Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Research Unit


Banner displaying multiple PPI events such as 5th Annual PPI Summer School



Welcome to the Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Research Unit. The Unit was established in the School of Medicine by Professor Anne MacFarlane, PhD, and is designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Migrant’s Involvement in Health Research. 

Our work draws on a variety of disciplines including general practice, allied health, sociology, anthropology, health promotion, biostatistics and music. We have strong collaborative partnerships with community organisations, other academics, health service planners and policy stakeholders in Ireland and abroad. The Unit has generated research income of €14,900,232 since its inception in 2011. 

The PPI RU has three, inter-related areas of work: 

1. Building the evidence about meaningful PPI 
2. Building the evidence about meaningful PPI with migrants 
3. Building capacity for meaningful PPI at UL, nationally and internationally 

The PPI RU draws on the participatory health research paradigm to guide its scholarship and has a conceptual interest in participatory spaces. The Unit has three inter-related scientific questions: 

1. What material practices (participatory/arts based) support partnership building and working in qualitative and quantitative studies? 
2. What is the ‘work’ required to implement partnerships as a routine way of working? 
3. What is the evidence about how partnership working impacts on the process and outcome of research? 

We explore these questions through studies about primary care services and population health, with a specialist focus on migrant health

Listen to our podcast with Prof Anne MacFarlane 'Why involve public and patients in research'

Listen to our short video of Dr. Jon Salsberg talking about the value of PPI in research 

From the UL PhD Research series, Meghan Gilfoyle talks about undertaking a PhD in the PPI Research Unit here


Photo of Professor Anne MacFarlane

Professor Anne MacFarlane, B.A., M.A., PhD.

Professor of Primary Healthcare Research, School of Medicine

Anne is founder and overall academic lead for the PPI Research Unit. She is the Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Migrant’s Involvement in Health Research which is hosted in the Unit. She is a social scientist with more than 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. Anne is Principal Investigator for a number of participatory health research projects (see our Research tab). She established and led PPI as a theme in the Health Research Institute (HRI) (2016-2019) to build capacity in the UL health research community for partnered 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.

View full profile

Headshot of Professor Ailish Hannigan

Professor Ailish Hannigan, B.Sc., PhD.

Associate Professor of Biomedical Statistics, School of Medicine

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.

View full profile 

Headshot of Dr Jon SalsbergDr Jon Salsberg, B.A., M.A., PhD.

Senior Lecturer in Primary Healthcare - Public and Patient Involvement, School of Medicine.

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. He is UL Site Lead for the HRB/IRC PPI Ignite Network 2021-2026.

View full profile 

Dr Frances Garry, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher in Participatory Arts-Based Migrant Health Research,
Irish World Academy of Music and Dance

Fran is a singer/songwriter, community music educator, and arts practice researcher. She is postdoctoral researcher for the Participatory and Arts-Based Methods Involving Migrants in Health Research (PART-IM) cluster.

Fran completed her PhD Arts Practice (Music) at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in 2018. She received an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship award for her research project, entitled: ‘Lived Experiences in Community Arts in Ireland-an autoethnographic and ethnographic, practice-based study’. Her research interests include musical participation and wellbeing, community arts engagement, arts and cultural policy, and arts practice and arts-based research methods. She has published in journals such as Transform-New Voices in Community Music, The Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy, and ICTM, Ireland (International Council for Traditional Music Ireland. In 2019, she was appointed Senior Editor of Transform-New Voices in Community Music.

Photo of Dr Susann HuschkeDr 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).

Photo of Dr Clodagh ToomeyDr Clodagh Toomey B.Sc. Ph.D. (Physiotherapy)

Research Fellow, School of Allied Health 

Clodagh completed her PhD in 2014 from the University of Limerick and her Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2017 from the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, also holding an adjunct position there. Her research focuses on the prevention and treatment of chronic musculoskeletal disease, using patient and clinician involvement to guide and inform implementation of evidence-based programmes in health service delivery.
She is currently a recipient of a Health Research Board Emerging Investigator Award which is investigating the IMPlementation of Clinical guidelines of osteoArthritis Together (IMPACT). This will take a participatory health research approach to forming implementation strategies that will ensure exercise and education are first line treatment options for patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis in the Irish healthcare system.

Photo of Dr Molly Manning

Dr Molly Manning, BSc, MPhil, MSc, PhD

Lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy, School of Allied Health

Molly is a Speech & Language Therapist who comes from a healthcare project management and service design background. She is interested in facilitating meaningful inclusion of multi-stakeholder perspectives in intervention design and health policy implementation. She recently completed a HRB funded PhD in Health Services Research and Population Health. Working with PPI contributors with post-stroke aphasia, Molly developed policy recommendations for optimising stroke care in Ireland. She is currently progressing the implementation of these recommendations. Current projects include establishing a collaborative interdisciplinary community of practice for improved access to psychological care for people with aphasia and leading a study examining inclusion and retention of people with aphasia in stroke trials.

Photo of Meghan GilfoyleMeghan Gilfoyle, B.A.Sc., M.Sc.

School of Medicine GEMS 10 PhD Scholar

Meghan Gilfoyle is a doctoral student based in the School of Medicine in the University of Limerick under the supervision of Dr Jon Salsberg and co-supervisor Prof Anne MacFarlane. Her PhD involves using a trust lens to inform a social network theory of participatory health research, by defining, influencing and measuring the social-relational dimensions of research partnerships. Her previous academic and work experience has had a public health and health systems focus, with specific areas of expertise in cancer prevention and screening, epidemiology, statistical analysis of population health data, evidence-informed public health practice, and knowledge translation. Meghan has a keen interest in engaging public and patient groups in health research in a meaningful and respectful manner. For instance, she has previously worked with entrepreneurs to identify how to best engage people with dementia in the design, testing, and commercialization of an information communication technology. As a Canadian researcher in Ireland, Meghan looks forward to innovative research collaborations as well as networking opportunities within an international context.

Photo of Dr Kathleen MarkeyDr Kathleen Markey, RN, BSc., PGCHE, MSc, PhD

Lecturer, Department of Nursing & Midwifery

Kathleen is Course Director for international programmes and is a lecturer at the Department of Nursing and Midwifery. She facilitates intercultural learning and cultural competence development on undergraduate and postgraduate modules. As a member of the European Transcultural Nursing Association (ETNA), she brought the 2nd ETNA international conference to the University of Limerick in 2011, which was very successful. 

Kathleen is interested in arts based research. She is a recent Irish Research Council recipient for a project exploring perinatal mental health supports for migrant women and their families, which will incorporate a participatory research approach. Her particular research interests are in the areas of cultural diversity in healthcare, cultural competence development, intercultural learning, interpreting and perinatal mental health for migrant women.

Photo of Anna PapyanAnna Papyan

Research Assistant, PART-IM

Anna is a graduate of sociology from Yerevan State University, Armenia․ With extensive experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, she has worked on a variety of research projects in health, education, migration, human rights, civic activism, public policy. Anna has also collaborated with several community development initiatives on awareness raising, capacity building, civic participation, activism and the promotion of human rights. She has organised and facilitated trainings, seminars and discussions using participatory approaches and techniques. Anna is currently involved in a number of initiatives with the Shannon Family Resource Centre (FRC) and served as Community Liaison Officer in the Ethnic Minority Health research project conducted by UL Graduate Medical School in collaboration with Shannon FRC. Within the project she organised and supported facilitation of participatory group discussion with community members of different ethnic backgrounds. Anna has recently been appointed as research assistant to the Research Prioritisation for Migrant Health project, coordinated by the HRI funded PART-IM (Participatory and Arts-Based Methods Involving Migrant in Health Research).

