Dr Helen Eborall

Lecturer in Social Science Applied to Health

Helen Eborall 2019Social Science Applied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) Group

Health Sciences
University of Leicester
George Davies Centre
University Road 
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5400
Email: hce3@le.ac.uk

Personal details

My first degree was a BSc in Psychology at the University of Warwick. After graduating, I worked as a youth worker, which triggered my interest in and passion for addressing socioeconomic inequalities. I picked this up in my MSc in Health Psychology at the University of Surrey, undertaking a dissertation focused on school pupils’ habits and attitudes towards breakfast, in the context of a piloting scheme of funding school breakfast clubs.

My interest in social inequalities led me to the sociology of health and illness, and I moved to the University of Edinburgh to undertake a PhD: ‘Lay attitudes towards cardiovascular risk in the context of screening, prevention and trial participation’.

I extended my research in screening, first as a postdoctoral Research Psychologist at the Primary Care Unit at the University of Cambridge on projects investigating the psychological impact and experience of screening for type 2 diabetes, and second through an ESRC/MRC interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellowship (also at the University of Cambridge).

I joined the SAPPHIRE Group in September 2008, and soon began collaborating with colleagues in the Diabetes Research Centre, enabling me to continue to undertake research relating to screening and prevention, and develop an interest in self-management of chronic conditions. With SAPPHIRE colleague Natalie Armstrong, I edited a special issue of the journal Sociology of Health and Illness in 2012: ‘The Sociology of Medical Screening: Critical Perspectives, New Directions.’

My expertise is developing and evaluating complex interventions for the prevention and management of long-term conditions, through rigorous methodology, informed by social and behavioural science.

External activities:

  • Associate Editor of Pilot and Feasibility Studies (2014-2017)
  • Member of Editorial Board Family Practice (2015-present)
  • Member of NIHR RDS East Midlands Regional Management Board (2014-2017)
  • Member of Steering Committees and Advisory board for several trials
  • Co-Convenor of the British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Group Committee (2012-14) and Committee Member (2008-2012)
  • Editor (with Natalie Armstrong) of 18th Monograph of the Sociology of Health and Illness (2012): The Sociology of Medical Screening: Critical Perspectives, New Directions.
  • A regular peer reviewer for several journals and funding bodies



  • Co-Director – Quality and Safety in Healthcare MSc, PGDip, PGCert and associated CPD courses
  • Contribution to the Qualitative Methods Module on the MRes in Applied Health Research, Department of Health Sciences and undergraduate MBChB course module Applied Social, Behavioural and Healthcare Delivery Science





  • National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA). A randomised controlled trial assessing the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of thrice weekly, extended, in-centre nocturnal haemodialysis versus standard care using a mixed methods approach. (Co-Investigator, PI: J. Burton). Jan 2020-Dec 2024.
  • Kidney Research UK. Patient and staff views and experiences of shared haemodialysis care and treatment in minimal care community centres. (Co-Investigator, PI: J. Burton). Jan 2020-Dec 2020.
  • NIHR Public Health Research Programme. A three arm cluster randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the SMArT Work & Life intervention for reducing daily sitting time in office workers. (Co-Investigator, PI: C. Edwardson) current - Feb 2021)
  • NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research, Scalable low-cost interventions to support medication adherence in people prescribed treatment for hypertension in primary care (Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: S. Sutton). June 2017 – May 2022.
  • NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research, Increasing uptake of effective self-management education programmes for type 2 diabetes in multi-ethnic primary care settings (The Embedding Study) (Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: M. Davies). Jan 2016 – Jan 2021.
  • NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programmes, The PRomotion Of Physical activity through structured Education with differing Levels of ongoing Support for those with prediabetes (PROPELS): randomised controlled trial in a diverse multi-ethnic community. (Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: K Khunti). Nov 2011 – May 2018.


