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Rural Health Humanities Network

The Rural Health Humanities Hub is a supportive peer group for social science and humanities researchers within UHI with an interest in rural health and wellbeing. Our overall objective is to promote and facilitate the development of rural health and wellbeing research and teaching within the social sciences and humanities at UHI. In doing so, we aim to:

  • Increase the amount of internal collaborative research and knowledge exchange activities in the area of rural health and wellbeing, including grant-funded research, knowledge exchange activities, academic writing and public engagement.
  • Increase the amount of rural health and wellbeing research carried out at REF rating 2* and above, with a view to REF 2020.
  • Increase internal awareness, and exchange of, research outputs in order to strengthen research-teaching linkages in the area of rural health and wellbeing.
  • Increase the number of students pursuing rural health and wellbeing topics within the humanities and social sciences.
  • Increase external awareness of our existing and developing strengths in rural health and wellbeing within the social sciences and humanities, in order to stimulate external collaborations and increase the impact of our work beyond the network.

To join the Hub, or for more information please contact: Dr. Sarah-Anne Munoz, Senior Research Fellow in Rural Health, sarah-anne.munoz@uhi.ac.uk

Rural Health Humanities Hub Members

Dr. Gareth Davies, Programme Leader in Master of Education and Honorary Research Fellow

Gareth is a health psychologist with an interest in the help-seeking behaviour of patients in remote and rural settings and understanding the impact of place on health behaviour.  Gareth also has a background in rural resources management.

Areas of expertise: Health Psychology; Qualitative research methods; Rural health behaviour


Dr. Rachel Erskine, Programme Leader in MA Health and Wellbeing and MSc Infection Prevention and Control

Dr Rachel Erskine qualified as a BSc (hons) Adult Nurse and has worked in both general hospitals and in community nursing as a community nurse and practice nurse. Rachel was the first PhD graduate with Lews Castle College UHI in 2005. Her teaching and research interests lie with the epidemiology of common mental health issues (depression, alcohol & substance misuse, dementia, learning disability, suicide and self-harm) and the social and cultural associates and determinants of these issues as presented in the remote & rural communities.

Areas of expertise: Research supervision at undergraduate and postgraduate levels; Service delivery issues in remote and rural areas; Mental health issues in remote and rural areas


Dr Jayne Glass, Research Associate, Centre for Mountain Studies

Jayne is an interdisciplinary environmental researcher and a proponent of the use of participatory methods and decision-making for sustainability. Her research involves working with a range of stakeholders engaged in managing Scotland’s environment.

Areas of expertise: Rural development and land use; Sustainability; Community engagement; Qualitative and participatory research


Prof. Donna Heddle, Director of Centre for Nordic Studies

Donna is an interdisciplinary practitioner -  primarily a cultural historian -  with an interest in issues affecting depopulation in rural and island communities and in the history and practice of traditional health and wellbeing.

Areas of expertise: Traditional beliefs and customs; Health and sustainability; Community research


Dr. Philomena de Lima, Director of the Centre for Remote and Rural Studies

Philomena is a Sociologist .Her  research  interest is in  the complex and contingent  interaction and relationships between  rural communities and ‘place’,  with a particular  focus on issues related to  social justice and community/ household /individual strategies for addressing inequalities across  a number of social policy fields.

Areas of expertise: Equalities /inequalities across life course stage; Rural poverty and social exclusion; Migrants, ethnicity and intersectional identities; Demography and migration; Communities assets ;Qualitative methods: ethnographic; participatory; researching in cross cultural contexts; ethics.


Dr. Ragnhild Ljosland,  Lecturer in Nordic Studies

Ragnhild is a sociolinguist with a particular interest in multilingualism and dialect. Her research reaches from multilingual practices in academic communities in Norway to research on Orkney and Shetland dialects under the Connected Communities scheme. She is currently developing plans to research communication between dialect speakers and speakers of English as a foreign language within the health sector in rural communities.