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Current Projects

Our research is focused across four principal research themes:

Global Mental Health

Research that prioritises improving mental health, as a key component of overall health and well-being, and achieving equity in mental health for all people worldwide.

Project Title:  REFUGE-ED - Effective practices in education, mental health and psychosocial support for the integration of refugee children

Summary: REFUGE-ED seeks to develop a Brokering Knowledge Platform of Effective Practices (BKP), which will host and promote education as well as mental health and psychosocial support solutions for the integration of migrant and refugee children in schools and more broadly in society. A process of co-creation - using a dialogic process with children, families, teachers, practitioners working on the ground, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders, and applying a new communicative methodology developed by the consortium (SPICE) - will be applied to co-create knowledge and identify pilot actions to be carried out across multiple sites, including hot spots/reception identification centres, inclusive school environments and non-formal and informal social and learning environments, and institutional care (including unaccompanied minors). In total, REFUGE-ED project will carry out 3 multisite pilot actions across 6 countries (Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria). The final co-created BKP will provide tools, solutions and recommendations, including guidelines and criteria on capacity building training, solution adaptation and community engagement in easy to use off-line package, in different formats, to support the implementation, reuse and scalability of the piloted actions, and of other practices identified as successful.
Partners: Autonomous University of Barcelona (AUB; Lead Coordinator); University of Florence; New Bulgarian University; Kentro Merimnas Oikogeneias Kai Paidiou (Family & Childcare Centre; KMOP), Save the Children Denmark, Danish Red Cross, Support Group Network, Associazione Culturale Cooperazione Internazionale Sud-Sud (International Cooperation South South).
Project Website:
Principal Investigator (TCD): Dr Frédérique Vallières (TCD Lead), Prof Teresa Sordé Martí (PI)
Funding Agency: European Commission
Programme: H2020-SC6-MIGRATION-2020 (No. 101004717)
Funding Amount: €2,997,830.00


Project Title:  CONTEXT - The Collaborative Network for Training and Excellence in Psychotraumatology

Summary: An international, interdisciplinary collaboration between nine European partner organisations CONTEXT is a doctoral training programme which takes place across the academic, non-governmental, voluntary, and public sectors. A total of 12 research fellows will conduct research with one of the following three Global Mental Health priority populations in Europe: (1) EU-based asylum seekers and refugees; (2) Emergency-service personnel and humanitarian first-responders; and; (3) Survivors and perpetrators of childhood- and gender-based violence. Each research project is designed to address current and emergent skill and professional deficiencies, essential for curbing the adverse social consequences of trauma-related psychological distress.
Partners: Ulster University; University of Southern Denmark; International Federation of the Red Cross, Red Crescent Psychosocial Reference Centre; Police Service of Northern Ireland; Dublin Rape Crisis Centre; Probation Board of Northern Ireland; Danish Children Centres; Spirasi
For more information:
Principal Investigator: Dr Frédérique Vallières
Funding Agency: European Commission
Programme: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016 (No. 722523)
Funding Amount: €3,316,000.00


Project Title: Understanding and measuring pregnancy-related anxiety in low- and middle-income contexts: A pilot study in northern Ghana

Summary:  Prenatal anxiety has been associated with poor health outcomes of mothers and children, but much of the evidence is based on high-income nations using measures that have been developed for the use in Western populations. Hence, we need first to systematically review research on prenatal anxiety in order to get a clear overview of levels of pregnancy-related anxiety and relations with maternal and neonatal mortality. Then, we will apply a bottom-up approach, using focus group discussions to investigate the domains of pregnancy-related anxiety in Ghanaian women. This will inform the adaptation and validation of a measure of prenatal anxiety that is culturally relevant and adapted to the context in Ghana. The adapted measure will be pilot tested in a survey study of 575 pregnant women in northern Ghana.
Partners: Dr Hamideh Bayrampour (University of British Columbia), Ghana Medical Help
Principal Investigators: Drs Kristin Hadfield (Trinity College Dublin) and Gilbert Abiiro (University for Development Studies)
Funding Agency: UK Medical Research Council
Programme: Global Maternal and Neonatal Health 2019
Funding Amount: £89,808.00


Project Title: FFPSS -  The effectiveness, mechanisms of change, and acceptability of Family Focused Psychosocial Support for at-risk adolescents in Lebanon

