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Dr Tina Gambling


It is with deep sadness that Cardiff School of Healthcare Sciences learnt of the passing of Dr Tina Gambling, who died on November 23 2020 after a short illness.

Tina had a professional background in diagnostic radiography and academic interests in psychology. As an undergraduate radiography student at the University of Salford, Tina showed an early interest in research and, having worked clinically for a brief time, she secured funding to become the University of Salford’s first full-time radiography PhD student. After completing her PhD she became a lecturer within the Directorate of Radiography at the University of Salford, where the undergraduate students always spoke very highly of her.  She moved to Cardiff in 2004 to join the Diagnostic Radiography team, taking the lead on research. She initially worked to develop research in the undergraduate programme before moving on to support postgraduate students.

In 2012 Tina was appointed as Director of Postgraduate Research Studies. She thrived in the role, harnessing her unassuming leadership skills with a passion and energy to make a major contribution to enriching the experience of PhD and Professional Doctorate students. Tina was a source of constant support to research students, and her door always open. She was also instrumental in implementing a vibrant programme of research training, seminars, drop-in sessions and journal clubs which goes from strength to strength.

In recent months she had built a team around her to progress her ambitions for the doctoral programme and the improvement of the student experience. She led her team with vigour, and colleagues emphasise particularly her quiet generosity both with her time and sharing of expertise. She made people feel truly valued, and her warm, can-do attitude, injected with pockets of humour, helped foster a community that brought staff and students together.

In addition to her work in the School, Tina also contributed to improvements in postgraduate research in the College. One of her many legacies at Cardiff University will be a lengthy action plan for implementing her vision for Postgraduate Research, and the promise to Tina from the Postgraduate Research Studies team within the School is that every item on this list will be ticked off.

Tina was passionate about making a difference to the lives of people with paediatric hip conditions. She led an international multidisciplinary network of high-profile researchers, clinicians, and service users to develop a clinically-relevant research agenda within this field.

Her research had the experiences of patients at its heart. She made an important contribution to the development of patient centred outcome measures, an essential prerequisite for large scale clinical trials and the evaluation of clinical practice from the patient’s perspective.

Along with colleagues in the Centre for Trials Research, Tina had recently been successful in securing funds for a public engagement project - 'Get CreActive' – using the creative arts to explore challenges to physical activity for people with hip dysplasia. Working with 15 young adults with the condition, the project will create a space for sharing experiences of starting and staying physically active, learning about 'hip health', and strengthening online peer support.

The project combines Tina's passion for the welfare of people with hip dysplasia with her love of physical activity and exercise. Beyond her personal programme of research, Tina attracted and nurtured a lively international community of early career researchers and students – the Cardiff Hip Group – setting them on a path to advancing understanding and improving care and treatment in the field that she was so committed to. Her energy as a supervisor in developing the next generation of researchers will be an important part of her legacy.

Beyond her formal work role many members of staff and students knew also of Tina’s passion for activity, and for personal fitness. Colleagues have stories to tell of joining Tina’s high-intensity training sessions, either before or after a day’s work. Affectionately referred to as “Duracell” by class members, as always, Tina’s style was one of support but also encouragement to people to accomplish their very best.

Tina was a highly respected colleague whose quiet generosity, vibrancy and commitment made her immensely popular with staff and students alike. Having learned of her death many have spoken of benefiting from her listening ear and, now, of their great sense of loss. She will be sadly missed by her present and past students and all of us who have worked, laughed and exercised (!) with her over the years.

Dr Tina Gambling – Online Book of Condolences

Professor Davina Allen, Head of Research and Innovation, School of Healthcare Sciences