Di is the University's Executive Dean Research being responsible for NTU's research environment. In this role she retains overall management responsibility for the Research and Strategic Partnership Development Team as well as overseeing NTU's five strategic research themes and leading the Health and Wellbeing one of these. Di also leads on researcher development for the University. Di has a professional background as a psychologist and social worker, she has a practice and clinical background in mental health. She supervises a number of postgraduate research students and research staff.
Di researches in the following areas:
- mental health including care for people with different types of mental health problems as well as research relating to the mental health workforce
- working with individuals with complex needs such as mental health and offending
- service user involvement in research, practice and service development
- health and social care
- organisational change and development
- leadership and management in the public sector
Di teaches research skills and methods to post graduate researchers and contributes to a range of career development opportunities for researchers at all career stages.
Di was the Associate Dean for Research in the School of Social Sciences at NTU from 2016-2019
Di was Head of the Department of Social Work and Health at NTU from 2010-2016
Prior to joining Nottingham Trent University in 2010, Di held the position of Reader in Social Work at Durham University from 2005-2010
Between 1995-2005 Di was employed by the University of Birmingham where she held the role of Principal Lecturer in Mental Health. In 2002 during her time at Birmingham Di was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for excellent teaching in interdisciplinary, mental health education.
Di is a Principal Fellow of the HEA and a Chartered Member of the CIPD. She is a registered social worker with Social Work England.
Di has particular research expertise in:
- Participatory Action Research
- Systematic Reviews
- Evaluation Research
Di has extensive experience in mental health research and practice. She has over 30 years' experience evaluating the education, development and workforce change in health and social care. Di has established interdisciplinary centres of excellence in mental health education and research and is committed to the involvement of people who use services and their families in all aspects of service design delivery and evaluation.
Current research projects include:
- developing pan-Africa mental health initiatives with western trained practitioners and indigenous knowledge holders
- embedding the social care role in integrated health and social care teams for older adults with complex needs
- improving outcomes for those with mental health issues who self-harm
- providing mental health interventions to children and young people
Di is an Honorary Professor Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. She is an expert reviewer for the National Institute for Health Research and a member of the NICE Committee reviewing clinical guidelines for mental health conditions in young people. Di is Editor in Chief for the Journal of Mental Health, Training Education and Practice.
Sponsors and collaborators
Di is currently leading on a range of projects using a Participatory Action Research Approach to improve outcomes for people using health and social care services. She works with a range of service user groups including Making Waves, Launchpad, and SEA.
Di’s research has involved her in working with Rampton Hospital, various prisons, Nottinghamshire County Council, Ashfield District Council and Age UK Nottinghamshire.
Di has links with a range of prisons and secure hospitals across the Country. Di works with a number of health trusts and social care organisations including: Ashfield District Council, Nottingham City Health, Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Councils.
- Offender health
- Mental health
- Social work
- Action research