Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Research Unit


Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Research Unit


The Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Research Unit was established in the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) by Professor Anne MacFarlane.

We have two interconnected areas of expertise: 

  • Involving migrants in health research
  • Capacity building for public and patient involvement in health research across topics and disciplines

The work of the Unit draws on a variety of disciplines including biostatistics, general practice, psychology, sociology, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. In addition, we have strong collaborative partnerships with community organisations, other academics, health service planners and policy stakeholders in Ireland and abroad.

Within the University of Limerick, several other initiatives have synergy with our work in this area.




Professor Anne MacFarlane, B.A., M.A., PhD.
Professor of Primary Healthcare Research, Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS).

Anne is founder and overall academic lead for the PPI Research Unit. She is a social scientist with 25 years’ experience using qualitative research methods in health services research. She has specialist expertise in participatory health research, particularly in relation to migrant health. She is Principal Investigator for a number of participatory health research projects (see our Research tab). She is theme lead for Public and Patient Involvement in the Health Research Institute (HRI) which focuses on capacity building for public and patient involvement in health research across topics and disciplines.

Anne is involved with international collaborations in Europe and North America to advance the evidence base about best practice for PPI and participatory health research. She is active in projects with WHO Europe, the International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research and the North American Primary Care Research Group. Her current research interests include the sociological concept of space and how this can enhance understanding of participatory spaces in health.

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Professor Ailish Hannigan, B.Sc., PhD.
Associate Professor of Biomedical Statistics, GEMS

Ailish is the lead for quantitative research in the PPI Research Unit. She is Principal Investigator for the Vulnerable New Communities project and leads the quantitative work package for HRB EMH-IC. She has over 20 years’ experience as a statistician and educator and acts as statistical consultant both nationally and internationally. Her research interests include population health, the design and analysis of cohort and registry studies, and the potential and challenges for PPI in quantitative health research.

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Edel Tierney, B.A., M.A.
PhD student

Edel is completing the Structured Education and Health Sciences PhD programme at the University of Limerick. Supervised by Prof Anne MacFarlane and Prof Ailish Hannigan, her research is titled ‘Community Participation in Action: Involving Communities in Primary Care Teams’. She holds a BA and MA in Psychology from NUI Galway and is a Chartered Psychologist of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) since 2004. Edel’s key research interest lies in developing Participatory Research Methods, with particular emphasis on vulnerable and marginalised groups. Over the past six years her focus has been on Community Participation in Primary Care and involving stakeholders in research projects to inform primary care service delivery.

Dr Jess Drinkwater, B.Sc., MBChB Medicine, MRCGP, MRes
UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Leeds

Jess is a GP in Bradford and is undertaking a PhD at University of Leeds on participatory research to strengthen the role of patient and public involvement in general practice service improvement. Anne MacFarlane is co-supervisor for the PhD research along with primary supervisor Robbie Foy, Professor of Primary Care at the University of Leeds. Jess is interested in improving health systems, especially primary care, through evidence based policy by understanding how health policy and health systems are shaped by those that use them and work within them.

Dr Jon Salsberg, B.A., M.A., PhD.
Senior Lecturer in Primary Healthcare - Public and Patient Involvement, GEMS

Jon has over 15 years of experience working in community and academic participatory health research and integrated knowledge translation. He is a qualitative researcher with a background in public health promotion and anthropology of development. Jon's research interests are in understanding the theory and practice of multi-stakeholder engagement for co-creating new knowledge and its translation into action, principally in primary care and community health. His recent focus has been in using a social network approach in understanding how community stakeholders take ownership over academic research.

Jon has undertaken partnered research with a broad range of stakeholders including patients, health practitioners, community members and organisations, policy makers and health service decision-makers, as well as working extensively in Indigenous health in Canada. He was a founding member of the Centre for Participatory Research at McGill University, and is an executive committee member of the International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research.

