Our Projects

Completed Projects

The O4O project (Older people for older people) was established by The Centre for Rural Health (the pre-cursor to the Rural Health and Wellbeing Group) to combat social exclusion and promote health and wellbeing of our older people.


Current Projects

Culture Change

Culture Change for Healthcare Greenspace Engagement

The Healthcare Greenspace Project builds on the work undertaken in the Hospital Grounds Greenspace (HGG) Project (funded by AHRC and SFC, 2010-2012) which sought to encourage greater use of hospital grounds for health and well-being benefit. Healthcare Greenspace will utilise materials produced within HGG such as workshop frameworks, an engagement toolkit and greenspace intervention evaluation guidance to disseminate knowledge to health services managers, clinical staff, other healthcare workers, environmental sector professionals and voluntary sector agencies about how to get staff, visitors and patients using healthcare buildings’ grounds and adjacent ‘public’ greenspace for health and wellbeing benefit.

The main activities will be:
Combined dissemination and training workshops for health service managers, clinical and other staff.
Cross-sector (health, environment, public and voluntary) networking and exchange events.

Taking part in the workshops will equip stakeholders with the tools needed to plan and deliver greenspace activities and improvements at various types of healthcare setting. Our work will contribute to the evidence base around how to facilitate behaviour change in order to increase positive use of greenspaces and will run from September 2013 to September 2014.

Project Team

Dr. Sarah-Anne Munoz (Principal Investigator, UHI)
Dr. Fiona Smith (Co-Investigator, University of Dundee)

Our Funders: AHRC Knowledge Exchange Follow-On Funding Scheme
Our Partners: Forestry Commission; NHS Forth Valley; NHS Highland

Project Materials available for download:

Hospital Grounds Greenspace (HGG) Engagement Toolkit (pdf 3.15Mb)
Hospital Grounds Greenspace (HGG) Guide to Drawing on Social Return on Investment (pdf, 2.78Mb)

Being Here

Being Here Evaluation

The Being Here project is an initiative to build the sustainability of health and care services in remote and rural areas. The Project is managed by NHS Highland and part-funded by the Scottish Government. In order to build sustainability, the project aims to develop and test new models for remote and rural health and care services in Scotland.

The Rural Health and Wellbeing Team is carrying out part of the Being Here research and evaluation programme, which is being managed by the NHS Highland Research and Development Department. The evaluation includes establishing a baseline by carrying out fieldwork in each of the Being Here test sites, with regular follow-up fieldwork across the lifetime of the project to assess progress. Field work in this instance involves visiting the Being Here test sites and interviewing residents, community representatives, and health and social care professionals, as well as attending community group meetings.

Project Team

Rural Health and Wellbeing team: Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz, Dr Jenny Hall, Dr Sara Bradley
NHS Highland R&D: Frances Hines 
Remote and Rural Programme Manager: Martine Scott

Principal Partner and Funders: NHS Highland

Project Materials available for download:

Being Here Newsletter (produced by NHS Highland)



Project Aims:

• Explore feasibility of using satellite data to map tick presence in the Highlands of Scotland – if it would be useful to people, and how they would use it.
• Explore what is missing from information currently available about ticks and Lyme disease.
• Co-design risk mitigation strategies for use by those at risk of exposure to ticks, and therefore Lyme disease, using community engagement methodologies.

Ticks and Lyme disease are issues of increasing concern to Highland communities, especially so for those who are exposed on a regular basis including forestry workers, gamekeepers, land and estate managers, and their employees. People can also be exposed through more ‘everyday’ and leisure-based activities, such as dog walking or gardening.

The study aims to test ways of gathering local knowledge on outdoor behaviours, as well as exploring the awareness of ticks and Lyme disease in the Scottish Highlands. Using a community engagement approach UHI designed a mixed-methods study to allow us to gain a better understanding of the experiences of those communities at risk of exposure and with concerns about the issue. The information we collected was used to co-design risk mitigation strategies suitable for use within the communities.

The first strategy, which is currently being piloted, is a package of awareness raising materials that includes a series of tick check cards – to encourage people to check for ticks, a bug and tick treasure hunt game – that encourages active use of outdoors spaces to learn about map reading, route navigation, bug and habitat identification, and awareness of behaviours to implement in areas where there may be ticks present, and an online toolkit-style resource with downloadable components that can be used on personal or organisational communication, such as a website, leaflet or event information. The second, and currently in application for funding to develop further, is a smartphone application that uses citizen science and satellite data to generate maps illustrating probably of tick presence. It is anticipated that the app will also provide users with information about ticks and Lyme disease.