Photo of Dénia Claudino

Dénia Claudino

Projects Officer, PPI

Before joining UL, Dénia worked for two years in Mary Immaculate College as Erasmus+ Project Officer. While living in Lisbon, she worked for several years in a Portuguese NGO - CIDAC, specially dedicated to Development Education, Sustainable Global Economy and Fair Trade. 
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a Postgraduate Certificate in Development and International Cooperation, both at the University of Lisbon. In 2020 she completed a Higher Diploma in International Business in LIT, Limerick.

Photo of Fiona O'KearneyFiona O'Kearney


Fiona is a part-time administrator with PPI. She has worked in various sections of UL such as Finance and Cooperative Education. Her current role includes providing support with any PPI Research Unit administrative tasks for example events, website updates, governing authority reports, recording of PPI outputs, payments and purchases etc. She studied in the University of Limerick and finished her Bachelor’s in New Media and English.

Photo of Fiona O'KearneyJanique Oudbier

Visiting PhD

Janique Oudbier is our visiting PhD from the Amsterdam University Medical Center where she also works. She will be working with the PPI Research Unit of the University of Limerick from mid-September till mid-December to expand her knowledge and skills related to PPI and capacity building in UL and nationally, arts-based methods, and the involvement of refugees and migrants in health research.
Her main research theme is social accountability which she defines as a “reciprocal relationship between the institution of medical schools and society. This relationship involves the obligation of medical schools to direct their education, research and service activities towards current and significant societal factors such as diversity, sustainability, and moral issues. The community and the patient are central.

Grants & Awards

Competitive Grants

Funding Agency and call

Title and Date Awarded

*Principal Investigator  ^Co-applicant   ~Collaborator  "Mentor






Health Research Board The design and psychometric evaluation of a health-related quality-of-life outcome measure (QoLTEN) for adults with Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) (July 2022) P. O’Reilly(UL)* A. MacFarlane(ul)^ A. Hannigan(UL)~ 3yrs
Irish Research Council

ADD: The Arts, Data Literacy and Diversity (May 2022)

H. Phelan(UL)* A. Hannigan(UL)^


Health Research Board Migrant health research networking and knowledge exchange seminar: An arts-based event (April 2022) K. Markey(UL)* A. MacFarlane(UL)^ H. Phelan(UL)^ 1yr
Higher Education Authority - North-South Research Programme 2021 ENSPIRED - ENhancing Social Participation across IREland for people with communication disabilities and differences, (2022) H. Kelly(UCC)* L. Kennedy(UUlster)^ J. Green(UL)~ A. Kearns(UL)~ M. Manning(UL)~  2yrs
HSE Health & Social Care Professionals in Ireland Supporting Emotions with Aphasia (SEA) Community of Practice, (April 2022) M. Manning(UL)* A. Carolan(UL)^ 1yr





EHS Emerging and Early Career Researchers Seed Funding

Development and pilot testing of e-learning tools for healthcare professionals to deliver evidence-based care for osteoarthritis using a participatory health research approach. (July 2021)

C. Toomey(UL)*



Mindful: Music and Dance for Older Adults: The Feasibility of an Arts-Based Health Intervention for Health and Wellbeing (August 2021)

A. Clifford (UL)* J. Salsberg^ (UL)


HRB Trials Research Methodology Network (TMRN)

Maximising Inclusion and Retention of people with Aphasia in Stroke Trials (MIRAST) (March 2021)

M. Manning (UL)*, R. McMenamin~ (NUIG), E. Vaughan~ (NUIG)

2 mths

IRC New Foundations

Collaborating on perinatal mental health support for migrant women and their families: networking and connecting the dots. (February 2021)

K. Markey (UL)*, Noonan, M.^ (UL), Tuohy, T.^ (UL), O’ Donnell, C.^ (UL), Doody, O.^ (UL), Daly, T.~ (80:20 EABW)

7 mths

HSE Health & Social Care Professionals in Ireland

Supporting Emotions with Aphasia (SEA) (March 2021)

M. Manning (UL)*, A. Carolan^ (UL)


IRC New Foundations

Research Priorities in Migrant Health: Towards a Participatory, Arts-Based Paradigm (February 2021)

H. Phelan* (UL)

9 mths






National PPI Network (Nov 2020)

S. Dineen* (NUIG) J. Salsberg^ (UL) A. McFarlane~ (UL) I. Doolan~ (UL)


CIHR (Canada)

What's the secret sauce? Identifying effectiveness principles to enable the design, implementation and transferability of patient and community partnerships amongst marginalized populations using a developmental evaluation approach. (Sept 2020)

A. L'Esperence* (U of Montreal) J. Salsberg^ (UL)



5th Annual PPI Summer School (May 2020)  

J. Salsberg* (UL)


CIHR (Canada)

The Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Patient and Public Engagement Evaluation Framework  (March 2020)

A.Boivin* (U of Montreal) J. Salsberg^ (UL)


Kansas University Medical Centre Research Institute, Clinical Research Pilot Grant Program

Primary Care Implementation Science Pilot for Colorectal Cancer Screening (May 2020)

Joseph LeMaster* (KUMC) Anne MacFarlane^ (UL)


University of Kansas Distinguished Speaker Bohan Visiting Professor Program

Integration of a participatory approach to patient involvement with an implementation framework, “Normalization Process Theory”.  (June 2020)

Anne MacFarlane* (UL)

1 mth

Health Research Board Conference and Event Scheme

5th Annual HRI Public & Patient Involvement Summer School  (May 2020)

J. Salsberg (UL)*


Health Research Board Research Leaders Award

Implementation Science  (February 2020)

Sheena Mc Hugh* (UCC), Anne MacFarlane" (UL)


Health Research Board Research Leaders Award - Grant Ref: RL-FA-2020-010

Towards an integrated model of care for older adults transitioning from the Emergency Department to the community  (February 2020)

Rose Galvin*(UL), Anne MacFarlane^ (UL)






Health Research Board

Transitions of Care in Advanced Kidney Disease (July 2019)

A. Stack* (UL\UHL), J. Salsberg^ (UL)

3 yrs

Economic and Social Research Council, Impact Acceleration Account & NHS England

Whose decision is it anyway? Forum Theatre to facilitate reflection on meaningful patient involvement in general practice shared organisational decision making (December 2019)

Jessica Drinkwater*, Anne MacFarlane" (UL)

9 mths

HRB Emerging Investigator Awards for Health

IMPlementation of osteoArthritis Clinical guidelines Together (May 2019)

C. Toomey* (UL), A. MacFarlane" (UL), N. Kennedy^(UL), L. Glynn^(UL), J. Forbes^(UL)


Health Research Institute, UL  - Emerging Research Cluster

PART-IM (Feb 2019)

H. Phelan* (UL), A. MacFarlane ^ (UL) S. Murphy Tighe^ (UL), T. McCaffrey~ (UL), H. Moss~ (UL), S. Huschke~ (UL), M. Barry~ (UL), L. Kerins~ (Doras Luimni)

3 yrs

 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Operating Grant: NEIHR (Canada).  Funding Source: 2019/12 - 2024/11