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Dr Patrick O’Donnell, MB BCh BAO, MICGP, M.Sc.
Clinical Fellow in Social Inclusion, GEMS and PhD candidate

Patrick is a GP with a particular interest in the delivery of primary care and general practice in areas of deprivation and to marginalised groups including homeless people, drug users and migrants. He is a member of the Partnership for Health Equity, which is led by Prof Anne MacFarlane (UL), Dr Austin O’Carroll (North Dublin City GP Training scheme) and Diane Nurse (HSE Social Inclusion). He is currently conducting a PhD titled ‘Measuring and Operationalising Social Exclusion in the Context of Health in Ireland’, primary supervisor Dr Khalifa Elmusharaf, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, GEMS. As part of this work, he has established and now runs two low-threshold GP clinics in Limerick city for people without access to primary care. Patrick also works as a GP in a family practice in Limerick city. He has completed an MSc in Global Health at Trinity College Dublin and a Specialist Diploma in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship at University of Limerick.

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Pauline Clerkin, B.Sc., M.A.
PhD student and HRB SPHeRE scholar

Pauline is a Health Research Board (HRB) SPHeRE PhD Scholar in Dementia. Her background is in psychology, health promotion and social care. She is currently researching interdisciplinary team working in primary care for people with dementia and evaluating innovations in service provision for people with dementia in the Irish setting from the perspective of service providers, service users and their carers.

Dr Rose Galvin B.Sc., PhD.
Lecturer in Physiotherapy, School of Allied Health

Rose’s research interests lie in the areas of gerontology and neurology and include the evaluation of novel methods of optimising exercise and motivation to exercise in older people and people with neurological disabilities. She is currently involved in several systematic reviews with meta-analysis, and in medicine management studies of the elderly. She has worked as a research physiotherapist on two pan-European projects that evaluated the impact of novel technologies in the assessment and treatment of people with a range of neurological disabilities. Prior to taking up her post at UL, she was Director of the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Orla McGarry, Ph.D. M.Phil, B.A. (Int.)
Postdoctoral Researcher on Migrant Health

Orla McGarry has been employed as a postdoctoral research on migrant health at the Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick since 2018.  Orla is a sociologist with extensive experience of conducting research with migrant and ethnic minority groups in a range of settings across Europe.  Orla is currently engaged in research on the Vulnerable New Communities Project which examines health care access and health issues among asylum seekers, Syrian refugees and members of the Roma population living in the South East of Ireland. This research, which is being conducted in conjunction with the social inclusion office of the CHO 5 area of the HSE, aims to develop in-depth insights into the experiences of and issues affecting members of these communities in accessing healthcare.  

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Úna McInerney, B.A., B.Mus., M.A.
Project Manager, Primary Healthcare Research

Úna joined UL in 2002 and has worked at the Graduate Entry Medical School since 2014. She has many years’ experience leading development projects and managing resources. Prior to her work at UL, she qualified as a music therapist at University of Bristol and worked in health and education settings in Ireland, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina.


Dr Maria Roura, B.A., PhD.
Research Assistant in Ethnic Minority Health

Maria is working on a HRB funded project ‘Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland - building the evidence base to address health inequities’, aimed at investigating the implementation of an ethnic identifier in primary care. She is focusing on the qualitative component, led by Prof Anne MacFarlane, which is examining the implementation of ethnic identifiers in primary care settings. Maria is a sociologist specialised in the social and structural determinants of health with a focus on migrants/ethnic minorities. She has more than 10 years of experience employing Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approaches in diverse socio-cultural settings. Her research is situated at the interface of Sociology of Health and Illness, Migration Studies, and the Social Determinants of Health. She is particularly interested in the use of participatory approaches to bridge academic expertise with the experiential knowledge of migrants/ethnic minorities. Fully committed to fostering the fertilisation of ideas across disciplines, she works closely with epidemiologists, clinicians, anthropologists, and biologists.

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Dr Nazmy K. Villarroel-Williams, M.Sc., MPH, PhD.
Postdoctoral researcher in Ethnic Minority Health

Nazmy is currently working on secondary data analysis, led by Prof Ailish Hannigan, as part of the HRB funded project ‘Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland - building the evidence base to address health inequities’. She is a postdoctoral researcher with primary interest in the field of health and health care access of vulnerable population groups including, refugees and migrant population and minority ethnic groups. 