Project Team

Principal Investigator: Prof. George Gunn, SRUC.
Co-Investigator: Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz, Rural Health and Wellbeing, University of the Highlands and Islands.
Dr Jenny Hall
Dr Kate Stephen
Contact: , School of Health Research, Rural Health and Wellbeing, University of the Highlands and Islands

Project Website and blog: www.checkforticks.org.uk

Our Funders: The Robertson Trust, European Space Agency
Our Partners: NHS Highland RD&I, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Environmental Research Group Oxford (ERGO), AVIA-GIS (Zoersel, Belgium).

Project publications:

March 2016: IOSH Rural Industries Group Forestry Sector Update: https://www.iosh.co.uk/Membership/Our-membership-network/Our-Groups/Rural-Industries-Group/Past-events.aspx

June 2016: Rethinking Remote Conference, Journal of Remote and Rural Health: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/showarticlenew.asp?ArticleID=4095

Using a Community Engagement Approach to Encourage Lyme Disease Risk Mitigation (journal article, forthcoming)

Project events


August – October 2016: Tick and Lyme disease awareness raising materials pilot phase – www.checkforticks.org.uk and at Abriachan Forest

October 2016: Outdoor Recreation Conference (Pitlochry) – behaviour change workshop (Context: Community engagement, co-designing behaviour change interventions and Lyme disease)

November 2016: Rural Health and Wellbeing Showcase (Inverness) – research update and demonstration of materials/poster presentation

November 2006: UHI Research Conference (Inverness) – research update and demonstration of materials/poster presentation

November 2016: NHS Highland Research, Development & Innovation Annual Conference (Inverness) – poster presentation

November 2016: Rural Health and Wellbeing Seminar Series (Inverness) - research update and demonstration of materials/poster presentation


May 2015: LymeMAP Launch Event (Centre for Health Science, Inverness)

June – December 2015: Community Engagement Workshops Phase One (Lochaber, Cairngorms National Park, Balloch Inverness, Forestry Commission Scotland)

September 2015: Inaugural UHI Health and Wellbeing Research Cluster (Centre for Health Science, Inverness) – Oral presentation: LymeMAP

September 2016: Texas A&M University visit (Inverness) – research update and rural research discussion

September 2016: National Access Forum (Perth) - research update and demonstration of materials

September 2016: Heath Protection Scotland Lyme Borreliosis Sub-Group meeting (Glasgow) – research update and demonstration of materials

March 2016: IOSH Rural Industries: Forestry Specialists (Environment Agency, Penrith) – Oral presentation: Ticks and Lyme disease in Highland

April – July 2016: Community Engagement Workshops Phase Two (Lochaber, Cairngorms National Park, Balloch Inverness, Forestry Commission Scotland)

May 2016: Rethinking Remote: Innovate Solutions in Remote Healthcare Conference (Eden Court, Inverness) – Oral Presentation: Using a community engagement approach to encourage Lyme disease risk mitigation

Psychiatric clinics VC

Evaluation of VC psychiatric clinics in care homes in the Highlands

The Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT) worked with NHS Highland between 2011 and 2014 to enable the introduction of a number of video conferencing (VC) facilities in care homes for the provision of psychiatric services. This Rural Health and Wellbeing team is evaluating the VC psychiatric clinics. We are combining a realist approach with health economics (being carried out by the Economic Intelligence Unit at UHI).

The project team is collecting information about how the service is working and whether it is meeting the needs of service users, care home staff and the NHS. We are looking to understand what works well and why both for service users and for those who provide the service.

Project Team

Dr Jenny Hall, Research Fellow, Rural Health and Wellbeing
Dr Sara Bradley, Research Fellow, Rural Health and Wellbeing

Our Funders: Joint Improvement Team (JIT), through the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT)
Our Partners: NHS Highland, SCTT

HbA1c monitoring

Remote HbA1c monitoring (RHAM)

Good blood glucose control is essential for effective management of diabetes, with high blood glucose increasing the risk and associated costs of complications. Glycaemic control in diabetes is monitored by regular testing of HbA1c. In NHS Highland patients requiring HbA1c tests attend their GP practice for venepuncture, with blood samples sent to Raigmore Hospital for analysis. This project aims to provide a more convenient and acceptable method of blood sample collection especially for rural dwellers: dried blood spots prepared by the patient at home using capillary blood. The project builds on a pilot study which demonstrated a strong correlation between venous and capillary dried blood spot HbA1c levels. The study is being conducted in two phases:

Phase 1: Semi-structured interviews to the point of saturation with a cohort of patients attending urban (Inverness) and peripheral (Skye) diabetes clinics to ascertain views on the dried blood spot and HbA1c self-testing approach in diabetes management. This will both help inform phase 2 content and augment opinions of service users on the wider question of compliance with long term monitoring of diabetes. The protocol for Phase 2 will reflect these views.

