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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Dr Dawn Bacon  PhD, BSc(Hons),FHEA, FCPodM, FFPM RCPS(Glasg)

Lecturer and clinician

Dr Dawn Bacon 's photo

Dr Dawn Bacon is a Lecturer within Health Sciences, University of Southampton and a practicing podiatrist. She leads the “Foot and Ankle Musculoskeletal Pathology” and “Business Skills for Podiatrists” modules, has input across the three year undergraduate programme and a supervisory role for doctoral students.

Health professions are continually changing and evolving; excellence in education, research and clinical practice should be at the heart of these changes.

Clinically Dawn has a special interest in musculoskeletal podiatry and neurological rehabilitation; she has held posts in the NHS and private sector reflecting this. She spent eight years as a band 8 Clinical Specialist Practitioner, working in orthopaedics and was the podiatry services provider for a specialist hospital in the private sector for fourteen years; where her small team worked closely with the wider multidisciplinary group to assist service users in meeting their rehabilitation goals.

With a long-standing interest in the sociology of work and health professions, Dawn’s doctoral research was an exploratory study in specialisation. She has experience involving qualitative research methods, including concept analysis, key actor interviews, focus group interviews and content analysis. Dawn has supervised doctoral students and acted as an internal and external examiner at doctoral level.

Dawn is a reviewer for the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research and for Podiatry Now.


Research interests

Dawn’s main area of research interest is the sociology of work and health professions. Most recently she has been a methodological advisor for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and College of Podiatry UK funded OptiFooT study. With the overarching aim of optimising foot care for people living with arthritis, part two of this large study utilised interviews to capture the views of patients, GPs, clinicians, podiatry managers and commissioners regarding their experiences of barriers and facilitators in the NHS to referral, access, provision and treatment of foot problems for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and patients with osteoarthritis.

With a long-standing interest in the sociology of work and health professions, Dawn’s doctoral research was an exploratory study in specialisation. Dawn was awarded the competitive Richard Newitt Postgraduate Research Studentship to undertake her research and completed her PhD in 2012.

Thesis: Podiatry and Diabetes: An Exploration in Specialisation.

Supervisors: Dr Alan M Borthwick and Dr Julia Potter.

Research group

Active Living and Rehabilitation

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Conference presentations

2014 Taking titles and naming names; who do we really think we are? – College of Podiatry National Conference

2010 Specialisation and the Law – Bournemouth SCP Research Conference

2009 Specialisation and the Law – College of Podiatry National Conference

2009 Specialisation and the Law – Faculty of Medicine Health & Lifesciences, University of Southampton

Journal papers

Bacon D and Bortwick AM (2013) Establishing the diabetes specialist podiatrist: The role of charismatic authority. The Diabetic Foot Journal, 16(4):140-141.

Bacon D and Borthwick AM (2012) Charismatic authority in modern healthcare: the case of the ‘diabetes specialist podiatrist’. Sociology of Health & Illness (doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12024).


2012 Doctoral Thesis. Podiatry and Diabetes: An Exploration in Specialisation

By grounding her teaching in the reality of clinical practice, Dawn is recognised as a leader in bridging the practice-theory gap. Her excellence in teaching has been acknowledged by nominations for the SUSU awards in the “most engaging lecturer” and “best academic support” categories.  She was presented with the national, student-led “Inspirational Podiatrist of the Year” award for 2019.

With extensive experience in the private healthcare sector, Dawn was ideally placed to respond changes in the health economy which provided both an opportunity and a duty to prepare our students for contemporary private practice. She conceptualised and designed the innovative business skills for podiatrists’ module, which she continues to lead.

Dawn’s clinical teaching focus is the diagnosis and management of foot and ankle musculoskeletal pathologies. Her highly interactive teaching style encourages “deep” learning, using a case-based approach which helps students apply theory to practice. 

Dr Dawn Bacon
Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ
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