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DPhil Supervision

I have successfully supervised ten PhD students and eight masters students in a range of topics related to primary health care both in developed and developing countries. The main areas of my research include  self-management of chronic diseases, self-care for non-communicable disease with a particular focus on LIMCc and pathways to care for critically ill and injured children in Africa. My work includes: cohort studies, RCTs, mixed methods and psychometric development of measurement instruments.


Alison Ward

BPsych., PhD

Director of Postgraduate Studies

  • Director of the EBHC DPhil Programme
  • Director of the Oxford International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme

Dr Alison Ward is a Behavioural Scientist with a degree in Psychology from the University of Western Australia. Dr Ward received a PhD in General Practice for her work examining psychosocial influences on the attendance of mothers and their children at general practice. Dr Ward is the Director of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and in this capacity supervises a program of support and training for current postgraduate students as well as running an International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme in Oxford. In addition, Dr Ward is the Director of the Evidence Based Health Care DPhil Programme. Prior to working in the UK she was an Associate Professor, Director of Research and Director of the Primary Health Care Research and Evaluation and Development unit in the Department of General Practice, at the University of Western Australia

Dr Ward’s current research interests focus on the self-care of chronic diseases and includes projects on the self-monitoring of INR, blood glucose and blood pressure.  She has managed two international Individual Patient Data (IPD) Meta-analyses on self-monitoring of INR and Blood glucose. She has conducted cohort studies examining the role of psychosocial factors in the self-monitoring of chronic diseases. These factors include the study of general wellbeing, conscientiousness, medical adherence, depression, anxiety, illness perception, treatment self-regulation, self-efficacy and planned behavior. In addition she has worked on cancer survivorship, colorectal cancer detection, patient empowerment and the psychometric development of measurement scales. 

Internationally, Dr Ward is an advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on self-care for noncommunicable diseases. She is joint head of the WHO Collaborative Centre for Self-Care. Work to date has entailed the completion of the evidence synthesis for the WHO Self-Care for noncommunicable diseases Guideline committee and production of the evidence for and writing of the final guideline. In addition, the Centre has produced the evidence synthesis for the cardiovascular risk screening guideline committee. The WHOCC will develop a network of epidemiology centres in low to middle income countries over the next four years. The centres, jointly with Oxford, will conduct research into self-care for NCDs in keeping with the research priorities identified by WHO.

 Previously, Dr Ward worked in Bangladesh and West Sumatra supervising MSc students. She has worked on a mortality audit in Cape Town which found that there is considerable under-reporting of HIV deaths. Dr Ward leads a Wellcome Trust grant in collaboration with the University of Cape Town designed to identify preventable failures in the medical care of critically ill or injured children. A major outcome of this study has been the development of The Sick Children Require Evaluation Now (SCREEN) program which is a simple screening algorithm usable by non medical personnel to screen children on arrival at a primary health care centre. This offers a scalable inexpensive method to identify and prioritise critically ill children in under resourced medical settings.