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Dr Silvie Cooper
Department of Applied Health Research
1-19 Torrington Place
  • Teaching Fellow in Applied Health Research
  • Applied Health Research
  • Institute of Epidemiology & Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

I am currently a Teaching Fellow in Applied Health Research at UCL. 


I have a PhD in Health Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, where I also lectured and tutored while conducting my doctoral research.


Before joining UCL, I completed a Research Fellowship at the University of Michigan, USA and was the Research Lead at a child health charity in London, UK. 


My research interests include capacity building for health research, management of chronic pain, digital health, and patient education, using qualitative, mixed methods, and translational research approaches.

Research Summary

My research centres on patient education for people with chronic illnesses, and ways to implement resources and tools that empower and enable patients to participate more fully in their own care. 


I have worked on topics of peer education, formal, and informal patient education, chronic pain experience, with hard-to-reach populations in clinical and community settings, and on digital delivery of health information. This cumulative experience has led to my interest in how to design impactful patient education and self-management resources that are adaptable, sustainable and reflective of current evidence in an evolving digital society. My aim in this work is to understand further ways to keep content for these resources accurate and accessible, and develop dissemination formats that can be easily matched to current technological capabilities and user interactions.


The ways in which digital health interventions are disseminated (through care pathways, informal interactions, and increasingly, in online platforms) and how patients are encouraged to engage with self-management (particularly for chronic pain) are key components of my current research. Secondary projects include a study assessing how to communicate the risks, harms and alternatives associated with opioid use among a population of chronic pain patients and the most effective mechanisms for delivering these messages. 


I am also an honorary Research Associate in the Sociology Department at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. As a prospective research focus, I have been developing projects to adapt evidence-based measures and resources for use in addressing chronic pain in diverse contexts. My specific focus is South Africa, which presents a variety of economic and social complexities not usually present in the countries in which these tools and interventions have been assessed. The research would aim to understand how lessons gained from global research on self-management for chronic pain can be taken into preventive care approaches and digitally delivered in developing contexts.

Teaching Summary

The NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Academy (based at UCL) builds capacity and capability across the whole CLAHRC community to both co-produce research and to apply its outputs on the frontline. This approach fits into the aim of speeding up the process of translating applied health research into practice. 

To achieve this, we offer short training courses for healthcare professionals, service commissioners, and local authority staff. One-day interactive workshop subjects include: 

1. Introduction to Evaluation (offered in-person and online) 

2. Introduction to Economic Evaluation

3. Becoming Research Active

4. Introduction to Demand Capacity and Flow. 

In addition to overseeing the operational delivery of this programme of short courses, I teach on the "Introduction to Evaluation" and "Becoming Research Active" courses, which are offered twice a year. 

I also provide mentoring and support for PhD candidates and clinical academic fellows across our CLAHRC network.

JAN-2017 – DEC-2017 Research Fellow Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center University of Michigan, United States
2016 Research Associate Sociology University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
2014 – 2015 Research Lead   Best Beginnings, United Kingdom
2011 – 2014 Sessional Lecturer Sociology University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Academic Background
2018 FHEA ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow – Teaching and Learning in Higher Education University College London
2014 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Sociology University of the Witwatersrand
2011 MA Master of Arts – Sociology University of the Witwatersrand
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