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Charli Colegate

PhD student

Public mental health programme, Health inequalities theme

University of Sheffield

Project title

Risk, prevention and severe perinatal mental illness

Research Interests

Maternal mental health, gender, health inequalities, mixed methods research

Find out more about Charli's work

Charli's Q&A

  • What has been your career journey so far?

    It’s been varied, but always related to health research in some way. I graduated in 2010 with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences, starting my career working in academic publishing. After this I worked in health research funding. Alongside working, I completed an MSc in Medical Humanities at KCL in 2016. I’ve worked mainly on funding research in the social sciences. I also volunteered for many years with an amazing group of women, seeking to improve healthcare for survivors of sexual violence. All of this developed my interests in gender, inequality and public health.

  • Why did you choose to do a PhD in public health research?

    I chose to do a PhD in this area because public health research presents a unique opportunity to contribute in some way towards redressing health inequalities. I’ve always enjoyed doing research, the studentship presented an opportunity to dedicate 3 years to pursuing this.

  • What is your research focused on?

    My research is focussed on risk, prevention and perinatal mental health. Specifically, I’ll be investigating whether there are inequalities in access to the sites of care that offer opportunities for prevention for women at high risk of experiencing severe perinatal mental illness. I also want to understand women’s experiences of being labelled ‘high risk’. I’m hoping to use a mixed methods approach to investigate this.

  • Why is it important?

    Perinatal mental illness can have a significant impact on the lives of women, their children and their families. There’s some evidence that women living in poverty and women from minoritized ethnic groups are the least likely to be asked about their mental health or offered support in the perinatal period. I believe this could contribute to perpetuating health inequalities, arguably across generations.

  • What do you like about being part of a NIHR SPHR and ARC collaboration?

    Having two communities of early career researchers to be a part of has been great. There’s such a wealth of expertise across the two structures too I feel very lucky to be able to draw upon.

  • What skills are you hoping to learn as part of your PhD?

    I hope to be able to build up strong quantitative research skills and experience working with administrative data. I also want to strengthen my interviewing techniques and develop the skills needed to ensure my research has impact.

  • • What do you hope to do after completing your PhD?

    I would love to establish a career in academia. However, I know there are many challenges early career researchers face which can make this difficult. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in research funding, a research related role in the non-profit sector, or public health nationally or internationally would be great.

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