Summary: This mixed-method study aims to develop and evaluate a Family Systemic Intervention Module, named Sawa A2wa (Stronger Together), to use alongside UNICEF Lebanon's focused psychosocial support (FPSS) programme, to enhance current humanitarian programming and address a significant weakness of the current evidence base for at-risk adolescents and their families in conflict-affected contexts. Focused psychosocial support aims to promote wellbeing and resilience and to reduce mental ill-health in young people at risk of child protection violations, including gender-based violence, child marriage, and child labour. The immediate impact of the study is the focused support for 351 at-risk adolescents and their caregivers. Other impacts include the integration of the systemic family module into existing FPSS activities across Lebanon, and engagement with the National Mental Health Programme for longer term impact on psychosocial support provision.
Academic Partners: Dr FL Brown and Prof M Jordans (War Child Holland), Dr Maliki Ghoissany (Boston University), Dr T Betancourt (Boston College of Social Work), Prof A Carr (University College Dublin), Prof M Donnelly (Queen's University Belfast)
Technical and Implementing Partners: The Danish Refugee Council, Terre des Hommes Italia, War Child Holland, UNICEF Lebanon, the National Mental Health Program, the Global Health Institute and Community Advisory Boards
For more information:
Principal Investigator: Dr Tania Bosqui (Trinity College Dublin)
Funding Agency: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)/DFID
Programme: Development Grants
Funding Amount: £485,556.00


Project Title: FIERCE -  Evaluating the efficacy of a Jordanian shared book-reading intervention to improve early childhood education

Summary: Community-led, shared book-reading interventions can improve early childhood development and reduce inequity. One such program, We Love Reading (WLR) was implemented in Jordan in response to the Syrian refugee crisis and involved mothers reading stories to children. We will examine the potentially transformative nature of WLR, by (a) evaluating WLR qualitatively and quantitatively and (b) interviewing the people who developed and implemented WLR (WLR Ambassadors, women trained in WLR, children who too part) to create a toolkit for effectively developing and implementing non-formal education resources elsewhere. To address the first aim, we will conduct a grounded theory analysis of interviews with stakeholders (i.e. parents, children) and will conduct a quantitative randomized controlled trial with Syrian refugee women and children. This will allow us to understand how an education intervention may impact children's educational trajectories during war and displacement, and how we can effectively intervene in other humanitarian crisis contexts.
Partners: Prof. Amal A lKharouf (University of Jordan), Prof Sophie von Stumm (University of York), Taghyeer Foundation
For more information:
Principal Investigator: Drs Kristin Hadfield (Trinity College Dublin) and Isabelle Mareschal (Queen Mary University of London)
Funding Agency: British Academy
Programme: Education and Learning in Crises
Funding Amount: £359,490.00


Project Title:  Improving the Psychological Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers who have experienced torture and other forms of extreme trauma

Summary: The growing number of refugees is of particular concern to global mental health practitioners. Specifically, refugees are more likely to be trauma-exposed, and are at least 10 times more likely to experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to the general population. The current project will (i) assess the cross-cultural utility of the International Trauma Questionnaire (ITQ), as a valid and reliable tool to measure PTSD and CPTSD among torture survivors, as per ICD-11 categorisations; (ii) determine whether a diagnosis of CPTSD differentially predicts patient outcomes over time, as assessed by a range of psychological outcome measures.; (iii) determine whether using patient-centred approaches, the most appropriate and acceptable psychological treatment paths for asylum seekers and refugees who meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD or CPTSD.
Partners: Spirasi - The National Centre for the Rehabilitation of survivors of torture in Ireland.
Principal Investigator (TCD): Dr Frédérique Vallières (PI)
Contact: Aisling Hearns (
Funding Agency: PhD Provost Awards (TCD)
Funding Amount: €95,000.00


Project Title:  COVID-19 Psychological Survey 

Summary: The COVID-19 Psychological Survey is a multi-wave study running throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to better understand how people are responding, understanding, and coping with the pandemic. Data is being used to map changes in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, people’s mental health, and views on COVID-19 vaccination.Three waves of data collection have taken place so far, the first of which took place two days after the initial lockdown.
Partners: Part of a six-country, international research consortium, the Irish arm of the survey is being conducted by the Trinity Centre for Global Health (Dr. Frédérique Vallières), in collaboration with Maynooth University (Dr. Philip Hyland), Ulster University (Professor Jamie Murphy, Professor Mark Shevlin), Edinburgh Napier University (Professor Thanos Karatzias), and University of Sheffield (Professor Richard Bentall).
Project Website:
Funding Agency: :  Economic and Social Research Council (No. ES/V004379/1) ;with start-up funds from the University of Sheffield (Department of Psychology, the Sheffield Methods Institute and the Higher Education Innovation Fund via an Impact Acceleration grant administered by the University) and by the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences at Ulster University.