Ratikonhsatátie - 'the faces yet to come' - Network: Indigenous communities at the center of health research capacity development (December 2019)

T. Delormier* (McGill), J. Salsberg^ (UL)


Health Research Board Conference and Event Sponsorship Scheme 2019

4th Annual HRI Public and Patient Involvement Summer School (April 2019)

J. Salsberg (UL)*


 Health Research Board 2019/1 - 2021/12

Development and evaluation of an adaptive mobile health physical activity intervention post-stroke: a Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomised Trial (January 2019)

S. Hayes*(UL), J Salsberg^(UL)

3 yrs





Health Research Institute, UL

UL Cancer Network (ULCAN) (Dec 2018)

P. Kiely*, D. Leddin, J. Salsberg~ (UL)

3 yrs

PCORI Eugene Washington Engagement Award

Building PCOR capacity with newcomer patients in practice-based research networks (Oct 2018)

J. LeMaster (Kansas University Medical Centre)*, A. MacFarlane^ (UL), Mang Sonna, Lucia Jones-Herera, Kumar Pokhrel, Ruben Saragoza (Kansas City Patient Investigators), University of Kansas Family Medicine, Mid-Valley Family Practice of Basalt, Colorado, Smiley Clinic of University of Minnesota Family Practice, Minneapolis, Denver Health Family Medicine, Denver, John Peter Smith Hospital Family Medicine Department, Ft Worth Texas, Neighborhood Family Practice, Cleveland, Jericho Road Family Medicine Clinic, Buffalo New York


Health Research Board Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme

Collecting and using data about ethnicity in healthcare – a drama (Oct 2018)

A. MacFarlane* (UL), A. Hannigan^ (UL), J. LeMaster^ (Kansas University Medical Centre), M. Adshead^ (UL), A. Basogomba^ (IDEC-Ireland)


Health Research Board Conference and Event Sponsorship Scheme

3rd Annual HRI Public and Patient Involvement Summer School (April 2018)

J. Salsberg (UL)*


Health Research Board Summer Studentship

Improving healthcare for migrants using participatory, theoretical implementation science: what is the impact? (April 2018)

M. Hussain*(UL), A. MacFarlane" (UL)

2 mths

Health Research Board Collaborative Doctoral Awards Funding Source: 2018/6-2023/5

Right Care: a programme of research to enhance safe and appropriate care for older patients in Ireland (March 2018)

Tom Fahey* (RCSI), C. Walsh^ (UL), R.A. Kenny^ (TCD), A. Wakai^ (RCSI),  F. Boland^ (RCSI), E. Wallace^ (RCSI), R. Galvin^(UL),  F. Moriarty^ (HRB), D. Trepel^(TCD), J. Salsberg ^(UL)

5 yrs





Graduate Entry Medical School PhD awards, UL

Evaluating Inter-Organisational Collaboration in Public and Patient Involved Research (Nov 2017)



Health Service Executive Research Awards on Ageing  Grant reference: HaPAI/2017/KW

Life-course and structural determinants of positive subjective health amongst older adult Travellers and homeless people (Dec 2017)

K. Walsh (NUI Galway)*, D. O’Donovan (NUI Galway), A. MacFarlane (UL)^, T. Scharf (Newcastle University), E. O’Shea (NUI Galway)

3 yrs

Health Research Board

PPI Ignite Award (June 2017)

A. MacFarlane* (UL), Z. Hughes(Care Alliance Ireland), J.C. Azzopardi (Limerick City Community Development Project),  C. Hand (University Hospital Limerick), M. Clancy (HSE), M. Gardner (Medical Research Charities group), H. Doig (MS Ireland), S. Galvin (NUI Galway), T. Cook (Northumbria University), J. Popay (Lancaster University), D. Mitchell (IPPOSI)


UL Graduate Entry Medical School, Strategic Research Fund (SRF) 4

Healthcare needs and healthcare access of vulnerable new communities in Ireland: an exploratory study

A. Hannigan, A. MacFarlane & A. O’Regan (UL)






JP McManus Benevolent Fund

Partnership for Health Equity Limerick Clinic  (June 2016)

P. O’Donnell






Health Research Board, Health Research Awards

Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland - building the evidence base to address health inequities

A. MacFarlane* (UL), A. Hannigan (UL), J. LeMaster (Kansas University Medical Centre), M. Adshead (UL), A. Basogomba (IDEC-Ireland), F. O'Reilly (UL)


UL Graduate Entry Medical School, Strategic Research Fund 3

Primary healthcare and health services research at GEMS: Building research capacity  

A. MacFarlane & A. Hannigan (UL)


National Institute of Health Research UK

Participatory research to strengthen the role of patient and public involvement in general practice service improvement

J. Drinkwater* (University of Leeds), R. Foy (University of Leeds), A. MacFarlane^ PhD co-supervisor (UL), M. Twiddy (University of Leeds), C. Hulme (University of Leeds)

 5 years (PT)

Hospital Saturday Fund, UK

Partnership for Health Equity Limerick Clinic (Nov 2015)

P. O’Donnell






Health Research Board, Health Research Awards

Primary Care Reform in Ireland – An analysis of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ innovation

A. MacFarlane* (UL), W.Cullen (UL), N.Kennedy (UL) L. Kinneen (HSE West), C. May (University of Southampton)






UL Graduate Entry Medical School, Strategic Research Fund 2

Developing responsive Primary Care Teams  - participatory health research project

A. MacFarlane

1 yr

EU Lifelong Learning Programme (Project number: 539536-LLP-2013-1-NL-ERASMUS-EQR)

Culturally Competent in Medical Education (C2ME)

M.L. Essink-Bot, J.L. Suurmond, K. Stronks, D. Jaarsma (University of Amsterdam), P. Verdonk, T. Abma (VU Medical Centre), N. Dogra, (University of Leicester), K. Hendrickx, G. Peeraer (University of Antwerp), M. Knipper (Justus Liebig University), Y. Nathan Velupillai, D. McGrath, A. MacFarlane, W. Cullen (UL), J.Sim, L. Fialova (University of Edinburgh), P. Hudelson (University Hospitals of Geneva), M.J. Albar-Marín, M. García-Ramírez (University of Seville), M. Norredam, A. Krasnik (University of Copenhagen), I. Szilard, E. Marek, Z. Katz, A. Barath (University of Pécs), B.N. Kumar, K.H. Hjelde, IM Bregård (NAKMI)


Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme

Primary Care Health Equity Network

 A. MacFarlane


Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme

NOWHealth Network

A. MacFarlane* & F. O’Reilly^ (UL)






UL seed funding

Participatory Research for community well-being

M. Adshead* & A. MacFarlane^ (UL)

1 yr

UL seed funding

SPIRIT study

W. Cullen (UL)*, A. MacFarlane^ (UL), A. Culhane (UL), J. Klimas (UL), A. Hannigan (UL), C. Dunne (UL), D. Meagher (UL), D. McGrath (UL)






UL Graduate Entry Medical School, Strategic Research Fund 1

PRIME study

A. MacFarlane* & W. Cullen (UL)


Grants awarded prior to 2011 and conducted at UL






FP7 Health 2010 – two stage Health.2010.3.1-1 Better understanding of dissemination and implementation strategies

RESTORE: REsearch into implementation STrategies to support patients of different ORigins and language background in a variety of European primary care settings (April 2010)