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Dr Susann Huschke, M.A., PhD.
Postdoctoral researcher in Social Inclusion and Health (Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow)

Susann is an anthropologist who researches the interconnected fields of migration, health, and sexuality/gender. She is currently developing a research project on maternal health and migration in Ireland. In her PhD research, she investigated undocumented migrants’ access to healthcare in Berlin, Germany. As a postdoctoral research fellow at Queen’s University Belfast she led a team of researchers in a government funded study on the Northern Irish sex industry. Susann then spent two years at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, conducting a participatory arts-based project on the health and well-being of sex workers in Soweto. All her research projects incorporated critical, applied components, and Susann has worked in solidarity with grassroots movements and activist organisations such as the Medibuero Berlin, a non-governmental migrant rights organisation, and the Sex Worker Alliance Ireland (SWAI).

Teresa Kennedy

Senior Administrator, PPI Research Unit

Teresa joined the team in September 2018. She worked previously in GEMS in Paramedic Studies and before that in the UL Careers Service for many years and has a wealth of experience in administration.


Research Projects

For publications relating to our projects, please see our Recent Publications section

PPI IGNITE (2018-2020)

Principal Investigator: Professor Anne MacFarlane, UL

Partners: Zoe Hughes (Care Alliance Ireland), Juan Carlos Azzopardi (Limerick City Community Development Project), Catherine Hand (University Hospital Limerick), Marguerite Clancy (HSE Primary Care CHO Area 3), Michelle Gardner (Medical Research Charities group), Harriet Doig (MS Ireland), Sandra Galvin (NUI Galway), Dr Tina Cook (Northumbria University), Prof Jennie Popay (Lancaster University), Dr Derick Mitchell (Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry)

Researchers: Dr Jon Salsberg

Funding: Health Research Board (HRB) €348,909

Project aim: To build capacity among academics, members of the public/patients and health sector colleagues to work together in participatory health research projects.

EMH-IC (2016-2019)

Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland - building the evidence base to address health inequities (EMH-IC)

Principal Investigator: Professor Anne MacFarlane, UL

Co-applicants: Professor Ailish Hannigan, UL; Dr Joseph Le Master, University of Kansas; Dr Maura Adshead, UL; Alphonse Basogomba, Intercultural and Diversity Education Center Ireland; Dr Fiona O'Reilly, UL

Researchers: Dr Maria Roura & Dr Nazmy Villarroel-Williams

Funding: HRB Health Research Award €329,946

Project aim: A participatory health research project using mixed methods to build the evidence base about migrant’s and Traveller’s health status.

MIMS (2017-2019)

Migrants’ Involvement in the development of Migrant Sensitive Healthcare Systems (MIMS)

Collaborators: Professor Anne MacFarlane, UL; Professor Ailish Hannigan, UL; Dr Santino Severoni, WHO; Dr Soorej Jose, UL, Diane Nurse, HSE National Social Inclusion

Researcher: Dr Orla McGarry

Funding: HRI and HSE €80,000

Project aims:

1) to build networks with migrant organisations regarding health research

2) knowledge transfer from the EU RESTORE project

3) support WHO activities for evidence production and synthesis e.g. through the Health Evidence Network (HEN) reports.

See completed 2016 HEN report on the public health implications of the diversity of definitions for migrants here.

See work with HSE Working Group on developing a model for the implementation of trained interpreters in the Irish healthcare system here.

Vulnerable New Communities (2018-2019)

Principal Investigator: Professor Ailish Hannigan, UL

Collaborators: UL - Professor Ailish Hannigan, Professor Anne MacFarlane, Dr. Andrew O’Regan and HSE Social Inclusion CHO5 - Suzanne Nolan, Angela Joy

Researcher: Dr Orla McGarry

Funding: GEMS Strategic Research Fund and HSE Social Inclusion Office €50,000

Project aim: A UL/HSE collaboration researching needs and service development for refugees, asylum seekers and Roma communities.

