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Dr Rachel Hale

Research Associate

Email:
haler3@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 9181
Location:
Glamorgan Building

I am a sociologist interested in biosocial entities (infectious diseases, genes and donated tissues) and the associated transformations of healthcare, particularly through the introduction of new health technologies or extending existing technologies to new patient groups -  genomic medicine (including genetic screening and genome editing), synthetic biology (including cultured blood and induced pluripotent stem cell therapy), and (pandemic and seasonal) influenza vaccines and HPV vaccines. I conduct qualitative and mixed methods research.

I am currently working on Professor Adam Hedgecoe's Wellcome Trust funded project looking at how professionals negotiate the challenges around uncertainty in clinical genetics and genomics.

I am an invited member of the Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) for the World Health Organization (WHO) Influenza  Implementation Research Focal Point (Initiative for Vaccine Research) and external consultant for WHO Tailoring Influenza Immunization Programmes (TIP FLU).

I am also a Scientific Review Committee member for Cardiff University Biobank.

Appointments

  • Research Associate, Cardiff University, 2019-
  • Research Fellow, Univesity of Warwick, 2017-2019
  • Research Associate, University of the West of England, 2015-2017
  • Research Associate, Cardiff University, 2013-2017
  • Sociology Lecturer, University of Glamorgan, 2008-2010

Education

  • PhD, Medical Sociology, University of Nottingham, 2016
  • MSc, Social Science Research, University of Glamorgan, 2010
  • PGCE (PCET), University of Glamorgan, 2010
  • PGD, Social Research Methods, Open University, 2010
  • BA (Hons) Humanities (Sociology), University of Glamorgan, 1994

Honours and awards

Honours

  • Scientific Review Committee member for Cardiff University Biobank.

  • Invited member of the Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) for the World Health Organization (WHO) Influenza Implementation Research Focal Point (Initiative for Vaccine Research)

  • Invited external consultant for WHO Tailoring Influenza Immunization Programmes (TIP FLU)
  • Invited external consultant for Public Health Wales (PHW) healthcare worker measles immunisation study

Funding Awards

  • Goethe University funding to present research into genome editing at ‘Hope and fear for the future of human genome editing, We, new utopians – Genome editing and echoes of future life workshop’, September 2019

    British Council Research Links funding for Qualitative Research in Infection Control workshop (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 2015

  • Cardiff University/HEFCW Strategic Insight Programme (SIP) funding, £2500, 2014

  • Full ESRC/MRC PhD studentship, 2010-2013

  • University of Nottingham Science Technology and Society (STS) Priority Group travel bursary, 2013

  •  British Sociological Association, Medical Sociology Conference bursary, 2013

  • King's College London, Summer School bursary, 2012

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER)
  • Association for Studies in Innovation Science and Technology (AsSIST-UK)

  • British Sociological Association (BSA) member (Medical Sociology study group, Science and Technology Studies study group, Deconstructing Donation Special Interest Group, Animal/Human study group)

  • American Sociological Association (ASA) member (Medial Sociology section and Science, Knowledge and Technology section (SKAT), and Sociology of the Body section)

  • Infectious Disease Research Network (IDRN)

  • Animal Welfare Science Ethics and Law Veterinary Association (AWSELVA)

Speaking engagements

Invited presentations

  • Hale, R. and Boardman, F. [Invited presentation] ‘A Study of Attitudes Towards Genetic Screening in the UK’, The Haemophilia Society Conference, Birmingham, November 2018.

  • Kent, J. and Hale, R. [Invited poster] Public and patient views of cultured red blood cells (cRBCs), Interdisciplinary Research: Exploring funding opportunities and best practice with the British Academy, University Alliance-British Academy Event, Bristol, November 2016.

  • Hale, R. [Invited presentation] An actor-network analysis of the healthcare worker influenza immunisation programme, HProImmnune Info day, Athens, July 2014.

  • Hale, R. [Invited presentation] An actor-network analysis of the healthcare worker influenza immunisation programme, Wales Immunisation Conference, Wrexham, May 2014.

  • Hale, R.  & Kent, J. [Invited presentation] An Investigation of What Diverse Patient, Donor and Public Groups Think About The Use of Innovative Blood Cell Therapies: A Small Scale Qualitative Study for the Bristol Blood & Transplant Research Unit. Presentation to Bristol Blood & Transplant Research Unit, NHSBT, Bristol, January 2017.

