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Dr Karen Whittaker

Karen has 20 years’ experience working in Higher Education, delivering educational programmes for health visitors and practice teachers and research projects examining parenting and family support.

Reader in Child and Family Health, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Karen is currently a Reader (Assistant Professor) in Child and Family Health, leading the Supporting Evaluation and Research in Child and family Health group, known as SEaRCH at the School of Nursing, University of Central Lancashire. She qualified as a health visitor and adult nurse following study at the University of Manchester in the nineteen eighties, and practised as a health visitor in the early nineties in Salford and Lancashire.

As a researcher, she has a particular interest in universal child and family health services and parenting support. She completed her post-doctoral work at King’s College London joining a team delivering a programme of health visitor research, commissioned alongside the England Health Visitor implementation plan (2011 – 2013). In 2013, she jointly established the North of England Health Visitor and Child Health Research Network @research_hvch and continues to co-facilitate the network with Dr Sue Peckover.

Karen has international experience working with the UNICEF CIS/CEE Technical Advisory Group on Nurse Home Visiting, and the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) writing open-learning modules on home visiting and practice supervision. This body of work is aimed at supporting those working in Central and Eastern Europe developing nurse home visiting for supporting early child development.

Currently, Karen is the principal investigator for the local evaluation of ChatHealth – a confidential SMS text messaging service for young people to contact school nursing services – and is a co-investigator on the NIHR-funded E-SEE trial (a community-based RCT and economic evaluation of a universal progressive service model delivering the Incredible Years Infant and Toddler (0-2) parenting programmes)