A. MacFarlane*(UL), M. O’Reilly de Brun & T. de Brun (NUI Galway),  C. Dowrick (University of Liverpool), C. O’Donnell & F. Mair (University of Glasgow), W. Spiegel (Medical University of Vienna), M. van den Muijsenbergh &  E. van Weel-Baumgarten (Radboud University Medical Center), C. Lionis (University of Crete)

3 yrs

Health Research Board, Health Research Award HRA_HSR/2010/1

FUSION User involvement in primary healthcare: Toward a framework for implementation (June 2010)

A. MacFarlane*(UL), M. O’Reilly de Brún (Centre for Participatory Strategies, Galway), T. de Brún (Centre for Participatory Strategies, Galway), R. McEvoy (HSE)


HRB Clinical Investigator Fellowship

Evaluating conversation partner programmes - perspectives of people with aphasia (May 2010)

R. McMenamin (NUI Galway), A. MacFarlane^ (UL - academic sponsor), R. Barrow (Beaumont Hospital)


Non-competitive grants






World Health Organisation

Health Evidence Network (HEN) Evidence Synthesis Report – Communication barriers for migrants and refugees access and utilization of healthcare services in the WHO European Region

A. MacFarlane (UL), Ailish Hannigan (UL)






HSE Social Inclusion CHO 5

Vulnerable New Communities

A. Hannigan* & A. MacFarlane^ (UL)







Clinical Fellowship in Social Inclusion (Sept 2016)

P. O’Donnell







Descriptive evaluation of innovative services for people with dementia

A. MacFarlane



WHO Health Evidence Network (HEN) Evidence Synthesis Report - Public Health Aspects of definitions of migration

 A. MacFarlane







Partnership for Health Equity

A. MacFarlane* (UL), A. O’Carroll* (North Dublin City GP Training), D. Nurse* (HSE Social Inclusion), T. Quilty (HSE Social Inclusion), Maurice Hoare (HSE Social Inclusion)



Education & Training

The PPI Research Unit has developed six new graduate (level 9) modules, under the leadership of Dr. Jon Salsberg. 

BM6021  Public and patient involvement in health research (6 ECTS)
BM6022  Introduction to participatory health research (3 ECTS)
BM6032  Advanced participatory health research (6 ECTS)
BM6011  Methods in participatory health research (6 ECTS)
BM6023  Participatory learning and action for public and patient involvement (6 ECTS)
BM6033  Public and patient involvement summer school (3 ECTS

Modules are delivered using a combination of in-class teaching and blended learning options. 

The six PPI modules provide a total of 30 ECTS Level 9 credits and, therefore, can form the core of a graduate certificate programme. This programme is in development for launch in the near future.

PPI training for UL students & staff, clinical & community stakeholders

Through the HRB & IRC funded PPI Ignite@UL project, we have co-designed six training workshops with community and health sector partners. These are available through UL’s Human Resources Training and Development scheme: 

•    Introduction to PPI and Participatory Health Research
•    Finding Research Partners
•    Ethics, Governance and Research Agreements in PPI
•    Collaborative Grant Development
•    Collaborative Data Analysis and Interpretation
•    Collaborative Dissemination Planning 

There is also a PPI Club held approximately every month. This is an informal gathering to discuss people’s experiences of PPI in health research and to develop a supportive ‘community of practice’ for meaningful PPI.

For further information contact

WHO Collaborating Centre for Migrant’s Involvement in Health Research

The PPI Research Unit is a designated World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. Our centre's main goal is to build capacity for participatory health research to involve migrants in health decision-making.

There is increasing attention to the involvement of the public and patients in health, and migrants are frequently excluded from participatory spaces that inform policy, service and research developments. Stakeholders need clear guidance to address this situation and access to appropriate tools and training materials. These will help to bridge the gap between the rhetoric and practice of migrants’ involvement in health decision-making because migrants’ voices will be connected with relevant dialogues and debates. This will lead to an increasing understanding of migrants’ needs, more responsive policies and greater health equity.

Photo of UL Living Bridge

The center has two main goals in the next four years (2019-2023): 

 1) To develop guidance on the use of participatory health research, at the request of WHO, by identifying international principles and best practices for the meaningful involvement of migrants in a health research partnership

 2) To support WHO to devise and pilot a participatory health research training course and manual to build capacity for the meaningful involvements of migrants and other key stakeholders in health research partnerships.

Recent Publications


May, C.R., Albers, B., Desveaux, L., Finch, T.L., Gilbert, A., Hillis, A., Girling, M., Kislov, R., MacFarlane, A., Mair, F.S., May, C.M., Murray, E., Potthoff, S. and Rapley, T. (2022) 'Translational framework for implementation evaluation and research: Protocol for a qualitative systematic review of studies informed by Normalization Process Theory (NPT)', NIHR Open Research, [version 1; peer review: 2 approved], available:

MacFarlane, A. and LeMaster, J. (2022) 'Disrupting patterns of exclusion in participatory spaces: Involving people from vulnerable populations', Health Expectations, 25(4), available:  

Toomey, C.M., Kennedy, N., MacFarlane, A., Glynn, L., Forbes, J., Skou, S.T. and Roos, E.M. (2022) 'Implementation of clinical guidelines for osteoarthritis together (IMPACT): protocol for a participatory health research approach to implementing high value care', BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 23, available:  

Mc Menamin, R., Isaksen, J., Manning, M. and Tierney, E. (2022) 'Distinctions and blurred boundaries between qualitative approaches and public and patient involvement (PPI) in research', International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, available:  

Garry, F. and Phelan, H. (2022) 'An evaluation of training using singing as a tool for community building in changing societies', Health Promotion International, 37(Supplement_1), i26-i36, available:  

Walsh, K., Carroll, B., MacFarlane, A., O’Donovan, D. and Cush, P. (2022) 'Life-Course Marginalities of Positive Health and Aging: A Participatory Approach Integrating the Lived Experiences of Older Irish Travelers and Older Homeless Adults in Multistakeholder Research Processes', Qualitative Health Research, 32(7), 1139-1152, available:  

Koskinas, E., Gilfoyle, M. and Salsberg, J. (2022) 'Exploring how patients, carers and members of the public are recruited to advisory boards, groups and panels as partners in public and patient involved health research: a scoping review protocol', BMJ Open, 12(4) available:  

Fahey, H., Phelan, H., Clift, S. and Moss, H. (2022) 'A chorus of voices: social singing and health promotion.', Health Promotion International, 37(Supplement_1), i1-i3, available:  

O’Donnell, P., Hannigan, A., Ibrahim, N., O’Donovan, D. and Elmusharaf, K. (2022) 'Developing a tool for the measurement of social exclusion in healthcare settings', International Journal for Equity in Health, 21, available:  

Maxwell, C., McCreesh, K., Salsberg, J. and Robinson, K. (2022) ‘Down to the person, the individual patient themselves: a qualitative study of treatment decision-making for shoulder pain', Health Expectations, 25(3), 1108-1117, available: 

Gilfoyle, M., MacFarlane, A. and Salsberg, J. (2022) 'Conceptualising, operationalising, and measuring trust in participatory health research networks: a scoping review', Systematic Reviews, 11, available:  