Phase 2: Participants attending routine clinics in Inverness will be recruited and asked to prepare dried blood spots at home and return these by post to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for analysis. Results will be compared with HbA1c levels in venous samples taken at the routine clinics. A questionnaire will assess participants' views on ease of use and acceptability after completion and return of dried blood samples.

Project Team

Professor Sandra MacRury, Professor of Clinical Diabetes
Dr Jenny Hall, Research Fellow, Rural Health and Wellbeing

Our Funders: Chief Scientist Office
Our Partners: NHS Highland - Dr Marie Van Drimmelen, Consultant Chemical Pathologist

Representing Communities

Representing Communities

This project seeks to develop the creative power of people to improve health and wellbeing. The aim of this project is to establish how community representations produced through creative arts practices such as storytelling, performance and visual arts, can be used as forms of evidence to inform health-related policy and service development.

There are 5 case study areas - North Merthyr, Wales (post-industrial); Butetown, Cardiff, Wales (African-Caribbean diaspora); Hodge Hill, Birmingham, England ( Pakistani-Asian diaspora); Dennistoun, Glasgow, Scotland (inner-city) and Cromarty, The Black Isle, Scotland - a place defined by Scottish Government as 'deep rural'.

This study is developing methods for using creative art forms as a mode of communication and knowledge exchange. In each of the five distinct case-study communities we are connecting with relevant policy-makers, researchers and arts practitioners. This project will consider how perceptions and experiences of community health and wellbeing vary across time and changing circumstances, and how communities and the people living in them are represented in relation to key differences and divisions relating to gender, class, ethnicity and age.

What does the Representing Cromarty case study involve?
1) Exploring the links between community representations of health, the dynamics of aging and rural health services provision
2) Discussing how life in Cromarty has helped and hindered people in achieving good times and good health or in coping with the very opposite
3 )Working with both 'old' and 'new' residents of any age

Project Team This project is led by Professor Gareth Williams (PI) at the Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Wellbeing at the University of Cardiff. In addition to Cardiff and UHI, the University of South Wales, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, The School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at University of Birmingham and The School of English at University of Leeds are also involved in this work.

This project runs from July 2013 - June 2016.

Project Website: representingcommunities.co.uk

Facebook: Representing Cromarty

Twitter: @repcromarty

The project team in the north

Senior Research Fellow in Rural Health, Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz
Dr Issie MacPhail.

Our Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council via a Communities, Cultures, Health and Wellbeing Research Grant which is part of the Cross-Research Council Connected Communities programme.
Our Partners: NHS Highland and The Highland Archive Centre are partners in this research. The Cromarty Youth Café, High Life Highland Youth Officer, The Fourways Club, Cromarty and District Community Council, The Cromarty History Society, The Cromarty Arts Trust, Cromarty Courthouse Museum and The Cromarty Archive are co-producers in this project.

Cultural amnesia

Lesions in the Landscape

This is a Wellcome Trust funded project about amnesia and broken cultural memory. The work operates at the art/ science/ medicine interface. The project uses Sensecam, a small camera worn round the neck, which automatically takes photos, in reaction to sensory triggers. It has been found that when Claire, who is a project participant with severe amnesia due to a brain lesion, looks at Sensecam photos, she can sometimes experience floods of remembering, despite being no longer able to form new memories or recognise faces, at all. A major exhibition by artist, Shona Illingworth, is a key component of the work.

Amnesia Museum Exhibit by Issie MacPhail: 'How Space Hides Time'

Shona Illingworth's exhibition from this work opened at FACT in September 2015. I have an exhibit in The Amnesia Museum, which forms part of this touring exhibition. Its' title is 'How Space Hides Time: GPS Journeys in the St Kilda Archipelago'. The piece consists of 8 photo strips of fragments of specific GPS tracked journeys, by people working in St Kilda. The aim is to re-inscribe the presence of people working there, since life in the present is very much erased by the focus on St Kilda as historical site and biosecure, environmental lab. National Trust for Scotland (NTS) have 3 full-time seasonal staff on St Kilda, April till October, each year. This team are augmented by NTS work parties and scientific teams, particularly staff from The Soya Sheep Project. That project has been running for 30 years and explores population dynamics and evolution in a (relatively) closed system - the biosecure island of Hirte. St Kilda is also within the EG D701 Danger Area Complex, The MOD Hebrides Range. This is part of the rocket testing and tracking complex and the EG D701 designation enables the maintenance of what is called, 'sanitised airspace', for that purpose. This kind of work is mainly carried out by sub-contractors, working 'a month on/ a month off', all year round. My GPS tracks were created with or by the 'Lesions' project film and sound team and NTS staff.

