Paige Hulls

What motivated you to come to Bristol and do this programme?

Having completed my Master’s degree in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health in the School of Policy Studies at University of Bristol, I started working in the Bristol Medical School as a Research Associate when I started exploring the possibilities of completing a PhD. I worked in conjunction with my line manager (who then became one of my supervisors) and started developing a proposal around my interest in occupational stress and the construction industry. I was interested in the programme due to the one-plus-three year structure and this was helpful as I did not have much experience in epidemiology. It also gave me the opportunity to use the mini-project to trial ideas and develop the required skills in preparation for the main project.

What is the key research question of your PhD research project and what have you found out so far?

My PhD is entitled “Cluster Randomised Trial Workplace Intervention to Improve Cardiovascular Health of Professionals in Male-Dominated Industries: Design and Pilot in the Construction Industry”. Nearly three in four construction managers have reported experiencing stress, anxiety or depression as a direct result of their job, all of which can have a significant impact on an individual’s cardiovascular health. The PhD aims to develop a workplace intervention which is based on current evidence, behaviour change theories and the findings from interviews conducted with employees, which will then be trialled for three months in an international construction company. I’ve also tested the effectiveness of a smartwatch system that has been developed to automatically detect the hand movement of cigarette smoking which runs on commercially available smartwatches.

Where do you think your research could lead and what are your future career plans now?

If the workplace intervention produces effectiveness changes then it would provide key stakeholders with an example of an evidence-based intervention that could be replicated in other organisations. Thinking ahead to the future, I would like to continue looking into employee health and wellbeing in male-dominated industries. I’m particularly interested in working with companies to help make sustainable changes as well as promoting research, whether this is through public engagement or teaching.

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