Health Systems Strengthening

Research concerned with identifying and implementing changes in policy and practice within a country’s health system, such that a country can better respond to its health and health system challenges, leading to better health through improvements in access, coverage, quality, or efficiency.


Project Title:  Perform2Scale

Summary: Perform2Scale uses a problem-based management strengthening intervention to improve workforce performance and health service delivery in three African countries: Malawi, Uganda, and Ghana. The goal of Perform2Scale is to develop and evaluate a sustainable approach to scaling up a district level management intervention in different and changing contexts.
Partners: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (Lead Coordinator); Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam; Swiss Tropical Institute; Makerere University, Uganda; University of Ghana; Reach Trust, Malawi.
Project Website:
Principal Investigator (TCD): Dr Frédérique Vallières
Funding Agency: European Commission
Programme: H2020-SC1-2016-RTD
Funding Amount: €7,689,009.00


Project Title:  Engaging Adolescents in Sexual Health Services in Ethiopia (EASE)

Summary: Engaging Adolescents in Sexual Health Services in Ethiopia (EASE) is a research collaboration between the Trinity Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin; the School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, with the support and guidance of the Embassy of Ireland's, Overseas Development Assistance programme in Addis Ababa. Aligned with Ireland and Ethiopia's high-level commitments to engage youth and adolescents in the development and delivery of SRH, as enshrined in the Nairobi Statement on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise, EASE uses gender transformative, participatory action research methods to (i) determine what adolescents consider to be their meaningful engagement within SRH service delivery and programming in the Afar region of Ethiopia and (ii) describe a model of good practice for how to meaningfully involve adolescents in SRH programming within pastoralist regions. Achieved through a civil society partnership with Engender Health, a Norwegian Government-funded civil society organisation working in Afar to support and provide SRH services to adolescents and youth, findings arising from EASE will inform policy and decision-making at bilateral, federal, regional, and district levels to ensure that adolescents are more meaningfully engaged within the design and delivery of SRH services. EASE will further identify potential entry-points for Irish Aid and the Embassy of Ireland to add value to bilateral policy priorities in this sphere and to complement existing Irish Aid-funded programming in the Afar region.
Principal Investigator (TCD): Dr Ann Nolan
Funding Agency: Irish Research Council
Programme: COALESCE/2021/97
Funding Amount: €337,288.50


Project Title: The Political Economy of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in LMICs

Summary: Despite increasing interest in global sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) the political economy of SRHR interventions in LMICS is poorly understood. This desk-based study will review the international evidence in order to shed light on the political and economic enablers and barriers to SRHR in developing contexts.
Principal Investigator (TCD): Dr Ann Nolan
Funding Agency: TCD Dean of Research Office
Programme: Boost Fund
Funding Amount: €15,000.00



Human Resources for Health

Research concerned with improving health workforce policies, planning, and performance, in recognition of the important role of human resources towards to improving health care effectiveness, equity, access, and social inclusion.


Project Title: Supervision - The Missing Link

Summary: Supervision is considered integral to quality mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) interventions and features as a key recommendation in all major international guidelines on MHPSS in emergency and non-emergency settings. Despite its noted importance however, the provision of supervision remains a gap within MHPSS and protection programmes in humanitarian contexts and is often referred to as one of the most challenging aspects and unmet needs in programme implementation. Employing a collaborative process of tool development, which uses available evidence and structured feedback from experts and practitioners, The Missing Link aims to improve the quality of MHPSS and protection interventions in emergencies through the development of guidelines and tools for supervision (viz., an integrated model for supervision, IMS) for use across MHPSS programming globally.
Partners: The International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, hosted by the Danish Red Cross (PS Centre)
Principal Investigator (TCD): Dr. Frédérique Vallières (co-PI)
Contact: Dr. Meg Ryan ( & Dr. Nadeen Abujaber (
Funding Agency: US Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (formerly USAID)
Programme: No. 720FDA19IO00106
Funding Amount: USD 667,950



Equitable Access to Inclusive Health

Research concerned with ensuring that people have access to the services and resources necessary to achieve their full health potential, and that those who stand to benefit from services are fully and meaningfully included in health programmes and services.


