
  • Supervisory skills 
  • Student training - placement education

Research groups

Other research

Motivating for behaviour change using functional imagery training FIT

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Linda Solbrig: Functional Imagery Training, a novel, theory-based motivational intervention for weight-loss (2018)

Grants & contracts

Action AT (Ataxia Telangiectasia) The A-team: Co- guidance and investigating a novel complex home-based intervention to optimise long-term healthy living with ataxia telangiectasia (2019-2023)

PenCLAHRC, £60,000, Andrade J, Parkin T, Jones R. Functional Imagery Training as a personalized e-health intervention for weight loss (PhD studentship for Linda Solbrig) 2015-2017



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Khan M, Cassidy E, Parkin T, Wallace A, Carter B, Paton J, Donohue K, Mitchell S, Quin G & McNarry N (2023) 'The Care and Management of Children and Young People with Ataxia Telangiectasia Provided by Nurses and Allied Health Professionals: a Scoping Review' The Cerebellum , DOI Open access
Whitehead K & Parkin T (2021) 'UK Dietitians’ views on Communication Skills for Behaviour Change: A 10 year follow up survey' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics , DOI Open access
Skinner TC, Joensen L & Parkin T (2019) 'Twenty‐five years of diabetes distress research' Diabetic Medicine , DOI
Parkin TA & Collinson A (2019) 'Observations on the relationship between the dietetic Objective Structured Clinical Exam and placement outcome' Nutrition and Dietetics , DOI Open access
Solbrig L, Whalley B, Kavanagh DJ, May J, Parkin T, Jones R & Andrade J (2018) 'Functional Imagery Training versus Motivational Interviewing for Weight Loss: A randomised controlled trial of brief individual interventions for overweight and obesity' International Journal of Obesity , DOI Open access
Solbrig L, Jones R, Kavanagh DJ, May J, Parkin T & Andrade J (2017) 'People trying to lose weight dislike calorie counting apps and want motivational support to help them achieve their goals' Internet Interventions Open access
Parkin T, de Looy A & Farrand P (2014) 'Greater professional empathy leads to higher agreement about decisions made in the consultation' PATIENT EDUCATION AND COUNSELING 96, (2) 144-150 Author Site , DOI Open access
Parkin T, Looy A & Farrand P (2013) 'An observational study exploring information exchange in consultations' DIABETIC MEDICINE 30, E9-E9
Skinner TC, Barnard K, Cradock S & Parkin T (2007) 'Patient and professional accuracy of recalled treatment decisions in out-patient consultations' Diabetic Medicine 24 (5), 557-560 , DOI
Parkin (2007) 'Effectiveness of a computerised assessment tool to prompt individuals with diabetes to be more active in consultations' Practical Diabetes International 24 (1), 36-41 , DOI
Parkin T, Barnard K, Cradock S, Pettman P & Skinner T (2006) 'Does professional‐centred training improve consultation outcomes?' Practical Diabetes International 23, (6) 253-256 , DOI
Goodchild CE, Skinner TC & Parkin T (2005) 'The value of empathy in dietetic consultations. A pilot study to investigate its effect on satisfaction, autonomy and agreement' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 18, (3) 181-185 , DOI
Parkin (2003) 'Discrepancies between patient and professionals recall and perception of an outpatient consultation' Diabetic Medicine 20 (11), 909-914 , DOI
Cradock S & Parkin T (2002) 'Diabetes education and professional roles' Practical Diabetes International 19, (6) 159-159 , DOI
Parkin (2001) 'An audit of the theoretical basis of education during dietetic consultations with diabetic patients' Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 14 (1), 33-42 , DOI
Parkin T (1997) 'Patient control in dietary management' Prof Nurse 13, (3 Suppl) S7-10 Author Site
Parkin T (1997) 'Promoting dietary change in patients with diabetes' Community Nurse 3, (6) 35-38 Author Site
Presentations and posters
Collinson AO, Parkin T & McMullan M Collinson AO, Parkin T & McMullan M 'Prohealth@home: A feasibility study exploring the use of dietitians communicating with individuals at high risk of diabetes via a web based app to reduce the risk of developing diabetes' Open access


Other academic activities

Contributed to the International Society of Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) Nutrition guidelines on the role of behaviour approaches in diabetes education. Out l2007