Dr Sheena McHugh

Dr Sheena McHugh

Employed by University College Cork

Mentors: Professor Patricia Kearney with Dr Suzanne Timmons and Professor Rose-Anne Kenny

Dr Sheena McHugh completed a four year structured PhD Scholars programme in Health Services Research at UCC funded by the Health Research Board in 2012. Her thesis was The Quality of Diabetes Care in the Community: Practice, Policy and Culture. Sheena was principal research analyst with the Diabetes in General Practice Initiative and lead researcher on a Department of Health commissioned review of the national breast screening programme. She spent two years as a Health Research Board Post-doctoral Research Fellow, leading a work package examining health service use by older people. In January 2015 she led a mixed-method evaluation of the National Clinical Care Programme for Diabetes. She is a supervisor on this qualitative study of the attitudes to diet and physical activity of women at risk of gestational diabetes and their care providers. As well as presenting her findings at international conferences, Sheena has published nine journal articles and a book chapter as first author.

Sheena’s Fellowship will be devoted to the topic Preventing falls in older people with diabetes: development and feasibility of a multifactorial intervention in primary care. She will establish the rate and risk of falls and fear of falling among older people with diabetes in Ireland and compare with the USA. Using this evidence, Sheena will develop the multifactorial falls prevention programme, including the implementation context in order to tailor strategies to local circumstances. The objective is to pilot and evaluate the implementation, acceptability and sustainability of the intervention in order to secure funding for a larger-scale trial.

Population ageing is a major driver for conditions such as diabetes, which increases the risk of falls. Multifactorial falls prevention interventions have been shown to benefit older people but few studies have studied the needs of those with chronic conditions such as diabetes. The research has the potential to deliver the first primary care-based falls prevention programme for older people with diabetes in Ireland.