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Michelle Edwards

Dr Michelle Edwards


Research Associate

School of Medicine


I am a qualitative health researcher currenty working in cancer and palliatve care research. I have a background in psychology and sociology applied to health and medicine.

In my current role my research is focused on understanding and improving patient's experiences of managing health and illness and using health care services. I'm interested in interventions for patients to ensure that they are adequately informed to participate in decsions about their health care and treatment. I work on national and international projects in this area. 

My research career began in primary care and I have experience of  health literacy, health communication and shared decsion-making reseach with patients with long-term condidtions. I have also studied health liteteracy and health communication more specifically for older people with long-term physical and mental health conditions.  













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My research interests are focused around patients'  lived experiences of health and illness and using health care services. I have expertise in health communication and treatment decision-making in various health contexts, including long-term conditions, advanced cancer, palliative care, and end of life care.

Health Literacy

One of my main areas of expertise and interest is conceptualising health literacy asexperienced by people with long-term conditions and more recently patients with advanced cancer. My ongoing research interests are focussed on undertand patients' experiences of health litercay and cancer litercay and translating these research findings into interventions to support the development of health literacy to achieve more equitable access and engagement with healthcare, and better health outcomes for patients based on their individual preferences. 

Cancer and Palliative Care Research

I work on a programme of research for the Wales Cancer Research Centre focusing on Optimising Patients' Exeriences of Cancer Treatments. Myfocus is on developing projects to create and evauate digital interventions to support patiens with advanced cancer with informed and shared decision-making along their cancer journey and at the time where there is an option for palliative care and systemic palliatve treatments. I am also interested in developing mechanisms for communicating and including patients' preferences in muti-disciplinary team meetings where treatments are discussed and recommended. 


I also work on the Serenity Study, a Horizon Europe and Innovate UK programme of work to develop a shared decision-making support tool to support decisions about deprescribing antithombotic therapy for patients with advanced cancer who are recieving palliative and end of life care. My role on the project is to lead patient and public involvement accross seven work packages and eight countries. I am involved in qualitative work with clinicians and patients and the development and testing of the shared decision-making support tool. 

Primary and Emergency Care Research

I have recently completed work on the NIHR funded Realist Evaluation of GPs Working in or Alongside Emergency Departments. My role was to lead qualiative field work (observations and interviews) and anlalysis as part of the mixed methods realist evaluation. The report has recently been submitted and there are 16 published papers associated with the project.

Qualitative Research Expertise 

I work with a  range of qualitative methods, including participants and non-participant observation, ethnography, qualitative interviewing and qualitative review methods.I also have expertise in a range of qualitative analysis methods used in both psychology and sociology. 






I currently teach on the Long-term Conditions module on the Intercallated BSc in Population Medicine and supervise project students

I also help deliver a session on Shared Decision-making for the Evidence Based Medicine Week for year 3 medical students

I supervise project students on the MSc in Palliative Medicine

I also supervise medical student SSC projects across year 2 and 3 


2020 - Currently: I am currently a Research Fellow based in the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre, I'm working on programme of research funded by the Wales Cancer Research Centre on Optimising Patients' Experiences of Cancer Treatment. In my role I have been developing a programme  of research peojects  which aims to support patients with making informed decsions about treatment and care options for advanced cancer.

2017 -2022: I have recently finished working on a NIHR funded Realist Evaluation of GPs Working in or Alongside  Emergency Departments 

2016-2017: I worked in DECIPher at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences on a feasibility study of using activity monitors in the National Excerise Referral Scheme

2012-2016: I was awared a Social Care Fellowship by the National Institute of Health and Social Care Research, I worked with the CFAS Wales team at Swansea University to study health literacy in the social networks of older people.  

2006-2011: I was awarded a 1+3 Fellowship funded by the Sociology of Health and Illness and carried out MSc work to explore social influences on information exchange and shared decision-making in health care consultations. My PhD work identfied that health litercay was a major influence and I went on to explore the development of health literacy in patients with a long-term condition.


  • Palliative care
  • Cancer therapy
  • Long-term conditions
  • Primary health care
  • patient experience

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