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Prof. Anne MacFarlane


Graduate Entry Medical School

Dr Susann Huschke


Anne MacFarlane is Professor of Primary Healthcare Research at the Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick. She has a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a MA and PhD in Health Promotion. Anne is the first social scientist to hold a Chair in academic primary care in Ireland (since 2011). She has established an inter-disciplinary ‘Public and Patient Involvement’ research unit at the Graduate Entry Medical School, with members from general practice, biostatistics, physiotherapy, sociology and psychology

Research Expertise

Anne’s research focuses is on health equity and community involvement in primary health care. She has a specific interest in migrants’ involvement in health since 2002 and was co-ordinator for the EU FP7 funded RESTORE project 2011-2015.

She collaborates with WHO Europe’s office for Public Health and Migration on several projects including Health Evidence Network Synthesis projects for high level policy meetings. She is an active member of the North American Primary Care Research Group Special Interest Group for Refugee and Migrant Health and is on the Committee on Advancing the Science of Family Medicine group for Participatory Research in Primary Care. She established, and is co-lead for, the Migrant Health Research Group in the International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research.

Recently, Anne was invited to deliver the annual Helen Lester Memorial Lecture at the UK’s Society of Academic Primary Care Annual Scientific Meeting (July, 2018): The Leper’s Squint: Spaces for participation in primary healthcare.

Research Leadership

In addition to academic leadership of the PPI Research Unit in GEMS, Anne has led the development of PPI as a theme in UL’s Health Research institute. She successfully led an institutional bid for the Health Research Board’s PPI Ignite awards and is now PI for that programme of work.

Anne has extensive experience of post-graduate research supervision. She has completed training as a mentor and is active in mentoring schemes in UL, the national Aurora programme for women academics and the UK Society for Academic Primary Care. 

Research Impact

Anne’s research programme is designed to build the evidence base about health equity and to improve policy and practice, particularly in relation to migrant health care.

She has led the development of national guidelines for communication in cross-cultural general practice consultations (2009-2011). Her research is cited in and has shaped the HSE’s 1st national inter-cultural health strategy (2008-2013) and has been submitted for the consideration to the 2nd national intercultural strategy (2017). She chaired a HSE working group on the implementation of trained interpreters in the Irish health service (2016-2018).  She is Senior Consultant for the implementation of WHO Europe’s first Strategy and Action Plan for Migrant Health (since 2017). Her research has informed the medical education curriculum in GEMS (professional competency: sociology) and the Irish College of General Practitioners (intercultural health).

Ongoing Projects

Project Title Role Year of Award Amount total (€) Funder Duration
RESTORE follow up – Summer Student Scholarshiop


PI 2018 €2,400 HRB 1 year
PPI Ignite PI 2017 €348,909 HRB & IRC 3 years


Ethnic Minority Health-Ireland Co-creating knowledge (EMH-IC) PI 2015 €293,611 HRB 3 years
Migrants’ involvement in health research (MIMS)


PI     HSE


2 years
Vulnerable New Communities


Co-PI 2017 €79,501 HSE 2 years

Selected Publications

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: 

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 2018,21(1) 159-170, available: 

Tierney, E., McEvoy, R., Hannigan, A. and MacFarlane, A. E. (2018) 'Implementing community participation via interdisciplinary teams in primary care: An Irish case study in practice', Health Expect,

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', Res Involv Engagem, 3,28, available: [accessed 

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: 

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: 

O’Reilly, P., Lee, S.H., O’Sullivan, M., Cullen, W., Kennedy, C. and MacFarlane, A. (2017) 'Assessing the facilitators and barriers of interdisciplinary team working in primary care using normalisation process theory: An integrative review', PLoS One, 12(5),e0177026, available: 

Papadakaki, M., Lionis, C., Saridaki, A., Dowrick, C., de Brun, T., O'Reilly-de Brun, 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', Eur J Gen Pract, 23(1), Dec, 128-134, available: 

Teunissen, E., Gravenhorst, K., Dowrick, C., Van Weel-Baumgarten, E.-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-Baumgarten, E., 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: