Dr Sofia Anthi Vougioukalou
I am currently researching the physical, emotional and financial impacts of facing cancer while living alone and co-ordinating and Arts of Health initiative to enable a creative space for discussions about cancer and survivorship. I am also researching involvement and engagement in dementia services research.
My academic interests span anthropology, medical ethnobotany and health care. I am interested in cultural understandings of illness and health, evaluation and impact assessment of services in health and social care, and the intersection of biomedicine with informal and traditional medical systems. I have also researched patient and public involvement and engagement and their contribution to innovation, translation and knowledge exchange. Understanding conflicting epistemologies in health and social care (within and between professional and service user groups) and translating findings into effective practices can be very challenging and effectively addressed through participatory methodologies. I have used participatory approaches such as Participatory Rural Appraisal, Accelerated Experience-based Co-design and Appreciative Inquiry in organisational and community development with service users and community members with varying levels of literacy, physical and mental health needs.
2013 - 2014: Public Engagement Associate for Health Research, Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (Wellcome Trust) & Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC), University of Bristol
2011- 2013: Research Associate and Research Design Service Advisor, Department of Primary Care and Public Health Sciences, King’s College London
2010- 2011: Senior Lecturer in Knowledge Transfer, Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Canterbury Christ Church University
2007-2009: Monitoring & Evaluation Consultant, Department of Social Work, Health and Community, Canterbury Christ Church University
2008-2011: Associate Lecturer, Centre for Flexible Learning & School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent
2003- 2010: Research and Teaching Assistant, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent
Honours and awards
Health and social care research
2018-19: Understanding how to facilitate continence for people with dementia in acute hospital settings: raising awareness and improving care, NIHR HS&DR, £505,000, CI
2017: The human cost of cancer: addressing the unique physical, emotional and financial implications of facing cancer while living alone (Tenovus Cancer Care Innovation Grant, £29,700, PI
2016: Development of a self-sustaining community of Huntington’s disease walkers in Wales, Wellcome Trust ISSF – Public Engagement, £9,600, CI
2012: Assessing the impact of participatory research, JISC, £20,425, CI
Evaluation and knowledge exchange
2011: Evaluation of early intervention parenting support programmes delivered by Homestart and Canterbury and District Early Years Project, NHS Strategic Health Authority South East, £4,000
2011: Capacity building for the Third Sector in the Canterbury District’, Higher Education Fund for Innovation 4, HEFCE, £3,000
2010: Evaluation of Multi-agency Cascade Services for children at the risk of school exclusion, Kent County Council Children Families and Education Directorate, £4,500
2010: Anthropological approaches to programme evaluation’, Knowledge Transfer Small Awards, HEFCE, £1,000
Educational grants and travel awards
2011: Invited speaker to Open Science Network education colloquium at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany in St Louis, National Science Foundation (US) & Texas Botanical Research Institute, $2,000
2010: 'Using online collaborative platforms to facilitate knowledge transfer partnerships between universities and community organisations’, Higher Education Fund for Innovation 4, HEFCE, £2,000
2010: ‘The Kent Cider Ethnobotany Project: using wikis, participatory video and YouTube to enhance teaching and learning about local natural resource uses’, Open Science Network Travel Grant to present at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany in Xalapa Mexico, National Science Foundation (US) & Texas Botanical Research Institute, $1,800
2009: ‘Developing e-learning tools for anthropology’, Challenge Fund, Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Kent, £1,000
2009: Early Career Ethnobiologist Travel Grant to attend the 50th Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany in Charleston, National Science Foundation (US) & Texas Botanical Research Institute, $980
Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute
Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent
Public engagement ambassador for Life Sciences and Health, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement
Committees and reviewing
Patient and Public Involvement Strategy Group, School for Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University
Research and Innovation Committee, School for Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University
Cardiff University Research Staff Association rep for School for Healthcare Sciences
Associate editor, Cogent Social Sciences
Journal reviewer, Journal of Health Organisation and Management
Journal reviewer, Research for All
Grant reviewer, National Institute for Health Research
I am currently in a research-specific position but I guest lecture on a range of courses, focusing on my methodological expertise in ethnography, co-production, transcultural care, visual methodologies, patient and public involvement and public engagement. I have previously taught on a range of subjects related to social and medical anthropology, health and social care evaluation, health inequalities and traditional medical systems.
I have been module convenor on six courses: Cultures and Societies I and II - introduction to social anthropology (University of Kent), People and Traditional Medicine and People and Medicinal Plants - introduction to ethnobotany (University of Kent), Knowledge transfer and research methods for the voluntary sector (Canterbury Christ Church University), and Effective engagement and impact: from research design to evaluation (King's College London). I have previously contributed towards teaching on the Masters in Public Health on ethnography and patient and public involvement. I have also advised on doctoral, masters and undergraduate dissertations in social as well as health care sciences.
I have researched co-production in healthcare settings using Experience-Based Co-Design, Appreciative Inquiry, Participatory Action Research and Participatory Rural Appraisal. my research has contributed to the evaluation and foundational understanding of the integration of lay and experiential knowledge into health service improvement for long-term conditions such as cancer and dementia with a view to improving health inequalities. I use approaches from medical anthropology such as ethnographic and visual methods to understand patients’ experiences of illness, treatment and survivorship.