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The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh | College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine |
Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences | Usher Institute

Centre for Population Health Sciences

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Photo of Sarah Cunningham-Burley

Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley

Professor of Medical and Family Sociology

Tel: 0131 650 3217/ 651 1943
Fax: (0131) 650 6909/ 651 1833
Sarah.C.Burley@ed.ac.uk

Role

  • Research in a Nutshell video: In this video Sarah Cunningham-Burley talks about the importance of sociological understanding in the field of health, medicine and health care. She discusses some of the research she is engaged in around public engagement, medical technologies and family well-being.

  • Professor of Medical and Family Sociology
  • Head, Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences
  • Co-Director, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships
  • Co-ordinator of Postgraduate teaching on Qualitative Methods and the Sociology of Health and Illness

Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate
  • Contribution to 'Health and Society' teaching in Year 1 of the medical curriculum
Postgraduate
  • Course organiser for Qualitative Methods in the MSc in Public Health Research
  • Course organiser for Sociology of Health and Illness in the MSc in Public Health Research
  • Postgraduate Research: I currently supervise 7 PhD students and I MPhil student. This includes 3 ESRC CASE studentships and a further ESRC open competition studentship. A further ten PhD and two MPhil students have successfully completed their theses.

Research Interests

  • My research interests span medical and family sociology and include the social aspects of genetics and stem cell research, as well as research on families, health and illness across the lifecourse.
  • My particular focus is on lay perspectives, understandings and experience, as well as on lay/professional relationships particularly in relation to public involvement and engagement in science and medicine. Some of this work is linked to my role as Co-investigator at Innogen.
  • Much of my work has used and developed qualitative methods within the interpretivist tradition; it contributes to sociological knowledge in addition to being directly relevant to and disseminated amongst a range of practitioners and policy makers.
  • At the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships we have developed a co-ordinated and innovative approach to knowledge exchange and collaborative working with agencies outside academia.

Current Research Involvement

  • The Social Dynamics of Public Engagement in Stem Cell Research, ESRC/BBSRC Stem Cell Programme (with Dr Sarah Parry, Dr Wendy Faulkner, School of Social and Political Studies (SSPS) and Prof Austin Smith, Institute of Stem Cell Research U of E (now at University of Cambridge)
  • Work and Family Lives: The Changing Experiences of Young Families (Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Lynn Jamieson, Jeni Harden and Alice MacLean.) This qualitative study exploring how parents and children reconcile work and family lives is part of a large ESRC programme of longitudinal qualitative research across the Universities of Leeds, Edinburgh, Cardiff, the Open University and South Bank University.
  • Qualitative Study of Smoking in the Home (with Amanda Amos, Deborah Ritchie, Nursing Studies, Claudia Martin, Scot Cen) Part of the Health Scotland funded evaluation of the impact of the Scottish Smoke-free legislation.

Other Responsibilities/Activities

Further Information

Work History

Previous Appointments
1983-85 Research Fellow, Department of Community Medicine, University of Edinburgh
1985-89 Research Sociologist, MRC Medical Sociology Unit, Glasgow
1989-90 Lecturer in Medical Sociology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Dundee
Appointed to University of Edinburgh
1990 Lecturer in Medical Sociology, Public Health Sciences
1994 Senior Lecturer in Medical Sociology, Public Health Sciences
2000 Reader in Medical Sociology, Public Health Sciences
2005 Professor of Medical and Family Sociology

Education

1979 BSocSc (Sociology and Social Policy, 2i with Distinction in Social Policy Studies) University of Birmingham
1983 PhD 'The Meaning and Significance of Grandparenthood', University of Aberdeen