Partnership for Health Equity (2011-)

Collaborators: Professor Anne MacFarlane, UL; Dr. Patrick O’Donnell UL, Dr Austin O’Carroll, North Dublin City GP Training Programme; Diane Nurse, Tony Quilty, HSE Social Inclusion; Claire Collins, Irish College of General Practitioners

Project aim: The aim of the PHE is to improve access to primary healthcare for marginalised groups, including homeless persons, drug users, travellers, migrants and others. This is achieved through a range of research, education and dissemination activities.

RESTORE (2011-2015)

REsearch into implementation STtrategies to support patients of different ORigins and language background in a variety of European primary care settings

Principal Investigator: Professor Anne MacFarlane, UL

Co-applicants: Professor Kate O’Donnell and Professor Frances Mair, University of Glasgow; Professor Chris Dowrick, University of Liverpool; Professor Christos Lionis, University of Crete; Dr Maria van den Muijsenbergh and Evelyn van Weel-Baumgarten, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre; Dr Wolfgang Spiegel, Medical University of Vienna.

Funding: EU FP7 €2.9 million

Project aim: to improve healthcare for migrants in Europe. This was an implementation science project which is designed to prospectively investigate and support the implementation of guidance and training initiatives designed to support communication in cross-cultural consultations in primary care using a unique combination of Normalisation Process Theory and Participatory Learning and Action research. 
RESTORE website

Primary Care Reform in Ireland (2014-2017)

Primary Care Reform in Ireland: An analysis of top down and bottom up innovation

Principal investigator: Professor Anne MacFarlane, Graduate Entry Medical School, UL

Co-applicants: Professor Walter Cullen, UCD; Dr Norelee Kennedy, Clinical Therapies, UL; Libby Kinneen, HSE; Professor Carl May, University of Southampton

Collaborators: Department of Health & Children; Sarah Jane Hennelly, Paul Partnership Ltd Limerick; Dr Ray O’Connor, Limerick; Brian Murphy, HSE; Mary Tinnelly, HSE; Professor Ailish Hannigan, UL

Researchers: Edel Tierney and Madeleine O'Sullivan

Funding: HRB Health Research Award €329,269

Project aim: An evaluation of the reform processes relating to the development of primary care teams as outlined in the 2001 Department of Health primary care strategy. This qualitative analysis, using Normalisation Process Theory (NPT), addressed the gap in knowledge about the reform of our primary care services. Policy Brief Interdisciplinary Team Working in Ireland: A New Direction 16 years on.

FUSION (2010-2014)

User Involvement in Primary Healthcare: Toward a framework for implementation.

Principal investigator: Professor Anne MacFarlane, UL

Co-applicants: Mary O’Reilly de Brún, NUI Galway; Rachel McEvoy, HSE

Collaborators: Tomas de Brun, NUI Galway; Professor Anne Rogers, University of Southampton; Katya Okonkwo, Galway Migrant Service

Researchers: Edel Tierney, Madeleine O’Sullivan

Funding: HRB Health Research Award €210,600

Project aim: To assess the impact of community participation in primary care from the perspectives of the key stakeholders involved. The project resulted in the publication of a Framework for Implementation of Community Participation in Primary Healthcare

PhD projects

Health Research Board SPHeRE scholar Pauline Clerkin is exploring the potential for people with dementia to be involved in setting research priorities for dementia care

University of Limerick funded PhD Edel Tierney is exploring community participation in Primary Care Teams in the Irish Health Service Executive

UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellow Jess Drinkwater is exploring Public and Patient Participation Groups in English General Practice

University of Limerick funded PhD candidate Patrick O’Donnell is exploring measurement and operationalisation of social exclusion in the context of health in Ireland.