  • Hale, R.  & Kent, J. [Invited presentation] Donor, Patient and Public Perspectives on Laboratory Grown, Red Blood Cells, Presentation to NHSBT Public Advisory Group, Bristol, December 2016.

Conference Presentations

  • Hale, R. and Kent, J. [Oral presentation] Designing futures for the emerging technology of cultured red blood cells, Critical engagement vs. technophobia: The risks of emerging technologies European Sociological Association Workshop, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, October 2018.
  • Hale, R. and Boardman, F. [Oral presentation] An analysis of the social and ethical implications of a shift in reproductive decision-making around genetic screening from families affected by genetic conditions to the general population, British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Annual Conference, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, September 2018.
  • Hale, R. and Boardman, F. [Oral presentation] Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Data: A Study of Attitudes Towards Genetic Screening in the UK, Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference, University of Vienna, Vienna, August 2018.
  • Hale, R. and Boardman, F. [Oral presentation and poster] Social and Ethical Implications of Fragile X Screening: The Families’ Views, Fragile X Syndrome Research Workshop 2018, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, May 2018.
  • Hale, R. and Boardman, F. [Oral presentation] An analysis of the social and ethical implications of a shift in reproductive decision-making around genetic screening from families affected by genetic conditions to the general population, British Sociological Association Annual Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle, April 2018.
  • Hale, R. and Kent, J. [Oral presentation] The future of donation: Implications of cultured red blood cells, Deconstructing Donation Conference, University of Bristol, Bristol, December 2017.
  • Hale, R., Kent, J. and Meacham, D. [Oral presentation] Designing futures: targeting red blood cell products, British Sociological Association conference, University of Manchester, Manchester, April 2017.
  • Hale, R. and Kent, J. [Oral presentation] Extending the gift? Donor perspectives on laboratory grown red blood cells, Deconstructing Donation Symposium, Lancaster University, June 2016, and Red Cell Special Interest Group Scientific Meeting, BBTS conference, Harrogate, September 2016.
  • Kent, J., Meacham, D. and Hale, R. [Oral presentation] Researching new technologies in transfusion medicine: patient and public perspectives on laboratory grown red blood cells, the Centre for Health & Clinical Research Annual Conference, University of the West of England, Bristol, March 2016.
  • Hale, R. [Roundtable discussion] Inserting influenza vaccines into healthcare workers in two Welsh Local Health Boards, BSA Conference, Leeds University, Leeds, April 2014.
  • Hale, R. [Oral presentation] Actor-network theory, sociology and bioethics in the UK healthcare worker influenza immunisation programme, Working together? STS, collaboration and (multi)disciplinarity conference, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, December 2013.
  • Hale, R. Dingwall R and Nguyen-Van-Tam J.S. [Full paper accepted for roundtable discussion] Linking micro and macro in the UK National Health Service healthcare worker influenza immunisation programme, American Sociological Association, New York, August 2013.
  • Hale, R. Dingwall R and Nguyen-Van-Tam J.S.  [Oral presentation] The bioethics of healthcare worker influenza immunisation, BSA Medical Sociology Conference, University of York, September 2013.
  • Hale, R. [Oral presentation] Actor-Networks and Health Professionals’ Vaccination against H1N1 Pandemic Influenza, BSA Medical Sociology Conference, University of Leicester, Leicester, September 2012.
  • Hale, R. [Oral presentation] Health care workers and the H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine, East Midlands Universities Association Postgraduate Conference, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, July 2012.
  • Hale, R. [Poster] A Duty of Care:  A review of studies on uptake and attitudes of healthcare workers and pandemic H1N1 vaccine, Medical Sociology Conference, University of Chester, September 2011 and Postgraduate Student Conference, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, June 2011.

Other presentations

  • Hale, R. (2013) An actor-network analysis of the healthcare worker influenza immunisation programme in Wales.  Presentation to representatives from the Welsh Assembly Government, Public Health Wales and Local Health Boards, Cardiff, June 2013.

Public Engagement

  • Boardman, F. and Hale, R. (2019) ‘Genetic screening, Disability and the Future of Society?’, Café Scientifique, Leamington Spa, January 2019.

  • Hale, R. and Boardman, F. (2018) ‘A Study of Attitudes Towards Genetic Screening in the UK’, The Haemophilia Society Conference, Birmingham, November 2018.

  • Hale, R. and Boardman, F. (2017) ‘Pre-conception genetic screening for autosomal recessive conditions of uncertain or highly variable prognosis: social and ethical implications’, Fragile X Society Family Weekend, Oxfordshire, September 2017.

