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Dr Nicola Burns

Formerly at Lancaster University

Research overview

My research interests are diverse, crossing disciplinary boundaries, and focusing on groups often marginalised and discriminated against in society.  A concern with equity and social justice underpins much of my work, exploring questions of difference and the ways in which such constructions shape access to housing, health and leisure.

Research Interests


I have worked across a range of subject disciplines, including geography, sociology, housing studies, primary care and disability studies. Engaging critically with the social model of disability, I have conducted a number of research projects around disabled people’s everyday lives including experiences of the housing system; access to woodlands and children’s experiences of medical technology. An enduring research interest throughout my career has been mental distress. Initially focusing on mental health service users’ experiences in inclusion and exclusion; I have also explored work around professionals understanding and application of mental health law and policy in their everyday practices. I have engaged with work around cross-cultural communication in primary care with colleagues throughout Europe (www.fp7restore.eu). At present, my research is focused on bringing together the fields of disability studies and migration studies, exploring access to health care for disabled migrants. 


Research Interests:


Migration and health


Culture and health


Disability, impairment and mental distress


Disability and risk


Disability and migration


Equity and social justice in health




Current Teaching


My teaching responsibilities in the medical degree programme include:



Problem Based Learning I am a PBL tutor for first year medical students. 


Lectures and Workshops I contribute to the ‘Health, Culture and Society’ curriculum lecturing on my research interests in disability and migration. Working collaboratively with colleagues in  health culture and society team and community clinical teams, I deliver modules around health inequalities and equality and diversity.


Special Study Modules I convene special study modules through year 1-3 around my diverse reasearch interests including disability, migration and health.



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