IGHD Doctoral Students

The doctoral students in the Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) are studying a range of innovative topics which address societal issues by utilising theory-driven approaches and employing creative methodological techniques. Below please find brief profiles explaining the doctoral research being undertaken by students in this Research Centre. 

Michael Blaney

Doctoral Research topic: My research is with a cohort of male asylum seekers in the Republic of Ireland who have received a positive decision on their asylum claim.  I am exploring the role work plays with integration using Ager & Strang’s Indicators of Integration framework (IoI). The IoI framework is being used because it provides “elements central to the perception of what constitutes ‘successful’ integration”. 

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: I am interpreting the men’s lived experiences through the lens of masculinity (my ontology). My epistemology is ethnography and I am analysing it using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.   

Keywords: refugees, masculinity, integration, employment, social policy    

Supervisors: Dr Alison B. Strang, Oonagh O’Brien

Georgios Tsigkas

Doctoral Research topic: Living and coping with uncertainty. Exploring perceptions of persons living with HIV: A critical realist approach

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: A critical realist approach using semi-structured interviews and adopting abductive and retroductive modes of reasoning as well as memos for data analysis

Keywords: uncertainty, coping strategies, HIV, Critical Realism

Supervisors: Dr Georgina Pearson, Oonagh O’Brien.

Alinedoh Carlson Mbi Nkwain

Doctoral Research topic: Strategies to Support Community Health Workers in Fragile Contexts: A Case Study of the Anglophone regions in Cameroon. This study seeks to inform CHWs programmes/strategies adapted to the specific context of the urban/peri-urban areas of the conflict-affected Anglophone regions of Cameroon to meet Community Health Workers' unique needs and the needs of the communities they serve.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: I propose using a comparative case study design to achieve the study aim, focusing on Community Health Worker (CHW) programmes in two districts in the conflict-affected Anglophone regions of Cameroon – Bamenda and Buea Health Districts in the North West and South West regions, respectively. Using a qualitative approach in terms of methodology, I propose using key informant interviews with health policymakers, CHW programme managers, health workers, and community leaders and focus group discussions and work-life history interviews with a sample of CHWs.

Keywords: Human Resources for Health, Health System Strengthening, Health Policy, Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings, Fragility

Supervisors: Dr Karina Kielmann, Dr Maria P. Bertone

Kathleen Rutledge

Doctoral Research Topic: The research project, entitled 'Suffering, Faith and Well-Being Among Muslim Women Affected By the ISIS Conflict in Iraq', is examining the role of faith in coping and recovery among disaster-affected populations of faith and implications for humanitarian response. The research is taking place among 160 Muslim women who were affected by the ISIS occupation and conflict in N. Iraq from 2014-2017 and are currently living in a displacement camp in the region. The goal is to contribute to the wider dialogue on faith-sensitivity in international relief and how responders may advance people-centred, effective aid among populations of faith. 
Doctoral Research Methodological Approaches: Survey Design and Ethnographic Approaches; Mixed Methods
Keywords: Faith – Trauma - Religious Coping - Faith-Sensitive - Humanitarian - Aid - Mental Health – Psychosocial – Iraq – Muslim – Displaced Women - ISIS
Alastair Ager, Carola Eyber

Ifeyinwa Victor Uadiale

Doctoral Research topic: Community-based interventions for non-communicable disease prevention in fragile settings in sub-Saharan Africa

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: Realist review and a case study using qualitative semi-structured interviews 

Keywords: Community-based interventions, Realist review, Risk behavior, Non-communicable diseases


Supervisors: Professor Sophie Witter & Dr Karin Diaconu 

Joanna Kotcher

Topic: My research concerns decision making in humanitarian surgical teams during armed conflict. This topic was selected based the lack of research on decision making at field level and on my 20-year professional experience as a medical/surgical coordinator during armed conflict in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.

Doctoral Research methodological approach: A mixed methods approach is used to capture the decision making experiences of surgical personnel through their narrative testimony (qualitative methods) and the extent of these experiences among a representative group of surgical personnel through survey (quantitative methods).

Keywords: Humanitarian crisis, surgery, armed conflict, decision making

Supervisors: Dr. Carola Eyber, Dr. Rebecca Horn

Angus Tengbeh

Doctoral Research topic: Implementation of the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) policy in Sierra Leone: My Ph.D. research explores the power dynamics, challenges, and opportunities faced by policy implementers at the national and sub-national levels.

Doctoral Research Methodological Approaches: This research will adopt a multisite ethnographic research methodology that combines ethnographic observations with In-depth interviews and a Power mapping exercise. 

Keywords: Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health Policy, Sierra Leone, power, implementation. 

Supervisors: Professor Sophie Witter and Dr. Maria Bertone


Lorian Viola 

Doctoral Research Topic:  This study explores the relationship between resilience and intrahousehold dynamics among rural Honduran children. The aim is to identify coping methods among children facing adversity and the mechanisms through which the household influences these processes. A social ecological systems model of resilience is applied to identify children’s protective processes, while household relationships, activities, and role expectations are examined to illuminate intrahousehold dynamics.

Doctoral Research Methodological Approaches: This study employs mixed methods, inclusive of three research phases. Phase one explored childhood adversities through focus groups with both children and adults. Phase two assessed resilience using a survey, the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-28). The final phase employed case studies to investigate the dynamics of nine households. The multiphase data will be integrated to elucidate how adaptations in the availability/accessibility of community resources influences intrahousehold dynamics, and thus the extent to which protective resources are operant in this setting with the overall aim of illuminating children's divergent processes of resilience. 
Keywords: Children, resilience, social ecological systems model, household dynamics, familism, mixed methods research, Honduras, middle childhood, culture, protective factors, risk factors, poverty, Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-28)
Supervisors: Dr. Alastair Ager and Dr. Carola Eyber