Dean and Head of Division


Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Sara Smith (PhD, BSc) is Head of the SHS Division at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Dean of the School of Health Sciences.

She is also an associate member of the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research.

Sara joined QMU in 1998 and became the Programme Leader for the UG BSc (Hons) Dietetics programme in 2002 and a Senior Lecturer in 2008. She took on the role of Deputy Head of DPPR (Dietetics, Nutrition, Biological Sciences, Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Radiography) in 2018 and during this time led the development, validation and launch of the online multi-professional postgraduate Advancing Practice in Health Framework.

Since 2020 she has been the Acting Head of the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences supporting the ongoing delivery and transformation of existing UG and PG programmes and practice based learning as well as the development of new micro credential/CPD opportunities.

She continues to have some involvement in the development and delivery of the DPPR UG/PG Programmes as well as the UG transnational programmes run collaboratively with Metropolitan College in Greece. Additionally she provides professional leadership to the Scottish Centre for Food and Drink Innovation (SCFDI).She completed her clinically focused PhD in 2010 (part funded by the British Renal Society) which explored the effects of an intradialytic exercise programme on quality of life, functional and nutritional status of individuals receiving haemodialysis therapy and continues to lecture and contribute to research and publications in the areas of body composition and nutritional assessment.Externally Sara continues to work with Healthcare in a number of capacities, through collaborations with individual Health Boards, third sector organisations and membership of NHS Education Scotland (NES) Advisory Forums.

Sara has undertaken External Examining roles for a number of Universities in the UK. She also continues to be actively engaged in the work of professional and statutory bodies through membership of various education committees, working groups and as an HCPC Education Visitor.

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the British Dietetic Association
  • HCPC Registered Dietitian

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

Assessment of body composition, nutritional and functional status and quality of life. Self efficacy and person centred outcomes. Sarcopenia and dynapenia in long term conditions.

Improving supported self management and outcomes (in individuals living with or caring for someone) of long term conditions through targeted interventions such as diet, physical activity and reductions in sedentary behaviour.

Active Research Interests:

  • Use of advanced technologies for the assessment of body composition (eg 3D phototonic scanning)
  • Physical activity interventions for individuals living with chronic kidney disease
  • Visual identification of nutritional status
  • Use of telehealth as part of weight management interventions
  • Management of lipedema (self efficacy, quality of life)

Research Methods:

  • Nutritional and functional assessment eg diet, body composition and functional technologies
  • Quality of life questionaries’
  • Self efficacy questionnaires
  • Physical activity questionnaires, ActivPAL and app technologies

Sara has extensive experience of developing , validating, delivering and monitoring the ongoing quality of face to face/online UG and PG multi-professional allied health/health related programmes as well as practice based education within QMU, the UK and abroad.

IBEX Award, British Dietetic Association 2016. Awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to the profession either locally or in a specific specialty.