I began my career as a Registered General Nurse and later trained and worked as a Health Visitor.
As a mature student I gained a first degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in the Sociology of Science focussing upon the public understanding of biotechnology in modernity. As part of the process I became involved with two European Commission funded groups for a number of years concerned with the nexus of relationships between States, industry, the health care system, professionals and various 'publics' understanding of biotechnological products.
My first post-doctoral position focussed upon the institutional notion of 'genetic literacy' or the public understanding of genetics in relation to heart disease and schizophrenia. This critically considered both 'lay' and professional understandings of the role of the 'new' genetics.
I then took up a lectureship in Northern Ireland at Queen's University of Belfast teaching both Sociology and Social Policy in health care before working in Bristol and later in Dublin. As my career developed I moved between lecturing and qualitative research to project management which spanned the areas of risk, medical research ethics and science education, inequalities in health , pubic understanding and public engagement of science and health. My most recent role as project director involved investigating the health of Irish Travellers in Ireland funded by the Dept. of Health and Children in Dublin and the DHSSPS in Northern Ireland.
My current project with the Division is 'Evaluating the contribution of Community Engagement to the impact on health inequalities of the national regeneration initiative New Deal for Communities'