Selected grants

  • Service user and service provider accounts of managing the risks and realities of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: an exploratory study in Lothian (Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation, 2014-2015) Whittaker, A, Chandler, A, Cunningham-Burley, S, Midgley, P, Elliott, L, Cooper, S (CI NHS Lothian)
  • Closing hospitals: an evaluation of knowledge use and public involvement in disinvestment proposals. (Chief Scientist Office, 2013-2018) Stewart, E, Cunningham-Burley, S
  • Public Acceptability of Data-Sharing between the Public and Private Sector. (Scottish Government, 2013-2013) Davidson, S., McLean, C., Treanor, S., Aitken, M., Cunningham-Burley, S., Laurie, G., Pagliari, C. & Sethi, N. (CI Ipsos MORI)
  • Neuroscience and family life: the brain in policy and everyday practice (Leverhulme Trust, 2013-2015) Pickersgill M, Cunningham-Burley S, Deary I
  • Harm reduction and smoking: smokers’ understandings and experiences. (Cancer Research UK Tobacco Advisory Group, 2013-2014) Amos A, Rooke C, Cunningham-Burley S
  • Does promoting increased awareness of decreased fetal movements reduce stillbirth, a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial. (Chief Scientist Office;Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society, 2013-2016) Norman J, Calderwood C, Scott J, Cunningham-Burley S, Weir C, Chalmers J, Stock S, Ross-Davie M, McAuliffe F, Murdoch E, Geary M, Hunter A, Heazell A, Froen F
  • Constituting neurologic subjects: neuroscience, identity and society after the 'decade of the brain'. (ESRC, 2009-2010) Cunningham-Burley S, Pickersgill M, Martin P Website
  • The Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP) (Wellcome Trust, 2009-2012) Morris A, Boyle P, Ford I, Bain M, Laurie G, Pagliari C, Cunningham-Burley S, Wild S et al,
  • Evaluation of the Scottish smoke-free legislation - a gender-based analysis. (NHS Health Scotland, 2008-2008) Amos A, Ritchie D, Robinson J, Cunningham-Burley S, Martin C
  • Developing strategies for effective self-management of anaphylaxis in adolescents: in-depth qualitative study of adolescent and parental perceptions of risk, self-management and support needs. (Chief Scientist Office, 2008-2009) Sheikh A, Worth A, Cunningham-Burley S
  • A Qualitative Study of Children and Second-hand Smoke Exposure in the Home. (CSO HSRC, 2006-2009) Amos A, Cunningham-Burley S, Rowa-Dewar N
  • Health for all children: How professional and parents experience the implementation of Hall 4. (ESRC CASE Studentship with NHS Lothian, 2006-2009) Caroline King, Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K, Carter H Further info
  • Qualitative Study of Smoking in the Home. (NHS Health Scotland, 2006-2007) Amos A, Ritchie D, Cunningham-Burley S, Martin C
  • Growing up in Scotland (GUS) (Scottish Executive, 2005-2010) Cunningham Burley S, Jamieson L, Wasoff F, Morton S - all CRFR Backett-Milburn K (RUHBC and CRFR), Bradshaw P, Anderson S, Ormston R, Hayes F, Martin C - all ScotCen Website Further info
  • Health concerns and experiences of hormone replacement therapies among young women with premature ovarian failure. (Chief Scientist Office, 2005-2006) Warner P, Cunningham-Burley S
  • Staying together: an exploration of longer term marriage partnerships in differing socio-economic circumstances. Studentship. (ESRC Case Studentship with CARE for the Family, 2003-2007) Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K Further info
  • Surviving parental drug and alcohol use experiences of older children of drug and alcohol using parents: risk and resilience. (JRF, 2002-2004) Bancroft A, Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K, Masters H
  • Understanding experiences and responses to poverty of individuals living within low income family households with children. (Scottish Executive, 2002-2003) McKendrick J, Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K
  • Establishment of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR). (Research Development Grant, SHEFC, 2001-2003) Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K, Jamieson L, Wasoff F
  • Young people and health in Scotland: Linking research, policy and practice. (HEBS, 2001-2002) Backett-Milburn K
  • The socio-economic and cultural contexts of children's lifestyles and the everyday production of health variations. (ESRC, 1999-2001) Backett-Milburn K, Cunningham-Burley S
  • The social and cultural impact of the New Genetics. (ESRC, 1994-1997) Cunningham-Burley S, Amos A
  • Smoking in transition - a prospective study of young people of school leaving age. (SOHHD, 1994-1997) Amos A, Cunningham-Burley S