May, C.R., Albers, B., Bracher, M., Finch, T.L., Gilbert, A., Girling, M., Greenwood, K., MacFarlane, A., Mair, F.S., May, C.M., Murray, E., Potthoff, S. and Rapley, T. (2022) 'Translational framework for implementation evaluation and research: a normalisation process theory coding manual for qualitative research and instrument development', Implementation Science, 17, available:  

Carroll, L.M., Morris, M., O'Connor, W., Volpe, D., Salsberg, J. and Clifford, A. (2022) ‘Evidence-Based Aquatic Therapy Guidelines for Parkinson’s Disease: An International Consensus Study’, IOS Press, 12(2), 621 – 637, available:  

Manning, M., MacFarlane, A., Hickey, A., Galvin, R. and Franklin, S. (2022) 'Regulating emotional responses to aphasia to re-engage in life: A qualitative interview study.', International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 52(2), 352-365, available: 

Villarroel, N., MacFarlane, A., Roura, M., Basogomba, A., Bradley, C., LeMaster, J. W. and Hannigan, A. (2022) 'The impact of economic recession on the health of migrant fathers over time: results from the Growing up in Ireland longitudinal study', BMC Public Health, 22, available:  

Markey, K., Noonan, M., Doody, O., Tuohy, T., Daly, T., Regan, C. and O’Donnell, C. (2022) 'Fostering collective approaches in supporting perinatal mental healthcare access for migrant women: A participatory health research study.', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1124, available:  

Markey, K., MacFarlane, A., Noonan, M., Moloney, M., Huschke, S., O’Donnell, K., O'Donnell, C., Tuohy, T., Mohamed, AH. and Doody, O. (2022) 'Service User and Service Provider Perceptions of Enablers and Barriers for Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Women Accessing and Engaging with Perinatal Mental Health Care Services in the WHO European Region: A Scoping Review Protocol', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(2), 937, available:


Buffey, A.J., Carson, B., Donnelly, A. and Salsberg, J. (2021) 'Participatory approaches in the context of research into workplace health promotion to improve physical activity levels and reduce sedentary behaviour among office-based workers: protocol for a scoping review', BMJ Open, 11, available: 

O'Neill, A., Gallagher, S., Hannigan, A. and Robinson, K. (2021) 'Association between work status and depression in informal caregivers: a collaborative modelling approach', European Journal of Public Health, November, 1-7, available: 

MacFarlane, A., Dowrick, C., Gravenhorst, K., O'Reilly-de Brúne, M., de Brúne, T., den Muijsenbergh, M., Weel Baumgarten, E., Lionis, C. and Papadakakigh, M. (2021) 'Involving migrants in the adaptation of primary care services in a ‘newly’ diverse urban area in Ireland: The tension between agency and structure', Health & Place, 70, available:

Gilfoyle, M., Krul, J. and Oremus, M. (2021) ‘Developing practice standards for engaging people living with dementia in product design, testing, and commercialization – a case study’, Assistive Technology, 33, available:  

Manning, M., MacFarlane, A., Hickey, A., Galvin, R., and Franklin, S. (2021) ‘‘I hated being ghosted’ – The relevance of social participation for living well with post-stroke aphasia: Qualitative interviews with working aged adults’, Health Expectations, 24(4), available:  

L’Espérance, A., O’Brien, N., Grégoire, A., Abelson, J., Canfield, C., Del Grande, C., Dogba, M.J., Fancott, C., Levasseur, M.A., Loignon, C., Majnemer, A., Pomey, M-P., Rasiah, J., Salsberg, J., Santana, M., Tremblay, M-C., Urquhart, R. and Boivin, A. (2021) ‘Developing a Canadian evaluation framework for patient and public engagement in research: study protocol’, Research Involvement and Engagement, 7(10), available:  

Garry, F., Murphy Tighe, S. and Phelan H. (2021) ‘The use of music as an arts-based method in migrant health research: a scoping review protocol’ [version 1; peer review: 2 approved], HRB Open Research, 3(75), available:  

MacFarlane, A., Ogoro, M., de Freitas, C., Niranjan, V., Severoni, S. and Waagensen, E. (2021) 'Migrants’ involvement in health policy, service development and research in the WHO European Region: A narrative review of policy and practice', Tropical Medicine & International Health, available:  

Puthoopparambil, S.J., Phelan, M. and MacFarlane, A. (2021) ‘Migrant health and language barriers: Uncovering macro level influences on the implementation of trained interpreters in healthcare settings’, Health Policy, 31(5), available: 

Roura, M., Dias, S., LeMaster, J.W., and MacFarlane, A. (2021) ‘Participatory health research with migrants: Opportunities, challenges, and way forwards’, Health Expectations, 1–10, available:  

Roura, M., W. LeMaster, J., Hannigan. A., Papyan, A., McCarthy, S., Nurse, D., Villarroel, N. and MacFarlane, A. (2021) ‘If relevant, yes; if not, no’: General practitioner (GP) users and GP perceptions about asking ethnicity questions in Irish general practice: A qualitative analysis using Normalization Process Theory’, PloS One, 16(5), e0251192, available:


Cush, P., Walsh, K., Carroll, B., O’Donovan, D., Keogh, S., Scharf, T., MacFarlane, A. and O’Shea, E. (2020) 'Positive health among older Traveller and older homeless adults: A scoping review of life‐course and structural determinants', Health & Social Care in the Community, 28(6), 1961-1978, available:  

Manning, M., Cuskelly, C., Russ, E. and Franklin, S. (2020) ‘Supporting people with post-stroke aphasia to live well: A cross-sectional survey of SLT’s’, Health and Social Care in the Community, 28(6), 2117-24, available: 

Donnelly, S,, Manning, M, Mannan, H., Wilson, AG. and  Kroll, T. (2020) ‘Renegotiating dimensions of the self: A systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis of the lived experience of self-managing rheumatoid arthritis’, Health Expectations, 23(6), 1388-1411, available: 

Manning, M., MacFarlane, A., Hickey, A., Galvin, R. and Franklin, S. (2020) ‘The relevance of stroke care for living well with post-stroke aphasia: a qualitative interview study with working-aged adults’, Taylor & Francis Group, Disability and Rehabilitation, available:

MacFarlane, A., Huschke, S., Pottie, K., Hauck, F.R., Grimswold, K., and Harris, M.F. (2020) ‘Barriers to the use of trained interpreters in consultations with refugees in four resettlement countries: a qualitative analysis using normalisation process theory’, BMC Family Practice, 21(259), available: 

Gilfoyle, M., MacFarlane, A. and Salsberg, J. (2020) ‘Conceptualising, operationalising, and measuring trust in participatory health research networks: a scoping review protocol’, BMJ Open, 10(10),  available: 

MacFarlane, A. (2020) ‘Optimising individual and community involvement in health decision-making in general practice consultations and primary care settings: A way forward’, European Journal of General Practice, 26(1), available: 

Merati, N.,Salsberg, J., Saganash, J., Iserhoff, J., Moses, J., Hester; K. and Law, S. (2020) ‘Cree Youth Engagement in Health Planning’, International Journal of Indigenous Health, 15(1), 73-89. available: https:/ 

Ormel, I., Salsberg, J., Hunt, M., Doucet, A., Hinton, L., Macaulay, A.C and Law S. (2020) ‘Key issues for participatory research in the design and implementation of humanitarian assistance: a scoping review’, Global Health Action, 13(1), available: 

van den Muijsenbergh, M.E.T.C., LeMaster, J.W., Shahiri, P., Brouwer, M., Hussain, M., Dowrick, C., Papadakaki, M., Lionis, C. and MacFarlane A. (2020) ‘Participatory implementation research in the field of migrant health: Sustainable changes and ripple effects over time’, Health Expectations, 23, 306–317, available: 