Conceptually, my work explores the anthropologist, Tim Ingold's, contention that 'everything is a parliament of lines'. He proposes that embodied and emplaced practices of dwelling involve circuits and tangles - that to know a place, you must go round in circles. The GPS tracks of the journeys in St Kilda bear this out. It is noticeable, that as people know the place better, their routes becomes more, not less, circuitous. (Ingold 2007, p5; 2011, pp90-91) The aesthetic inspiration for the GPS Journey fragments came from two sources. In the form I chose, I was thinking of the strips of photos which Photo Booths spit out: photos used to assert and anchor identity through their use in library cards, bus passes, passports and Driving Licences. My other influence is the work of the Scottish map maker and translator, John Ogilby. His road atlas of England and Wales, Britannia (1675) was the first known road atlas and was a monumental work. In it he uses strip maps, instead of the kind of fuller maps we might expect today. These beautiful drawings, which seem to describe routes which are fairly close to a straight line, hint at the sensory corridors encountered while journeying (Fleet, Wilkes and Withers 2011, pp203-207; Pink 2010).

The project team

The core team are neuropsychologist, Professor Martin Conway, neuropsychologist, Dr Catherine Loveday and artist, Shona Illingworth. Professor Jill Bennett, Dean of Experimental Arts at University of New South Wales (UNSW), is writing a book about the work, and staff at UNSW have produced a virtual reality 'Amnesia Atlas', around this work. The Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), in Liverpool, also partner in this work.

Dr Issie MacPhail assisted Shona with preliminary fieldwork in 2012 in St Kilda, to concept test this work. She is listed as an 'Advisor on the production of historical knowledge and contemporary and historical representations of the Highlands and Highlanders', in The Wellcome Trust application. Issie has provided key sources and literature for the development of the art installation, undertaken fieldwork in St Kilda with the film team in 2014 and 2015, been recorded for the work, provided props for the film work and provided a Working paper, titled 'Beyond Euclidian Convenience: Notes on the Paper Artifice of St Kilda', on which Shona has drawn, for her creative practice. Issie tracked the work of the film and sound team, using ethnographic field methods, from 2012 to 2015. Her material includes a substantial photographic record and GPS tracking. She is contributing to the project book, due for publication in 2016 - Liverpool University Press and FACT.

Project funders and partners:

Funders Wellcome Trust and FACT - Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool.
Partners City University, London 
University of Westminster, London 
University of Kent, London 
University of New South Wales, Australia 
FACT, Liverpool - Foundation for Art and Creative Technology 

Project Materials and downloads:

A copy of my 'How Space Hides Time' exhibit, currently touring (2015- 2016) as part of The Amnesia Museum, is on display in the Centre for Health Science, Inverness.

UNSW Galleries, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
1 March - 4 June 2016
Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Art Gallery, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
June - July 2016
CGP London and Dilston Grove, London
2 October - 6th November 2016

Amnesia Forums - a series on interdisciplinary forums taking place across the UK- September 2013 - September 2016
Amnesia Lab - an international symposium and exhibition, UNSW Galleries, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia - 20 September to 8 November, 2015
Whitechapel Gallery, London - a two day international symposium, 8th and 9th October 2016

Lesions in the Landscape (working title). Fully illustrated hardback book on the project published by FACT and Liverpool University Press, 2016. Issie MacPhail will have a chapter in this book.
A further book by Jill Bennett on the project will be published by Bloomsbury for their Thinking in the World, series. 2016

Project Website / Links Related to Project

Amnesia Fora and Fieldwork 

Current Exhibition 18th Sept - 22nd Nov 2015 - FACT website

The Amnesia Museum (same dates)

Amnesia Forum, FACT, 18th September: Issie MacPhail was a panellist

Invited by FACT and UNSW to attend - Arts and Health Futures Event - DEMENTIA 2018: A Festival Of Radical Ideas And Actions: Stakeholder Day, FACT, Sat 7th Nov 2015.
Partners include, the National Museums, Liverpool, NHS Choices, BBC TV, Alzheimer's Society, The Trebus Project, King's College, Liverpool John Moores, in the UK; and University of New South Wales' National Institute for Experimental Arts, National Facility for Human Robot Interaction, and the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing - as well as their corporate and philanthropic partners. The Festival will be an arts led interdisciplinary exploration of our relationship to brain aging, memory and perception, as seen through the lens of dementia.

See Me

See Me 'Migrants Matter'

The project hopes to identify the additional challenges affecting mental health well-being of people from EU migrant worker communities living in the Highlands and to find ways to overcome these. A participatory action research approach will be taken involving peer researchers at every stage of the project.

Project Team

Project Team Dr Kate Stephen
Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz

Our Funders: See Me, Scotland's Programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.

Our Partners: Birchwood Highland, HUG (Action for Mental Health), SPEAK, Spirit Advocacy, Befrienders Highland, Samaritans, Creativity in Care, and Highland Council.

Project links

Project's Facebook page