Recent Publications


O'Reilly-De Brún, M., De Brún, T., O'Donnell, C. A., Papadakaki, M., Saridaki, A., Lionis, C., Burns, N., Dowrick, C., Gravenhorst, K., Spiegel, W., Van Weel, C., Van Weel-Baumgarten, E., Van Den Muijsenbergh, M. and MacFarlane, A. (2018) ‘Material practices for meaningful engagement: An analysis of participatory learning and action research techniques for data generation and analysis in a health research partnership’, Health Expectations, 21, 159-170. doi: 10.1123/pes.2015-0081


De Brun, T., O'Reilly-De Brun, M., Van Weel-Baumgarten, E., Burns, N., Dowrick, C., Lionis, C., O'Donnell, C., Mair, F. S., Papadakaki, M., Saridaki, A., Spiegel, W., Van Weel, C., Van Den Muijsenbergh, M. and MacFarlane, A. (2017) ‘Using Participatory Learning & Action (PLA) research techniques for inter-stakeholder dialogue in primary healthcare: an analysis of stakeholders' experiences’, Research involvement and engagement, 3 (1), 28. doi: 10.1186/s40900-017-0077-8


O'Donnell, C. A., Mair, F. S., Dowrick, C., O’Reilly-De Brún, M., De Brún, T., Burns, N., Lionis, C., Saridaki, A., Papadakaki, M., Van Den Muijsenbergh, M., Van Weel-Baumgarten, E., Gravenhorst, K., Cooper, L., Princz, C., Teunissen, E., Van Den Driessen Mareeuw, F., Vlahadi, M., Spiegel, W. and MacFarlane, A. (2017) ‘Supporting the use of theory in cross-country health services research: a participatory qualitative approach using Normalisation Process Theory as an example’, BMJ Open, 7 (8). doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014289


Roura, M. (2017) ‘Unravelling migrants’ health paradoxes: a transdisciplinary research agenda’, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 71, 870.


MacFarlane, A., Galvin, R., O’Sullivan, M., McInerney, C., Meagher, E., Burke, D. and LeMaster, J.W. (2017) ‘Participatory methods for research prioritization in primary care: an analysis of the World Café approach in Ireland and the USA’, Family practice, 34(3), 278-284. doi:


Papadakaki, M., Lionis, C., Saridaki, A., Dowrick, C., de Brún, T., O'Reilly-de Brún, M., O'Donnell, C.A., Burns, N., van Weel-Baumgarten, E., van den Muijsenbergh, M., Spiegel, W. and MacFarlane, A. (2017) 'Exploring barriers to primary care for migrants in Greece in times of austerity: Perspectives of service providers', European Journal of General Practice, 23(1) 128 - 134. doi: 10.1080/13814788.2017.1307336


Teunissen, E., Gravenhorst, K., Dowrick, C., Van Weel-Baumgarten, E., Van den Driessen Mareeuw, F., de Brún, T., Burns, N., Lionis, C., Mair, F.S., O’Donnell, C., O’Reilly-de Brún, M., Papadakaki, M., Saridaki, A., Spiegel, W., Van Weel, C., Van den Muijsenbergh, M. and MacFarlane, A. (2017) 'Implementing guidelines and training initiatives to improve cross-cultural communication in primary care consultations: a qualitative participatory European study', Int J Equity Health, 16(1), 32. doi: 10.1186/s12939-017-0525-y


O’Donnell, P., Tierney, E., O’Carroll, A., Nurse, D. and MacFarlane, A. (2016) ‘Exploring levers and barriers to accessing primary care for marginalised groups and identifying their priorities for primary care provision: a participatory learning and action research study’, International Journal for Equity in Health, 15(1), 197. doi: 10.1186/s12939-016-0487-5


Tierney, E., O’Sullivan, M., Hickey, L., Hannigan, A., May, C., Cullen, W., Kennedy, N., Kineen, L. and MacFarlane, A. (2016) ‘Do primary care professionals agree about progress with implementation of primary care teams: results from a cross sectional study’, BMC Family Practice, 17(1), 163. doi: 10.1186/s12875-016-0541-9


Lionis, C., Papadakaki, M., Saridaki, A., Dowrick, C., O'Donnell, C. A., Mair, F. S., van den Muijsenbergh, M., Burns, N., de Brún, T., O’Reilly-de Brún, M., van Weel-Baumgarten, E., Spiegel, W. and MacFarlane, A. (2016) ‘Engaging migrants and other stakeholders to improve communication in cross-cultural consultation in primary care: a theoretically informed participatory study’, BMJ open, 6(7), e010822. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010822


de Brún, T., O’Reilly-de Brún, M., O’Donnell, C. A. and MacFarlane, A. (2016) ‘Learning from doing: the case for combining normalisation process theory and participatory learning and action research methodology for primary healthcare implementation research’, BMC Health Services Research, 16(1), 346. DOI: 10.1186/s12913-016-1587