Hannigan, A., Villarroel, N., Roura, M., LeMaster, J.W., Basogomba, A., Bradley, C. and MacFarlane, A. (2020) ‘Ethnicity recording in health and social care data collections in Ireland: where and how is it measured and what is it used for?’, International Journal for Equity in Health, 19(2), available: 

Salsberg, J. and Elmusharaf K. (2020) ‘Using Social Network Analysis to Measure Community Ownership in Participatory Health Research.’, SAGE Research Methods Cases, available: https::// 

Nguyen, T., Graham, I.D., Mrklas, K., Bowen, S., Cargo, M., Estabrooks. C., Kothari, A., Lavis, J., Macaulay, A.C., MacLeod, M., Phipps, D., Ramsden, V., Renfrew, M., Salsberg, J. and Wallerstein, N. (2020) ‘How does integrated knowledge translation (IKT) compare to other collaborative research approaches to generating and translating knowledge? Learning from experts in the field’, Health Research Policy and Systems, available: https:://  

Conneely, M., Boland, P., O'Neill, A., Byrne, D., Cronin, S., Quinn, D., Trépe, D., Leahy, S., Salsberg, J., and Galvin, R. (2020) ‘A protocol for the establishment and evaluation of an older adult stakeholder panel for health services research’ [version 1; peer review: 1 approved with reservations] HRB Open Research 3:1, available:  



Loutfi, D., Andersson, N., Law, S., Kgakole, L., Salsberg, J., Haggerty, J. and Cockcroft, A. (2019) ‘Reaching marginalized young women for HIV prevention in Botswana: a pilot social network analysis’, Global Health Promotion, available: https:://

Loutfi, D., Andersson, N., Law, S., Salsberg, J., Haggerty, J., Kgakole, L. and Cockcroft, A. (2019) ‘Can social network analysis help to include marginalised young women in structural support programmes in Botswana? A mixed methods study’, International Journal for Equity in Health, 18(12), available: https:://

Tierney, E., Hannigan, A., Kinneen, L., May, C., O’Sullivan, M., King, R., Kennedy, N. and MacFarlane, A., (2019) ‘Interdisciplinary team working in the Irish primary healthcare system: Analysis of ‘invisible’bottom up innovations using Normalisation Process Theory’, Health Policy, 123(11), 1083-1092, available: https::// 

Villarroel, N., Hannigan, A., Severoni, S., Puthoopparambil, S. and MacFarlane, A. (2019) ‘Migrant health research in the Republic of Ireland: a scoping review’, BMC Public Health, 19, 324, available:

Manning, M., MacFarlane A., Hickey, A. and Franklin, S. (2019)’ Perspectives of people with aphasia post-stroke towards personal recovery and living successfully: A systematic review and thematic synthesis, PLoS ONE, 14(3), e0214200, available:

MacFarlane, A. (2019) ‘The Helen Lester Memorial Lecture 2018:  The leper squint:  spaces for participation in primary health care’, British Journal of General Practice, 9(69), 255-256, available:


McMenamin, R., Tierney, E. and MacFarlane, A. (2018)’ Using a participatory learning and action (PLA) research approach to involve people with aphasia as co-researchers in service evaluation: an analysis of co-researchers’ experiences’, Aphasiology, 32(1), 142-144, available:

Hannigan, A. (2018) ‘Public and patient involvement in quantitative health research: A statistical perspective’, Health Expectations, 21(6), 939-943, available:

Harris, J., Cook, T., Gibbs, L., Oetzel, J., Salsberg, J., Shinn, C., Springett, J., Wallerstein, N. and Wright, M. (2018)‘Searching for the Impact of Participation in Health and Health Research: Challenges and Methods’, BioMed Research International, available:

Khayyat Kholghi, M., Bartlett, G., Phillips, M., Salsberg, J., McComber, A., MaCaulay, A.C. (2018) ‘Evaluating an Indigenous Health Education Program for Diabetes Prevention: using lessons learned through Community Talking Circles’, Family Practice, 35(1), 80–87, available: https:://

Hannigan, A., Basogomba, A., LeMaster, J., Nurse, D., O’Reilly, F., Roura, M., Villarroel, N. and MacFarlane, A. (2018) ‘Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland—Co-creating knowledge (EMH-IC): a participatory health research protocol’, BMJ open, 8(10), p.e026335, available:

Hordijk, R., Hendrickx, K., Lanting, K., MacFarlane, A., Muntinga, M. and Suurmond, J. (2018) 'Defining a framework for medical teachers’ competencies to teach ethnic and cultural diversity: Results of a European Delphi study', Medical Teacher, 1-7, available:

Tierney, E., McEvoy, R., Hannigan, A. and  MacFarlane, A. (2018) ‘Implementing community participation via interdisciplinary teams in primary care: an Irish case study in practice’, Health Expectations, available:

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, available: https:://


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. available: http::/

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), available. http::/

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

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, available: https:://

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, available: http::/

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, available: http::/


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, available: http:://

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, available: http:://

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, available: http:://

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, available: http:://

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, available: http:://

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, available: http:://

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


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: Partnership for Health Equity, available:

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, available: http:://

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. available: http:://

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, Available: http:://

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, available: http:://

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, available: http:://

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, available:

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, available:


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), available:

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),  available:

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, available:

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, available:

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, available:  


Public engagement 

Policy brief about improving the collection and use of ethnicity date in health systems in Ireland. Policy Brief PDF

Ethnicity data collection in Irish general practices – community drama and YouTube video to disseminate research findings about implementation  of ethnic identifiers, 2020.

PPI in health research: Ignite@UL video to capture researchers’ interest in the relevance of PPI for their work, 2018  PPI in research

PPI in health research: UL Research Impact Series podcast to describe the field of PPI and work underway in the Unit, 2017 Why involve the public and patients in research   

PPI Summer School 2020 offered online, attracted wide participation from patients and other non-academic members of the public  

PPI Research Fair 2019 brought UL researchers together with members of six community and patient organisations for research priority setting  

Healthcare education and professional practice   

Briefing paper and resource for Irish College of General Practitioners about refugee and protection applicants, 2020: link here 

Module on migrant health for the Irish College of General Practitioners’ national curriculum for GP postgraduate training, 2020  

Supported the establishment of a Student Health Equity Group in the School of Medicine, 2014:  

Health policy and service development   

Report “Migrant Health Research Prioritisation in Ireland: A Participatory Arts-Based Action Plan”, 2021 - A Joint Report of Doras and the University of Limerick Health Research Institute PART-IM Research Cluster: Limerick

Policy brief on optimising stroke care for living well with aphasia in Ireland. Policy brief. Aphasia friendly version.