Project Title: SASA! Preventing Violence Against Women (VAW) in Humanitarian Contexts

Summary: In partnership with World Vision Ireland, the Trinity Centre for Global Health will develop research-based knowledge products that support the introduction and implementation of the SASA! Programme in the Upper Nile State, South Sudan. The research team are working through a community development framework to assess the implementation approach of the programme in the context of COVID-19 and will build on this knowledge base in 2021 to undertake a review of the evidence examining violence against women in conflict and post-conflict societies.
Partner(s): World Vision Ireland
Principal Investigator (TCD):
 Dr Ann Nolan
Funding Agency: World Vision Ireland as part of a humanitarian intervention funded by Irish Aid entitled, “Building the resilience of women and children through increased access to education and protection services.” (Irish Aid, Humanitarian Programme Plan 2019-2020) 
Funding Amount: €70,000


Project Title: COVID-19 Toolbox for an ‘all island’ (CONTAIN) project: A cross border analysis in Ireland to disentangle psychological, behavioural, media and Governmental responses to COVID-19

Summary: The CONTAIN project aims to identify relevant, feasible and effective approaches that ensure acceptance and adherence to public health messages and measures. The study led by Dr Ann Nolan is undertaking a political economy analysis of COVID-19 and mapping the policy transfer pathway from multilateral actors to policy communities responding to COVID-19 in the ROI and NI. This data will be mapped alongside epidemiological data of incidence and mortality to develop a toolbox for national and global public health leadership in the immediate term and the predicted second COVID-19 wave. This research aligns with two thematic research priorities in the WHO’s Coordinated Global Research COVID-19 Roadmap 2020: ‘public health’ and ‘media communications’.
Partners: University College Dublin; Queens University, Belfast; University of Bristol
Principal Investigators (TCD): Dr. Catherine Darker (PI) and Dr. Ann Nolan (Co-Applicant and Lead for Political Economy & Policy Transfer)
Funding Agency: Health Research Board & Irish Research Council
Programme: COVID-19 Pandemic Rapid Response Funding Call
Funding Amount: €200,000.00



Realist Researcher Group

The use of realist methodologies in Ireland is growing. This methodology can be both rewarding and challenging. The Trinity Centre for Global Health in Trinity College Dublin has established a working group for researchers currently using realist methods to provide peer support for this process.

The Realist Researcher (Support) Group aims to provide a platform for realist researchers to share experiences and trouble-shoot the methodology with others involved in the field. Meetings will be held in Dublin, and the group is open to all individuals currently engaged in realist research both in academic and practice settings.

Within the Trinity Centre for Global Health, we have partnered with World Health Organization (WHO) and World Vision Ireland using realist methodologies for reviewing evidence, programme evaluation and making recommendations. We have completed two commissioned, large-scale realist syntheses and have several other realist project underway as part of PhD research.

For more information, or if you wish to join the group please email Jessica Power at or Brynne Gilmore

Brynne Gilmore 
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Trinity Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin

Jessica Power 
Doctoral Researcher, Trinity Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin

Realist Researcher Group Current Projects

Community Health Committees in Tanzania and Uganda
Abstract: Strengthening community actions to improve participation in health is an essential part of health promotion and health systems strengthening. To this end, community health committees (CHC) are frequently utilised in low-income countries (LICs) to achieve a specific goal and build community capacity. Though some evidence is available on CHC’s contribution to health outcomes, currently unknown is how, and to what degree, such committees are most effective in building community capacity for improved health.  This research therefore sought to explore how CHCs work to build community capacity by conducting a realist evaluation across multiple case studies in Tanzania and Uganda. Preliminary findings have been reported across several dissemination channels (see Publications below). 
Contact: Brynne Gilmore

When Scaling Up How are Health Interventions Modified to Fit Local Settings: A Realist Synthesis. 
Abstract: Health interventions are scaled up across diverse settings with differing needs and resources. In practice, modifications are often made to address this diversity however the processes used to make these decisions have not been fully researched.

This research is using a realist synthesis methodology to explore what processes were used across case examples of scale up to make decisions on modifications to the content of the intervention, context or delivery strategy. By using realist methodologies the research aims to discover under what circumstances these processes were used and what mechanisms and outcomes took place. This research has two phases with the first examining secondary data of published examples of scale up to develop and refine theories on these processes. The second phase will complete stakeholder consultations with health implementers to further refine and test these theories.

Contact: Jessica Power

Realist Researcher Group Past Projects

Research For Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) seed funding: In collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), University College Dublin (UCD) and International Medical Corps (IMC) in Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon, this work sought to understand the motivation and performance of community health workers (CHWs) within conflict settings. The CGH was awarded seed funding from the R2HC programme co-funded by DFID and the Wellcome Trust to develop an initial theory using realist evaluation and to propose a three-country realist evaluation for theory refinement.
Contact: Brynne Gilmore

WHO Commissioned Research: Guideline Recommendations for the Work Force for Community Based Rehabilitation in Less Resourced Settings: A Realist Synthesis.
This research sought to identify best practices for human resources for health-related rehabilitation within the overall context of health systems strengthening. It has a particular focus on the integration and decentralization of the rehabilitation workforce within the health systems of less resourced settings. 
Contact: Brynne Gilmore

