Keynote Speaker

"Health Psychology
Vision for 2020 and Beyond"

Short Bio:

Dr. Rachel Shaw is a Health Psychologist and Reader at Aston University. Rachel’s research focuses on illness experience, communication and relationships between patients, their families, and healthcare professionals, and on healthcare staff wellbeing. Rachel is known for her work with the BPS as past Chair of the Qualitative Methods in Psychology section and in her current role as research lead for the Division of Health Psychology. Advocating for a diverse evidence base in applied health research and evidence-based healthcare has been a key concern throughout Rachel’s career. She is also known for championing qualitative research in psychology. Rachel has over 70 publications in health and psychology journals. She has also contributed to a number of research methods textbooks used as core texts in many universities. Contributing to the MHPN Conference means a lot to Rachel as she was a founding member of what was initially the East Midlands Health Psychology Network, back in the early noughties!

Dr. Rachel Shaw

Keynote summary:

Applied qualitative health psychology research has changed beyond recognition in the time I have been working in academia. While I was doing my PhD qualitative research was not considered a valid route to knowledge and it certainly wasn’t considered to be scientific. We now see qualitative studies ‘embedded’ within randomized controlled trials, and we have successfully lobbied for additional qualitative methods expertise to the REF panel that will be judging universities’ submissions. Qualitative methods were embraced by health psychology enthusiastically and have now become an essential component of stage 2 qualification to become a  health psychologist.


I will talk through my experiences of working in health psychology as a qualitative researcher, the challenges I have faced, the successes I’ve had, and the upcoming developments I can see for a health psychology vision for 2020 and beyond. This will include some of the most fascinating things I have learned through gathering first hand experiential accounts from people living rich and purposeful lives.

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