Participation on the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry Advisory Committee, 2020–  

Participation on Department of Health COVID data analytics group for migrants and other vulnerable populations, Spring 2020  

Submission to Department of Health COVID team about levers and barriers to the implementation of ethnic identifiers in Irish healthcare settings, Spring 2020  

Hosted WHO seminar in the University of Limerick as part of an international seminar series to launch WHO’s 1st Health of Refugees and Migrants in the WHO European Region, 2019  

Submission to the Health Service Executive National Intercultural Health Strategy, University of Limerick, 2017; HSE support for University of Limerick research and collaborations mentioned as strategic goals  

Authors of WHO Health Evidence Network syntheses –  
How do variations in definitions of ‘migrant‘ and their application influence the access of migrants to health care services? This 2016 report was launched at the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. It was also presented at the WHO Summer School on refugee and migrant health, to the European Advisory Committee on Health Research (EACHR) 2017 and at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean meeting to develop a regional strategy on refugee and migrant health  

What strategies to address communication barriers for refugees and migrants in health care settings have been implemented and evaluated across the WHO European Region? This 2018 report was launched at the Ministerial Lunch of the 68th session of WHO Regional Committee for Europe, where Minsters of Member States outlined migration and health developments and areas of future focus at the global level. The report was also presented during the 2018 WHO School on Refugee and Migrant Health  

Invited expert speaker to the German national health funder about incorporating participatory health research into strategy and funding calls, 2018  (Anne MacFarlane)

Chaired a HSE Working Group on developing a model for the implementation of trained interpreters in the Irish healthcare system, 2017–2018. To develop a model for the implementation of trained interpreters in the Irish Healthcare system

Submitted a policy brief to the Irish Department of Health – Interdisciplinary Team, Working in Ireland: A New Direction 16 years on, 2018. Interdisciplinary Team Working in Ireland: A New Direction 16 years on   

Launched a framework document to inform implementation of community participation in primary healthcare, developed with HSE and community partners. A framework for implementation of community participation in primary healthcare   

Established a Partnership for Health Equity low-threshold GP clinic in Limerick city for homeless people, drug users and migrants who have difficulty accessing mainstream services, 2015   

Founding partner of the Partnership for Health Equity with HSE Social Inclusion, North Dublin City GP Training Programme, 2012

PPI News & Events

December 2022

This semester, the University of Limerick is offering the first HEI accredited training opportunity in the field of healthcare interpreting. Coordinated by Prof Anne MacFarlane and Dr Susann Huschke, the course is the first of a number of micro-credential courses to be developed at the University of Limerick and Dublin City University which will be stackable towards a planned graduate diploma in Healthcare Interpreting. 
The UL micro-credential course on Communication and Interpreting in the Irish Health Care System started in the autumn 2022 with a class of 33 participants. The course results in 6 ECTS and aims to upskill those working in multi-lingual/cross-cultural healthcare settings. The course focuses on real life scenarios and experiential, practice-based learning in a diverse student group. It is run as one in-person workshop followed by six online sessions.

In the picture some students of this first edition are featured. 

PPI Ignite Bursaries PPI IGNITE @ UL PPI Ignite Network grant includes funding for short-term bursaries to support PPI in health research. This year the bursaries are aimed at all researchers. Deadline Thursday 16th December. Please contact for application forms
















The PART-IM research cluster (Participatory and Arts-Based Methods Involving Migrants in Health Research) and the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for migrants’ involvement in health research, University of Limerick, in partnership with Doras invite you to an Inaugural Refugee and Migrant Health Research Seminar. This seminar will provide a platform for networking, knowledge exchange and dissemination of migrant health research outcomes, through Irish World Music Café methods (Arts and Music). 
Registration is free on Eventbrite: Migrant health research networking knowledge exchange: Arts based seminar Tickets, Fri 9 Dec 2022 at 09:15 | Eventbrite

November 2022

Join us online Everyone is welcome on a drop-in basis! PPI Club @ UL Special Bursary Session November 30th 1-2pm. A great opportunity for some informal collaborative learning and discussion. Teams meeting link here

Pictured are some participants of the programme are featured and the Lead coordinator Dr Susann Huschke smiling and laughingMAMA SING - IRC New Foundations award. The project aimed to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of mothers living in refugee accommodation. The project explored the use of arts-based participatory methods. We utilised singing and music as tools for self-care, empowerment and community building. The project was co-developed and co-facilitated by mothers living in Direct Provision, thereby increasing participation, ownership and inclusion. The work programme consisted of an online pilot, followed by three in-person workshops in different locations in Limerick. The participants were mothers from different countries, including Sudan, Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Brazil. 
For more information click here

In the picture some participants of the programme are featured with the Lead coordinator Dr Susann Huschke.

Follow this link to watch a video that summarises this collaboration.

RTÉ Brainstorm: "Refugees and migrants often encounter problems if they do not share the same language and cultural background as the healthcare provider". Article by Prof Anne MacFarlane. Full article here:

October 2022

National PPI Festival - Public & patient involvement: connecting communities: 
The first National PPI Festival is happened on 10 – 23 October 2022, offering events all over the country. The PPI Research Unit at the University of Limerick organised and presented some of the events for this year’s calendar:

• 13th October - Webinar “Experiences of co-designing and co-facilitating the ‘What young people want from school mental health and suicide prevention’ video” 

The main focus of this presentation was to discuss the co-design and co-facilitation of a MYSTORY study video sharing young people’s asks for school mental health and suicide prevention, This presentation also overviewed the community partnership between SCY-LAB and Limerick Youth Service and the MYSTORY study.

Please follow this link ( to watch the recording of the presentation, that includes the exhibition of the raising awareness video designed and performed by the youth panel. 

• 14th October – Launch of the UL PPI-Ignite Bursaries call 2022-2023

These bursaries are aimed to support UL researchers and UL PhD candidates in public and patient involvement in health research.  Applications are invited from researchers to support partnerships with community and/or patient organisations. Please consult the information sheet for further details and the application form to apply

Poster for the PPI National Festival Facilitation Skills Workshop in the Shannon Family Resource Centre on 17th October 2022• 17th October - Facilitation Skills Workshop

During facilitation activities, the facilitator is the enabler of the articulation and sharing of participants’ expertise. In this workshop, participants learned to use their presence and skills to enable dialogue and disclosure of the group, so they can feel confident to share their real, personal experiences, opinions, and suggestions/recommendations.

The Facilitation Skills Workshop was a great success having received positive feedback from the participants. We are aiming to run this workshop again for next year's PPI Festival.

• 20th October – Launch of the book “Research Coproduction Healthcare” - webinar 
Professor Anne MacFarlane and Dr Jon Salsberg co-authored the chapter “Conceptualizing and Theorizing for Research Coproduction”.

September 2022
World Health Organisation Setting the Global Research Agenda on Health and Migration - online technical consultation September 26th 13:30 to 16:00 CET

Professor Ailish Hannigan and Professor Anne MacFarlane were invited by WHO Geneva to participate in a consultation about WHO’s Global Research Agenda on Health and Migration. Professor Hannigan was invited to be working group rapporteur, reporting back to the plenary session.

The Irish World Music Cafe Monday 11:30am to 1pm in UL City Campus Sarsfield Street starting on Monday the 26th of September and every monday thereafter. Ласкаво просимо всіх. Безкоштовний чай, кава та музика. Приходь послухати пісню чи запівати свою або просто відпочинь та насолоджуйся! متى: الاثنين من الساعه ١١:٣٠_١ تبدا الكافيه المو سيقيه يوم الاثنين ٢٦-٩،و كل يوم  اثنين يعد ذالك  Free tea, coffee and music, all welcome!