  • NIHR CLARHC Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, Exploring the feasibility, acceptability and efficiency of screening and management for depressive symptoms and diabetes distress for the prevention of poor glycaemic control in people with Type 2 diabetes: The 3D Study. (Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: K Khunti) Sept 2011 – April 2014.
  • NIHR CLARHC Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland and NIHR CLARHC for South Yorkshire, To test an integrated approach for promoting effective self-management in people with established type 2 diabetes mellitus - a cluster randomised feasibility trial of the Ongoing DESMOND education programme. (Co-Investigator. Principal Investigators: M Davies M & S Heller) Dec 2010 - Nov 2013.
  • NIHR CLARHC Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland and  Birmingham and Black Country CLARHC, A randomised controlled trial of the DESMOND Foundation Programme for people with established type 2 diabetes in a multi-ethnic population in Leicester and South Birmingham (Co-Investigator. Principal Investigators: M Davies K Khunti, S Gough) April 2010-Oct 2013.
  • NIHR CLARHC Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, The evaluation of two pharmacy based stepwise methods of screening for type 2 diabetes (PRISM). Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: K Khunti. Oct 2008–Sept 2013.
  • NIHR CLARHC Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, The ATTEND study: Assessment of response rates and yields for two tools for early detection of non-diabetic hyperglycaemia and diabetes. Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: K Khunti. Oct 2008-Sept 2013.
  • Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness, Symposium: The Sociology of Medical Screening - Critical Perspectives, New Directions. (Co-Investigator. Principal Investigator: N Armstrong) Oct 2012.
  • DESMOND SMBG RCT ('Does self-monitoring of blood glucose as opposed to urinalysis provide additional benefit to newly diagnosed individuals with type 2 diabetes receiving structured education?') (Principal Investigator: S Heller)
  • MY-WAIST Study ('Self-assessment of waist circumference for screening for type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes and cardiovascular risk') (Principal Investigator: K Khunti)


  • PhD supervisor to Rebecca Linnett
    (with Prof Noelle Robertson and Dr Stephanie Hubbard)
    Working title: Perfectionism, self-compassion and intuitive eating in the context of Type 2 diabetes mellitus: Effect on health outcomes.
  • PhD supervisor to Jennifer James (University of Liverpool)
    (with Prof John Wilding and Dr Wendy Hardeman)
    Development and feasibility of a behavioural intervention to increase physical activity in people who have undergone bariatric surgery.
  • PhD supervisor to Caroline Kristunas 
    (with Dr Laura Gray and Dr Karla Hemming, Birmingham) 
    Working title: Feasibility studies for Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomised Trials, appraising and informing practice.
  • PhD supervisor to Liz Sutton
    (with Professor Graham Martin and Dr Carolyn Tarrant).
    Working title: Staff and patients’ perspectives and experiences of patient involvement in patient safety.
  • Intercalated BSc Medical Research Supervisor to Laura Small 
    BSc (1st) awarded July 2019.
    Dissertation title: Thinking ahead in advanced illness: What are the implications for using visual methods in PAR with migrant communities?
  • PhD supervisor to Michelle Hadjiconstantinou 
    (with Professor Melanie Davies, Dr Noelle Robertson and Professor Kamlesh Khunti). PhD awarded July 2018
    Title: The development of an online emotional support programme, to improve diabetes-related distress and well-being in type 2 diabetes.
  • PhD supervisor to Jessica Wright 
    (with Professor Mary Dixon-Woods). PhD awarded July 2015.
    Title: What influences the harmonisation of cancer tissue banks in the UK?: An ethnographic study.
  • PhD supervisor to Andy Willis 
    (with Professor Kamlesh Khunti and Professor Melanie Davies). PhD awarded July 2015
    Title: The effectiveness of screening for Type 2 diabetes within community pharmacies.
  • Intercalated BSc Medical Research Supervisor to Lucy Taylor 
    (with Prof Christina Faull, LOROS) BSc (1st) awarded July 2017.
    Title: Thinking ahead in advanced illness: Exploring clinicians’ perspectives on discussing resuscitation with patients and families from minority communities
  • PhD supervisor to Nicola Perrin 
    (with Professor Melanie Davies, Dr Noelle Robertson and Professor Kamlesh Khunti). PhD awarded July 2017
  • PhD supervisor (lead) to Sue Cradock 
    (with Professor Richard Baker, Professor Melanie Davies and Dr Wendy Hardeman (UEA)). PhD awarded January 2017
    Title: Assessing a quality assurance tool used to assess educator delivery of a structured self-management education programme: a case study

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