  • Hale, R. and Kent, J. (2016) ‘Lab grown blood becomes a reality’ Science Café, British Science Association (Bristol and Bath Branch), SouthBank Club, Bristol, 29th February 2016.

Blog posts

Reports

  • Hale, R. and Kent, L. [Report to Bristol Blood and Transplant Research Unit] An investigation of what diverse patient, donor and public groups think about the use of innovative blood cell therapies: a small scale qualitative study for the Bristol Blood & Transplant Research Unit, January 2017.
  • Hale, R. [Report to Welsh Assembly Government, Public Health Wales and Local Health Boards] Report on doctoral study: An actor-network analysis of the healthcare influenza immunisation programme in Wales: 2009-11, May 2014.

Acknowledgements

  • Kent, J. Fannin, M. and Dowling, S. (2019) Gender dynamics in the donation field: Human tissue donation for research, therapy and feeding, Sociology of health & illness, 41(3): 567-584.

Committees and reviewing

  • Associate Editor, Cogent Social Sciences
  • Journal Reviewer, Science as Culture

  • Journal Reviewer, Journal of Hospital Infection (JHI)

  • Journal Reviewer, American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC)

  • Journal Reviewer, Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses

  • Research Ethics Committee Close Reader, University of Warwick, 2017-2019

Other Roles/Academic Citizenship

  • UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab (IPL) Expert, 2019-
  • STEM Ambassador, 2019-
  • Co-ordinator for the Social Divisions/ Social Identities stream at the British Sociological Association (BSA) conference, 2013-2019

  • Screening Engagement Volunteer, Public Health Wales (PHW), 2012-2013

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2013

2012

I have previously taught at several universities (Warwick, Nottingham, West of England, South Wales/Glamorgan) to a diverse range undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students (sociology, criminology, education, interdicsiplinary, medical, other health professionals).  I have also supervised undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations and professional projects.

Courses taught on:

  • Bodies, Technology and Society
  • Genomics: Science and Society
  • Sociology of the Body
  • Social Identity and Inequality
  • Values, Law and Ethics
  • Ethics of health screening
  • Pandemic planning
  • Sociology of Pornography
  • Key Issues in Sex Education
  • Research Design, Practice and Ethics
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Health
  • Mixed Methods in Health Research
  • Mixed Methods Research Techniques

I am a sociologist interested in how biosocial entities (genes, infectious diseases), biotechnologies (genomic technologies, vaccines, synthetic biologies) and discourses (ideas, knowledge, values) travel (or fail to travel) through networks.  I conduct qualitative and mixed methods reseach.  My research sensibilities are influenced by actor network theory.

I am currently working on Professor Adam Hedgecoe's Wellcome Trust funded project looking at how professionals negotiate the challenges around uncertainty in clinical genetics and genomics. My involvement focuses on the communication of uncertainty when discussing variants of uncertain significance (VUSs) in genetic consultations.

From 2017 to 2019, I was a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, working on Dr. Felicity Boardman’s Wellcome Trust funded mixed methods study: Pre-conception genetic screening for autosomal recessive conditions of uncertain or highly variable prognosis: social and ethical implications.  During this time, I developed research interests in genomic technologies, particularly genetic screening and genome editing.

From 2015 to 2017, I worked on Prof. Julie Kent’s NIHR funded study: Social, economic and ethical issues around cultured red blood cells, stem cells and immortalised cell lines.  This research informed my interests in the sociology of donation and the development of regenerative medicine, particularly synthetic biologies.

From 2013 to 2017, I worked at Cardiff University on qualitative and mixed methods studies (a Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) analysis of the organisation of infection prevention and control in secondary care, cancer survivorship, dentists’ decision-making around crown placement and replacement).  I also worked on a variety of grant applications (including as a co-applicant on a short-listed NIHR HTA themed call) and literature/scoping/systematic reviews.

From 2010 to 2016, I conducted doctoral research at the University of Nottingham in the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Pandemic Influenza and Research. I was supervised by Prof. Jonathan Van Tam and Prof. Robert Dingwall.  My thesis is ‘An Actor Network Analysis of the Healthcare Worker Influenza Immunisation Programme in Wales – 2009-11’.   Here I developed my actor network theory (ANT) research sensibility.

In 2010, I completed my master’s dissertation, which was ‘A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of the Official and Media Discourses Around the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine in the UK – 2008-10’.