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Dr. Rikke Siersbaek
Research Fellow, Clinical Medicine


Dr Rikke Siersbaek is a Research Fellow in the Discipline of Clinical Medicine in the School of Medicine. She holds a PhD in population health and health services research from Trinity College Dublin which she completed as a scholar on the SPHeRE programme (

She is currently leading on a realist review as part of the INCLUDE project (Integrating National Repositories for the Cooperation Linkage and Understanding of a Data Driven approach to the needs of Excluded people). The study entitled Social exclusion over the life course: A realist review (, will contribute to our understanding of how social exclusion happens through complex intersectional social processes to populations such as people experiencing homelessness, people with substance dependencies, sex workers, prisoners, and certain minorities (Travellers, aboriginal people).

In 2022 she completed a research project entitled 'How and why do financial incentives contribute to helping people stop smoking? A realist review' ( under co-PIs Dr Sara Burke from the Centre for Health Policy and Management ( and Dr Paul Kavanagh from the HSE Health Intelligence Unit. Additionally, she worked on the HRB-funded Foundations' project (, researching how key learnings from Ireland's health systems responses to COVID-19 can be used to inform the implementation of Sláintecare.

Her thesis is entitled 'How can health systems make healthcare more accessible for populations experiencing homelessness? A realist and policy analysis' (

Prior to undertaking her PhD, she was part of the Trinity College Dublin research team which provided technical support to the Committee on the Future of Healthcare and assisted with the drafting of the Sláintecare report, the ten year plan for reforming the Irish health service published in 2017 (

Her research interests include health inequalities, health systems, and health policy, as well as realist research in the school of Pawson and Tilley. She has attended various realist training courses including a week-long Oxford University short course in realist review and realist evaluation taught by Dr Geoff Wong and Dr Chrysanthi Papoutsi.

She is the co-author of seven peer reviewed research articles and one book chapter and has presented her research at national and international conferences. She has undertaken consultancy work for Focus Ireland resulting in the publication of a report entitled 'Supporting the mental health of children in families that are homeless: a trauma informed approach' (

She is a member of the volunteer leadership group running the All Ireland Inclusion Health Forum (

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Parker, Sarah and Mac Conghail, Luisne and Siersbaek, Rikke and Burke, Sara, How to not revert to type: Complexity-informed learnings from the pandemic response for health system reform and universal access to integrated care, Frontiers in Public Health, 11, 2023 Journal Article, 2023 DOI

Ellen Cosgrave, Aishling Sheridan, Edward Murphy, Martina Blake, Rikke Siersbaek, Sarah Parker, Sara Burke, Frank Doyle, Paul Kavanagh, Public attitudes to implementing financial incentives in stopsmoking services in Ireland, Tobacco Prevention & Cessation, 9, (9), 2023 Journal Article, 2023 DOI TARA - Full Text

John Ford, Anna Gkiouleka, Isla Kuhn, Sarah Snowden, Fiona Head, Rikke Siersbaek, CLare Bambra, Rebecca Harmston, Sukaina Manji, Annie Moseley, Geoff WongGeoff Wong, Reducing health inequalities through general practice: protocol for a realist review (EQUALISE), BMJ Open , 11, (6), 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Rikke Siersbaek, Sarah Parker, Paul M Kavanagh, John Ford, Sara Burke, How and why do financial incentives contribute to helping people stop smoking? A realist review protocol, BMJ Open., 12, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 TARA - Full Text DOI

Padraic Fleming, Louise Caffrey, Sara Van Belle, Sarah Barry, Sara Burke, Jacki Conway, Rikke Siersbaek, David Mockler, Stephen Thomas, How International Health System Austerity Responses to the 2008 Financial Crisis Impacted Health System and Workforce Resilience " A Realist Review, International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 12, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 URL

Unruh, L.; Allin, S.; Marchildon, G.; Burke, S.; Barry, S.; Siersbaek, R.; Thomas, S.; Rajan, S.; Koval, A.; Alexander, M. et al., A comparison of 2020 health policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, Health Policy, 126, (5), 2022, p427 - 437 Journal Article, 2022 URL

Siersbaek Rikke, Ford John Alexander, Burke Sara, Ní­ Cheallaigh Clí­ona, Thomas Steve, Contexts and mechanisms that promote access to healthcare for populations experiencing homelessness: a realist review , BMJ-Open, 11 , (4 ), 2021, pe043091 - Journal Article, 2021 URL DOI TARA - Full Text

Thomas,S, Johnston, J, Barry, S, Siersbaek, R, Burke, S., Sláintecare implementation status in 2020: Limited progress with entitlement expansion, Health Policy, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 URL

Rikke Siersbaek, John Ford, Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, Sara Burke, Steve Thomas, Making healthcare accessible for single adults with complex needs experiencing long-term homelessness: A realist evaluation protocol, HRB Open Research, 3, 2021, p73 Journal Article, 2021 TARA - Full Text DOI

Rikke Siersbaek, John Ford, Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, Sara Burke, Steve Thomas, How accessible is healthcare for single adults experiencing long-term homelessness and complex needs? A realist evaluation protocol, HRB Open Research, 3, 2020, p73 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Rikke Siersbaek, Ann-Marie Lawlee, Joanne Dowds, Aoife Molamphy, Niamh O"Rourke, Una Kennedy, Una Geary, Adrian Moughty, Jess Sears, Vicky Sandys, Lilly Macken, Ann-Marie Sweeney, Claire Rooney, Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, An Integrated Inclusion Health Service for Homeless Adults in Dublin: An Observational, Descriptive Study, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Sara Burke,Sarah Barry,Rikke Siersbaek,Bridget Johnston,Maebh Ní Fhallúin,Steve Thomas, Sláintecare - A ten-year plan to achieve universal healthcare in Ireland, Health Policy, 2018, p1-5 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Research Expertise


Inclusion Health; Health Inequalities; Realist approaches