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Personal profile


Shivani Sharma (she/her- name is of Indian heritage)

I joined the University in 2009 as a lecturer in Health Psychology and the Institution Lead of a fully online, extra-curricular personal development programme for students. I rapidly progressed into academic management, holding posts including Associate Head of Department and Associate Dean (Education & Student Experience). I am currently Head of the Department of Psychology, Sport, and Geography, and the Executive Lead for Equality, Diversity and Widening Participation in the School of Life and Medical Sciences. As the first to enter university in my family, I am passionate about maximising the transformative potential of higher education for students, and staff crafting their own careers. I strive to disrupt systems, practices, and cultures that act as barriers to equity in this space, championing kindness, integrity, and connection in my approach. 

I have pursued management in parallel to research. I am an Associate Professor, and my interest is in health inequalities, specifically the impact of multiple disadvantages in long-term health conditions. I collaborate with teams nationally and internationally to rethink how systems of care can be planned and delivered to support greater health equity in contexts such as kidney disease, blood cancer, and mental health. My research and management practice has been supported by funding awards of circa £7 million, with over £4 million as a Principal Investigator/Project Lead.   

Outside of the University, I am a member of the National Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Transplant Alliance (NBTA) and a visiting fellow at the George Institute for Global Health (Delhi-India). I have previously also been part of the National Centre for Universities and Business’s (NCUB) inaugural ‘50 under 30’ future leader’s network.

Using my skills to make a difference in the community is important to me and I regularly take on voluntary roles. I have acted as Deputy Chair of Governors at a School for Children with Special Educational Needs and I am currently Chair of the Swindon South Asian Performing Arts Centre. Here I have helped raise more than £80k towards projects that bolster creative communities. I am also the immediate past Chair of Board of Trustees at Coppafeel!- a national charity working towards better awareness and early detection of breast cancer in young people. During my time at the charity, I supported the launch of the first diversity and inclusion strategy, as well as underpinning delivery plans. In recognition of my contribution to equality, diversity, and inclusion leadership overall, I was shortlisted under Public Service in the Asian Women of Achievements Awards (2023). I have also received various awards for driving inclusive research as part of collaborative teams.

Research interests

My research is largely based in the health services. I have expertise in:

  • Widening access to research for under-represented groups
  • Development and cross cultural adaptation of Patient Reported Outcome/ Experience Measures
  • Barriers and facilitators of treatment engagement 
  • Psychosocial interventions and their evaluation 
  • Co-production of research with patients, carers, and the public
  • Mixed-methods research
  • Systematic reviews

Some of my current projects include:

  • Understanding and measuring the burden of pruritus (itch) in kidney patients (KRUK funded)
  • Embedding culturally inclusive mental health in kidney care
  • Broadening the lens of quality improvement exercises for health equity


I am currently supervising a number of PhD’s. Existing students include:

  • Carole Kelly: Lived experiences of late diagnosed autistic women
  • Neerja Jain: Making kidney research representative
  • Melis Duru: Autism in Turkish Cypriot communities
  • Rachel Don Bosco: Race equality in the medical professions 
  • Lauren Fitzgerald: Intersection of severe mental health and kidney disease
  • Emma Caton: Development of a burden of dialysis scale

Recently completed:

  • Dr Roisin Mooney: Depression in South Asian patients being treated with Haemodialysis 
  • Dr Abigail Hucker: Adherence in kidney transplant recipients
  • Dr Diamantis Toutountzidis: Early life adversities and psychosis-like experiences in the general population
  • Dr Stella Mo: The impact of socio-cultural values on autistic women 
  • Dr Buse Keskindag: Illness perceptions in Turkish Cypriot dialysis patients 
  • Dr Anna Jones: Childhood cancer diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic

Teaching specialisms

  • Core Research Skills
  • Health Psychology 
  • Cross-cultural Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology

External positions

Chair of Board of Trustees, Coppafeel!

4 Apr 2022 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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