O'Donnell, C. A., Burns, N., Mair, F. S., Dowrick, C., Clissmann, C., van den Muijsenbergh, M., Weel-Baumgarten, E., Lionis, C., Papadakaki, M., Saridaki, A., de Brun, T. and MacFarlane, A. (2016) ‘Reducing the health care burden for marginalised migrants: The potential role for primary care in Europe’, Health Policy, 120(5), 495-508. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.03.012


O’Reilly-de Brún, M., de Brún, T., Okonkwo, E., Bonsenge-Bokanga, J.S., Silva, M.M.D.A., Ogbebor, F., Mierzejewska, A., Nnadi, L., van Weel-Baumgarten, E., van Weel, C. and van den Muijsenbergh, M. and MacFarlane, A. (2016) ‘Using Participatory Learning & Action research to access and engage with ‘hard to reach’migrants in primary healthcare research’, BMC health services research, 16(1), 25. DOI: 10.1186/s12913-015-1247-8


O’Donnell, P. & Lawson, E. (2016) ‘Managing physical health problems in people who inject drugs’, British Journal of General Practice, 66(642), 48-49.


O'Reilly, F., Barror, S., Hannigan, A., Scriver, S., Ruane, L., MacFarlane, A. and O'Carroll, A. (2015) Homelessness: An unhealthy state: Health status, risk behaviours and service utilisation among homeless people in two Irish cities. Dublin: The Partnership for Health Equity.


Teunissen, E., Van Bavel, E., Van Den Driessen Mareeuw, F., MacFarlane, A., van Weel-Baumgarten, E., van den Muijsenbergh, M. and van Weel, C. (2015) ‘Mental health problems of undocumented migrants in the Netherlands: A qualitative exploration of recognition, recording, and treatment by general practitioners’, Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 33(2), 82-90. doi: 10.3109/02813432.2015.1041830


O'Reilly-de Brún, M., MacFarlane, A., de Brún, T., Okonkwo, E., Bonsenge Bokanga, J. S., Manuela De Almeida Silva, M. and van Weel, C. (2015) ‘Involving migrants in the development of guidelines for communication in cross-cultural general practice consultations: a participatory learning and action research project’, BMJ Open, 5(9), e007092. doi: 10.1136


O’Sullivan, M., Cullen, W. and MacFarlane, A. (2015) ‘Primary care teams in Ireland: a qualitative mapping review of Irish grey and published literature’, Irish Journal of Medical Science, 184(1), 69-73. doi: 10.1007


McMenamin, R., Tierney, E. and MacFarlane, A. (2015) ‘Addressing the long term impacts of aphasia: How far does the Conversation Partner Programme go’, Aphasiology, 29(8), 889-913. doi: 10.1080/02687038


Mc Menamin, R., Tierney, E. and MacFarlane, A. (2015) ‘Who decides what criteria are important to consider in exploring the outcomes of conversation approaches? A participatory health research study’, Aphasiology, 29(8), 1-25. doi: 10.1080/02687038.2015.1006564


Hickey, L., Hannigan, A., O'Regan, A., Khalil, S., Meagher, D. and Cullen, W. (2015) ‘Psychological morbidity among young adults attending primary care: a retrospective study’, Early Intervention in Psychiatry. doi: 10.1111/eip.12284


de Brún, T., O’Reilly-de Brún, M., van Weel-Baumgarten, E., van Weel, C., Dowrick, C., Lionis, C. and MacFarlane, A. (2015) ‘Guidelines and training initiatives that support communication in cross-cultural primary-care settings: appraising their implementability using Normalization Process Theory’, Family Practice, 32, 420-425. doi: 10.1093


Tierney, E., McEvoy, R., O'Reilly‐de Brún, M., Brún, T., Okonkwo, E., Rooney, M. and MacFarlane, A. (2014) ‘A critical analysis of the implementation of service user involvement in primary are research and health service development using normalization process theory’, Health Expectations, 1(32). doi: 10.1111/hex.12237


McEvoy, R., Ballini, L., Maltoni, S., O'Donnell, C. A., Mair, F. S. and MacFarlane, A. (2014) ‘A qualitative systematic review of studies using the normalization process theory to research implementation processes’, Implementation Science, 9(1). doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-9-2


Mc Menamin, R., Mc Grath, M., Cantillon, P. and MacFarlane, A. (2014) ‘Training socially responsive health care graduates: Is service learning an effective educational approach’, Medical teacher, 36(4), 291-307. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.873118


MacFarlane, A., O'Reilly-De Brún, M., De Brún, T., Dowrick, C., O'Donnell, C., Mair, F. and Clissmann, C. (2014) ‘Healthcare for migrants, participatory health research and implementation science-better health policy and practice through inclusion. The RESTORE project’, European Journal of General Practice, 20(2), 148-152. doi: 10.3109/13814788.2013.868432


MacFarlane, A., and O'Donnell, C. (2014) ‘Who are we and where are we going? Primary care academics in non-clinical posts’, Primary Health Care Research & Development, 15(01), 96-103. doi: 10.1017/S1463423612000540


PPI News & Events

September 2018

Welcome to Dr Kieran Kennedy, Lecturer from NUI Galway School of Medicine who has joined us for a sabbatical from July 2018 to July 2019.  Kieran brings expertise on the forensic healthcare of children and adults who experience sexual violence.  His research seeks to improve the care available to migrants who experience sexual violence.




The 2018 Public & Patient Involvement Summer School took place 14th-15th June at University of Limerick. The Summer School is designed for individuals who wish to develop their knowledge and access resources for Public and Patient Involvement in health research. We welcome participation from community organisations, patient groups, researchers, health service providers and policy-makers 2018 PPI Summer School.

November 2017 Our team is growing all the time!

Welcome to postdoctoral researcher Dr Susann Huschke, who joins us as part of the Education & Health Sciences Research Development Fellowship programme. Susann is an anthropologist who researches the interconnected fields of migration, health, and sexuality/gender. She is currently developing a research project on maternal health and migration in Ireland.



August 2017

Welcome to Dr Jon Salsberg who joins us from McGill University in Canada. Jon is taking up the post of Senior Lecturer in Primary Healthcare – Public and Patient Involvement. Jon will have a key role in building capacity for public and patient involvement in health research across topics and disciplines through the Education and Health Sciences Structured PhD programme and the PPI theme in the Health Research Institute.



August 2017 Dr. Soorej Jose on secondment to the WHO

August 2017 Dr. Soorej Jose on secondment to the WHO HRI funded Dr Soorej Jose and Professor Anne MacFarlane pictured prior to Soorej’s departure from UL to the migrant health team in the WHO Europe office in Copenhagen (see, for a six month work placement. This will support on-going collaborations between the GEMS research unit and WHO Europe to improve healthcare for migrants. 


June 2017 Public & Patient Involvement Summer School

The second PPI Summer School took place at University of Limerick on 22nd & 23rd June. More info

International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research (ICPHR)

The Public and Patient Involvement Research Group, led by Professor Anne MacFarlane, hosted the annual working meeting of the International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research (ICPHR) on 25th – 27th May 2017. Participatory Health Research (PHR) has become increasingly important as a means for finding solutions in communities where the occurrence and severity of health problems is greatest and the theme of the meeting was Addressing Health Inequalities. 50 people attended from 14 countries around the world.


PPI Ignite Award

Professor Anne MacFarlane led the successful bid from the Health Research Institute UL for a Health Research Board Public and Patient Involvement Award. The bid was co-designed with representatives of the Limerick City Community Development Project, University Hospital Limerick Patient Liaison Group, HSE Community Care and Care Alliance Ireland as well as a number of UL colleagues from the HRI and Campus Engage. The funding (€350,000) will be used to further integrate Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) into the HRI and the University, and allow us to support researchers across a range of disciplines to mainstream PPI in their research.

Older news and events