Publications

Link to Edinburgh Research Explorer for full publications list

Selected publications

  • Pickersgill M, Martin P and Cunningham-Burley S (2015) The changing brain: neuroscience and the enduring import of everyday experience. Public Understanding of Science, 24(7): 878-892 Link
  • Chandler, A, Whittaker, A, Williams, N, McGorm, K, Cunningham-Burley, S, & Mathews, G (in press). Mother’s little helper? Contrasting accounts of benzodiazepine and methadone use among drug-dependent parents in the UK. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy. DOI Link
  • Harden, J. Backett-Milburn, K., MacLean, A. Cunningham-Burley, S., and Jamieson, L. (2013) Home and away: constructing family and childhood in the context of working parenthood. Children’s Geographies 11(3): 298-310 DOI Link
  • Pickersgill M, Niewöhner J, Müller R, Martin P and Cunningham-Burley S (2013) Mapping the new molecular landscape: social dimensions of epigenetics. New Genetics and Society, 32(4): 429-447 Link
  • Chandler A, Whittaker A, Cunningham-Burley S, Williams N, McGorm K, Mathews G (2013) Substance, structure and stigma: Parents in the UK accounting for opioid substitution therapy during the antenatal and postnatal periods. International Journal of Drug Policy, 6, e35-e42 DOI Link
  • Harden, J. Backett-Milburn, K., MacLean, A. Cunningham-Burley, S., (2012) The family-work project: children’s and parents’ experiences of working parenthood. Families, Relationships and Societies, 1(2): 207-222 DOI Link
  • Gallagher M, Worth A, Cunningham-Burley S, Sheikh A. Strategies for living with the risk of anaphylaxis in adolescence: qualitative study of young people and their parents. Prim Care Resp J 2012; 21: 392-397 DOI Link
  • Gallagher M, Worth A, Cunningham-Burley S, Sheikh A. Epinephrine auto-injector use in adolescents at risk of anaphylaxis: a qualitative study in Scotland, UK. Clin Exp Allergy 2011; 41: 869-877
  • Robinson J, Ritchie D, Amos A, Martin C, Greaves L, Cunningham-Burley S (2011) Volunteered, negotiated, enforced: family politics and the regulation of home smoking. Sociology of Health and Illness, 33, 66-80.
  • Eborall HC, Stewart MCW, Cunningham-Burley S, Price JF, Fowkes FGR. Accrual and drop out in a primary prevention randomised controlled trial: qualitative study. Trials 2011; 12:7
  • Pickersgill M, Cunningham-Burley S and Martin P (2011) Constituting neurologic subjects: neuroscience, subjectivity and the mundane significance of the brain. Subjectivity, 4(3): 346-365 DOI Link
  • Robinson J, Ritchie D, Amos A, Martin C, Greaves L, Cunningham-Burley S (2010) 'Waiting until they got home'- Gender, smoking and tobacco exposure in households in Scotland. Social Science and Medicine, 71, 884-890.
  • Wilson, S., Cunningham-Burley S, Bancroft, A., Backett-Milburn K (2008) 'Joined up' thinking?: unsupported 'fast-track' transitions in the context of parental substance use. Journal of Youth Studies 11 (3) 283-299
  • Backett-Milburn K., Wilson, S., Bancroft, A., & Cunningham-Burley, S. (in press) Challenging childhoods: Young people's accounts of 'getting by' in families with substance use problems. Childhood
  • Phillips R, Amos A, Ritchie D, Cunningham-Burley S, Martin C (2007) 'Not in front of the children': A qualitative study of smoking in the home after the Scottish Smoke-free Legislation. British Medical Journal, 335:553, doi:10.1136/bmj.39301.497593.55
  • Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K and Kemmer D (2006) Constructing Health and Sickness in the Context of Motherhood and Paid Work. Sociology of Health and Illness 28 (4) 385-409
  • Bancroft A, Wilson S, Cunningham-Burley S, Masters H, Backett-Milburn K. (2005) Children managing parental drug and alcohol misuse: cjallenging parent-child boundaries. In McKie L, & Cunningham-Burley S. (eds) Families in Society: Boundaries and Relationships, chapter 7, The Policy Press, Bristol.
  • Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K, Kemmer D. (2005) Balancing work and family life: mothers' views. In McKie L, Cunningham-Burley S. (eds) Families in Society: Boundaries and Relationships, chapter 2, The Policy Press, Bristol.
  • Backett-Milburn K, Airey L, McKie L (2005) Intersections of health and well-being in women's lives and relationships at mid-life. In McKie L, Cunningham-Burley S. (eds) Families in Society: Boundaries and Relationships, chapter 8, The Policy Press, Bristol.
  • Backett-Milburn K, Cunningham-Burley S, Davis J. Contrasting lives, contrasting views? Understandings of health inequalities from children in differing social circumstances. Social Science & Medicine 2003;57: 613-23
  • Philip KL, Backett-Milburn K, Cunningham-Burley S, Davis JB. A match made in heaven or an unholy alliance? Bringing research and practice together in relation to children and health inequalities. Health Education Research: Theory & Practice 2003;18 (5): 1-12
  • Philip KL, Backett-Milburn K, Cunningham-Burley S, Davis JB. A match made in heaven or an unholy alliance? Bringing research and practice together in relation to children and health inequalities. Health Education Research: Theory and Practice 2003;
  • Backett-Milburn K, Cunningham-Burley S, Davis J. Contrasting lives, contrasting views? Understandings of health inequalities from children in differing social circumstances. Social Science and Medicine 2003;57: 613-23.
  • Kemmer D, Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K. How does working work for lone mothers on low incomes? Benefits, A Journal of Social Security Research, Policy & Practice 2001;32: 10-14
  • Bell R, Pavis S, Amos A and Cunningham-Burley S (1999) Continuities and changes: teenage smoking and occupational transition. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 683-694.
  • Bell R, Pavis S, Cunningham-Burley S, Amos A (1998) Young men's use of cannabis: exploring changes in meaning and context over time. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 5, 141-155.
  • Kerr A, Cunningham-Burley S, and Amos A (1998) Eugenics and the new genetics in Britain: examining contemporary professionals' accounts. Science, Technology and Human Values, 23, 175-198.
  • Kerr A, Cunningham-Burley S and Amos A (1998) Drawing the line: an analysis of lay people's discussions about the new genetics. Public Understanding of Science, 7, 113-133.
  • Pavis S, Cunningham-Burley S and Amos A (1998) Health related behavioural change in context: young people in transition. Social Science and Medicine, 47, 1407-1418.
  • Kerr E A, Cunningham-Burley S and Amos A (1997) The new genetics: professional's discursive boundaries. Sociological Review, 45, 279-303.
  • Kerr A, Cunningham-Burley S and Amos A (1997) The new genetics and health: mobilizing lay expertise. Public Understanding of Science, 7, 41-60.
  • Pavis S, Cunningham-Burley S and Amos A (1997) Alcohol consumption and young people: exploring meaning and social context. Health Education Research, 12, 311-322.

Last modified: Wednesday, 09-Sep-2015 12:39:54 BST

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