The HRI PART-IM research cluster is delighted to announce that the Irish World Music Café is back live in the UL City Campus. The café was created in 2015 in Limerick, in the context of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. The Café hosts music-based social gatherings which aim to create spaces of hospitality with new migrants in Ireland. Since 2019, cluster PI Prof. Helen Phelan has been working closely with Prof. Anne MacFarlane in integrating the Café model into migrant health research initiatives. In 2020, the café moved online and cluster member Dr Hala Jaber coordinates a vibrant cafe facebook page. From 26 September 2022 onwards, the café will meet on a weekly basis on Mondays, 11.30-1pm in the city campus, coordinated by cluster member Ewa Zak-Dyndal, in association with our community partner, Doras, represented by Ahmed Hassan and Serhii Korobstov





August 2022

Cover for Volume 25 Number 4 August 2022 ISSN 1369-6513 edition of Health Expectations, an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy titled 'What's up with everyone?' edited by Carolyn A. Chew-Graham



Editorial ‘Disrupting patterns of exclusion in participatory spaces: Involving people from vulnerable populations’ co-authored by Anne MacFarlane and Joe LeMaster now published in Health Expectations’ What’s Up With Everyone? issue








Left to right a photo of Professor Ailish Hannigan and Professor Helen PhelanProf Helen Phelan, with STEM co-PI Prof Ailish Hannigan, was selected as one of 21 recipients to receive a total investment of €4.9 million under the Collaborative Alliances for Societal Challenges (COALESCE) programme. The awards are being made as part of the fourth cycle of COALESCE, which funds excellent research addressing national and European-global challenges.
The interdisciplinary, participatory project titled “The Arts, Data literacy and Diversity (ADD)” explores how the arts can be used to develop data literacy. This research will develop a project that shares songs and data, in partnership with communities from different cultural backgrounds and will combine the arts and statistics to explore the impact of musical sharing on how data is understood and interpreted. The project addresses the UN sustainable development goal of reducing inequality, as many people are excluded from the new world of data by language, poverty, lack of education, and discrimination.

June 2022

3 Photos top one of Keynote speakers Dr Anne Drabczyk and Prof. Sean Dinneen with Dr Jon Salsberg of UL PPI below are 2 photos of the workshops attended by PPI Summer School attendees7th Public and Patient Involvement Annual Summer School 

The PPI Research Unit organised the 7th PPI Annual Summer School, hosted in person on the 23rd and 24th of June. UL welcomed 87 participants from various backgrounds: community organisations, PPI contributors, Academia, policy makers and students. 

The keynote addresses were given by Professor Séan Dinneen, from NUI Galway, and Dr Anne Drabczyk, Fulbright Commission USA & UL. 

During the two days, the participants were divided into smaller groups to attend 8 dynamic workshops. 

For more information, see the full programme and bios.


May 2022

Community Interpreting Conference 2022 May 13th 9:30-16:00 Millstream Common Room University of Limerick Keynote Speaker: Dr Théophile Munyangeyo and Conference Chair: Professor Anne MacFarlane




We hosted the Community Interpreting Conference 2022, May 13th, organised by the PPI Research Unit with Keynote Speaker Dr Théophile Munyangeyo and Prof. Anne MacFarlane as Conference Chair.

Programme and map to the event here

April 2022

Professor Anne MacFarlane and Professor Ailish Hannigan's completed research about ethnicity data collection has been featured in the HRB Your Health Research in Action publication. The Ethnic Minority Health in Ireland project was co-designed by academic, community and health sector partners. It mapped where information about ethnicity and culture was already being collected in relation to health. It also focused on what enables or stops ethnicity data collection in primary care settings from the point of view of Irish Travellers, refugees and immigrants, as well as GPs. You may read about it more here.

Poster for Collaborative Dissemination Planning Workshop Friday 22nd April 2022 facilitated by Meghan Gilfoyle and Jon Salsberg

March 2022

Poster for Plenary Session held by World Health Organization 17-18 March 2022

Professor Anne MacFarlane was invited to speak at a Plenary session of the WHO European Region, a High-Level Meeting on Health and Migration, March 17th 2022. Professor MacFarlane was representing the Region’s network of migrant health Collaborating Centres.  

The participation provided an opportunity to summarise research findings from her national and international research programme about the importance of trained interpreters in healthcare consultations for Ministries of Health from the 53 Member States. The relevance of the issue was very clear and poignant at this time given the crises in Ukraine and the rising numbers of refugees displaced in Europe because of that conflict.

December 2021

Join us for this special Irish World Music Café to celebrate International Human Rights Day with songs and stories, and to launch a new action plan for migrant health research, supported by the HRI, UL and IRC. Link here.

Poster for Irish World Music Café event held 10th December 2021

November 2021

The PPI-RU and HRI PART IM research cluster leading an arts-based workshop @ NAPCRG Annual Meeting 2021. Breathing exercises for everyone for whole body engagement in our discussions!

Photo of participants doing the breathing exercises

The launch of the PPI Ignite Network was such a positive event, with great enthusiasm and good will evident, even online. Our own Dr. Jon Salsberg presented on Embedding PPI in education/training and PPI Manager, Úna McInerney, aided Martha Killilea with the hearing from the audience section. Launch video available: here.

Professor Anne MacFarlane was invited by WHO Euro to present the PPI Research Unit, WHO Collaborating Centre for Migrants’ Involvement in Health Research as a case study at a WHO Collaborating Centres Regional Webinar, November 2-3 2021.

October 2021

‘What helps people with aphasia to live well?’ Presenting the findings of Molly Manning’s interview study with people with aphasia in Ireland.
This interview study and dissemination format was informed by consultation with PPI contributors with aphasia.

Poster for Black History Month 2021 Webinar Event curated by John Nutekpor




"Resuscitating our Culture Experience through the Arts" 
Webinar Event for Black History Month Curated by John Nutekpor in association with Microsoft, Limerick




September 2021

Dr. Molly Manning’s PhD paper is one of the top 10% most cited papers in PLOS ONE for 2019.
Dr. Molly Manning is lecturer in Speech & Language Therapy. Her research focus includes participatory implementation approaches to improving stroke care for living well with aphasia.

Photo of Dénia Claudino


Welcome to Dénia Claudino who has joined us as Project Officer at the PPI Research Unit. She comes with both research and NGO experience and will be supporting all of our projects.


June 2021

The opinion paper ‘Optimising individual and community involvement in health decision-making in general practice consultations and primary care settings: A way forward’ by Dr. Anne MacFarlane was selected by the Editors as one of the most valued articles published in European Journal of General Practice in 2020.

Poster for 6th Annual PPI Summer School held online June 24th and 25th 2021




The PPI Summer School took place online again in 2021. With over 160 people registered, we had lots of lively discussion and information-sharing.




May 2021

MEHR Pillar's Talking with Patients Workshop May 29th 2021Professor Anne MacFarlane presented at the European Medical Students Association Talking with Patients workshop about communication with refugees and migrants.

Photo of Anna PapyanWelcome to Anna Papyan who has joined the PPI Research Unit as research assistant for the HRI-funded Participatory arts-based research for involving migrants in health research cluster (PART-IM). The cluster is led by Research Unit member Professor Helen Phelan of the Irish World Academy of Music and Research.

Photo of Dr Jon SalsbergCongratulations to Dr Jon Salsberg who received a Research Recognition Awards 2020/21 from UL Faculty of Education and Health Sciences. Jon’s award was in the Research Culture category for his work in promoting public and patient involvement in health research.


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