Pat holds a personal Chair in Primary Care and joined the NMAHP Research Unit in 2012. Her research is underpinned by an assets-based approach and focuses on sustainable preventative interventions and addressing health inequalities. She applies an ecological lens and mixed method approaches to the design and delivery of complex intervention trials which support people to adopt and sustain behaviours which improve health and wellbeing. Her work on infant feeding, incentives for behaviour change, intervention development and how qualitative methods are applied in randomised controlled trials has gained international attention. She has contributed to the NIHR-HTA Commissioning Board, the NIHR School for Primary Care Funding Board, the Editorial Board of Pilot and Feasibility Studies Journal, chairing trial steering committees and co-chairing a University of Stirling Ethics Committee.
Pat worked as a GP in London’s East End as a GP trainer, then in Aberdeenshire, combining 27 years of GP experience with research at the University of Aberdeen. Here she collaborated on the ROMEO systematic reviews investigating the evidence for weight loss in men and led the BIBS platform study to inform incentive intervention trials. She leads the Game of Stones Trial which continues this collaborative work and includes considerable public and patient involvement. Other trials she is a co-applicant on include incentives to quit smoking in pregnancy, infant feeding peer support and text messaging for postnatal weight loss. She held a Chief Scientist Office Primary Care Career Award and has twice won the RCGP/Boots Research Paper of the Year award. She declares no conflicts of interest and has received no funding from commercial organisations for research studies, publications, or presentations.

Pat's research interests fall into the following themes.

  1. Preventing ill health and addressing health inequalities.
  2. Putting citizens at the forefront when designing and delivering complex interventions to support healthy behaviours.
  3. Understanding the use of financial incentives delivered either to patients or providers to support and sustain healthy behaviours.
  4. Applying qualitative research methods to the design and delivery of randomised controlled trials, informed ecological and systems approaches.