WHO Commissioned Research: Guideline Recommendations for Leadership and Governance for Health-Related Rehabilitation in Less Resourced Settings: A Realist Synthesis. This research aimed to identify best practices for leadership and governance (with a particular focus on policies) of health-related rehabilitation within the overall context of health systems strengthening. Our approach to establishing good policy practices has been to undertake a systematic literature review, a realist interpretation of the literature and a Delphi sampling of expert opinion; and to synthesize these to answer questions posed in the commissioning of this research.
Contact: Joanne McVeigh

Realist Researcher Group Publications and Presentations

Deimling Johns, L., MacLachlan, M., Power, J. 'Core skills associated with mental health intervention in community-based rehabilitation: A Realist Review'. 2nd International Conference on Realist Evaluation and Synthesis: Advancing Principles. Liverpool, UK. 2nd-6th October 2016.

Gilmore, B., McAuliffe, E. Larkan, F, Conteh, M., Dunne, N., GMollel, H. 2016, Tumwesigye, N.M., Vallières, F. How do community health committees build capacity for maternal and child health?: A realist evaluation protocol. BMJ Open  6(11), p.e011885.

Gilmore, B., Adams, B.J., Bartoloni, A., Alhaydar, B., McAuliffe, E., Raven, J., Taegtmeyer, M. & Vallieres, F. (in-press). Improving the performance of community health workers in humanitarian emergencies: A realist evaluation protocol for the PIECES programme. BMJ Open 6(8), p.e011753.

Gilmore, B., MacLachlan M., McVeigh J. Methodological challenges in using Realist Synthesis for Global Health Promotion. Presentation to the Realist Working Group at Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, October 1 2014, Cape Town, South Africa

Gilmore, B., MacLachlan, M., McClean, C., Carr, S., Duttine, A., Mannan, H., McVeigh, J., McAuliffe, E., Mji, G., Eide, AH., Hem, KG. & Gupta, N. 2014. ‘Realist Review: Recommendations for the Health Workforce for CBR’. Oral presentation at the International Association for Critical Realism, 17th Annual Conference, LondonUK.  19 July 2014

Gilmore, B., Tumwesigye, N.M., Mollel, H., Conteh, M., Dunne, N., McAuliffe, E., Larkan, F. & Vallières, F.  2016 (oral ) How do community health committees build capacity for maternal and child health?: A realist evaluation in Uganda and Tanzania. Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research: Resilient and Responsive Health Systems for a Changing World, Health Systems Global, Vancouver Canada, November 14-18.

McVeigh, J., MacLachlan, M., Gilmore, B., McClean, C., Eide, A. H., Mannan, H., Geiser, P., Duttine, A., Mji, G., McAuliffe, E., Sprunt, B., Amin, M., and Normand C. Promoting good policy related leadership and governance of health related rehabilitation: a realist synthesis. Globalization and Health 12(1), p.49.

McVeigh, J., Gilmore, B., MacLachlan, M., McClean, C., Carr, S., Duttine, A., Mannan, H., McAuliffe, E., Mji, G., Eide, AH., Hem, KG. & Gupta, N. 2014. ‘Realist Synthesis: Recommendations for CBR’. Oral presentation at the 1st International Conference on Realist Approaches to Evaluation and Synthesis: Successes, Challenges, and the Road Head. LiverpoolUK.  27-30 October, 2014

Muhumuza, J., Gilmore, B., Conteh, M., Dunne, N., Larkan, F., McAuliffe, E., Vallières, F. & Tumwesigye, N.M.  2016 (oral) Community Committees for Capacity Building: Lessons Learned from a Study in North Rukiga, Uganda. Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research: Resilient and Responsive Health Systems for a Changing World, Health Systems Global, Vancouver Canada, November 14-18.

Power, J., Larkan, F., McAuliffe, E., Mannan, H. Scaling up Healthcare Interventions 
The Need to Contextualise for Local Settings. Poster Presentation. 2nd Clinical Trial Methodology Symposium. Cork. 25th and 26th October 2016.

Power, J (O’Dowd, J.). The Role of Context in Delivering Complex Interventions. Taking a Realist Approach. Conference Presentation. 1st Clinical Trial Methodology Symposium. Dublin. 24th Sept 2015.

Wall, PJ. A Critical Realist Perspective on Mobile Health (mHealth) – A Case Study in Sierra Leone. Oral presentation at the International Association for Critical Realism, 17th Annual Conference, LondonUK.  19 July 2014