Professor Gretl McHugh

Professor Gretl McHugh

Chair in Applied Health Research

Summary: Academic Unit: Adult, Child and Mental Health Nursing

Location: Baines Wing


Gretl joined the University of Leeds in April 2015 as Chair in Applied Health Research. She is the Faculty of Medicine & Health (FMH) UoA 3 Lead for REF 2021. Previously she was the FMH lead for Post-Doctoral Career Development (July 2015-2018) and established the FMH Post-Doctoral Academy to support post-docs with their career development. 

Gretl has a background in community nursing and worked as a Health Visitor for several years before moving into research. She is a health services researcher and her research focus has been in primary and community care, with completed projects in: older people with musculoskeletal conditions; outcomes from hip and knee replacements due to osteoarthritis; nurse prescribing; new ways of delivering community services; pain management; and continuing care after cancer treatment. Gretl  completed a NIHR CLAHRC project for Greater Manchester which was an evidence base review of educational materials for carers who care for individuals with long-term conditions. She has also recently completed work on social prescribing to support individuals with osteoarthritis. 

Gretl's current research is focused upon improving quality of care and services for patients with musculoskeletal conditions. She has recently been awarded a NIHR RfPB study (Sept 2017- May 2020) to develop Peer Mentorship to support individuals with Osteoarthritis to self-management their condition (aMIgO study). She is also a co-applicant on an Arthritis Research UK Health Services Research funded study to develop a standardised approach to virtual clinic follow-up following total joint replacement

Gretl has held NIHR Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Awards and a Stepping Stone Fellowship from the University of Manchester, which enabled further research into osteoarthritis and outcomes following joint replacement. 

Previously, Gretl worked at the University of Manchester as a Senior Research Fellow and then Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work. She also held a joint appointment with the School and a Community NHS Trust to develop research capacity among community nurses and maintains an active interest in community nursing developments and health visiting practice. Gretl has co-edited the 4th edition of the textbook 'Health Visiting: a preparation for practice', published in 2017.

Gretl has methodological experience of surveys, cross sectional, longitudinal, intervention and mixed methods studies and systematic reviews.

Her teaching experience has included curriculum development and teaching of undergraduate units in epidemiology and public health and dissertation; and post-graduate units in critical appraisal and evidence synthesis and research design. She has supervised at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Gretl is currently the Review’s Editor for the Journal of Health and Social Care in the Community and is deputy chair of one of the NIHR Doctoral Awards Panel. Gretl became a Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) Fellow in 2012 in recognition of her research in community nursing and primary care. She holds an honorary research contract with the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Keele University. 

Academic Qualifications

• PhD Nursing, University of Manchester

• MSc (Public Health), University of Manchester

• B.Nurs (Hons), University of Manchester