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MedicinePostgraduate study

Ms Emma Richards BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, MSc Genetics, MSc Healthcare Management, MSc Public Health, MFPH

Postgraduate research student

Ms Emma Richards's photo

Ms Emma Richards is Postgraduate research student within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Emma graduated from the University of Leicester with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences and an MSc Genetics.  She then spent 2 years working for a large pharmaceutical company as a business manager before starting her NHS career with place on the NHS National Graduate Training Scheme which combined working with formal training in management.  She managed a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, and took on project management roles in a Primary Care Group and a 5 month elective period at Auckland Healthcare in New Zealand.

Emma then went on to lead the service improvement programme for Central South Coast Cancer Network and then become Director of both Thames Valley and Central South Coast Cancer Networks.  During that period she took a 2 year sabbatical to become a volunteer with VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) in Northern Namibia where she worked with a NGO that helped communities affected by HIV/AIDS and another charity which ran a shelter for abused women and their children. It was during this time that Emma developed her passion for public health and interest in supporting vulnerable populations. 

Emma is currently a Specialty Registrar in Public Health on the Wessex Public Health Training Scheme.  She has completed her professional exams and is a Member of the Faculty of Public Health.  For her MSc in Public Health dissertation she conducted a literature review on the health and healthcare needs of community managed offenders in England and Wales.  She recognised that there was a paucity of research focused on the health of offenders given community orders so developed her own PhD research study to examine this in conjunction with Hampshire Probation Trust.

BSc(Hons)  Biological Sciences (1995) University of Leicester
MSc Genetics (1996) University of Leicester
MSc Healthcare Management (2001) University of Birmingham
MSc Public Health (2009)  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Research interests

Offenders given non-custodial sentences are a significant, growing population yet there is limited research on their health even though health has been identified as a factor that influences offending behaviour.  They are a socially excluded group with poor literacy, complex health problems; especially mental health and substance use, and are hard to reach through usual health service routes.   However, probation settings offer the opportunity for interventions to address their health needs and for evaluation in a safe environment.  A specific intervention recently introduced is Health Trainers.  They are people who support offenders with issues relating to health by signposting to services and/or providing brief interventions for behaviour change.
This study is in two parts:

  1. Interviews with up to 200 people who are starting a new court order in three probation offices. Their health status, including mental health and substance use, and health literacy (which is about if people can understand information about their health), will be measured using validated questionnaires, and a follow-up interview will look at any changes in health during their Court Order.  Access to health-related services and use of Health Trainers will be gathered.
  2. In-depth interviews with up to 30 people in the study will explore how they see their health and how effective they think health services are

The study will see how easy it is to carry out research in this group to underpin the design of a larger study looking at Health Trainers or other interventions relating to health in probation settings.  The findings will be shared with Probation, providers of services and the NHS to inform service development to improve the health of this group of people.

Research group

Primary Care & Population Sciences

Affiliate research group

Population Health Sciences Research group

Lecturer and Personal Tutor on the MSc Public Health Course
Previously supervised two medical students with their 4th year research project

Public Health

Ms Emma Richards
Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton Southampton General Hospital South Academic Block Level C Tremona Road Southampton SO16 6YD
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