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MSc in Translational Health Sciences

Alex is a tutor on the following modules:

Research Impact and Health Research Systems
Technological Innovation and Digital Health

Find out more about the MSc in Translational Health Sciences

Alex Rushforth


Post-doctoral researcher

Sociology of science and technology; sociology of medicine; qualitative research

I am a sociologist interested in using social theory to study technology and the organisation of services in healthcare settings. 

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, I’ve been studying the rapid spread of a ‘remote-by-default’ NHS service model. I’m particularly interested in the experiences and challenges of people with Covid symptoms accessing medical help and how the remote and often fragmented nature of these services is changing what it means to be a doctor and a patient.  

Prior to Covid, since 2017 I have been lead researcher on a program of ‘research on research’ in NIHR Oxford BRC (running from 2017 to 2022), which focuses on ‘Co-Creation’ – collaborative knowledge production by academics working alongside other stakeholders in the healthcare economy to translate knowledge into practice. This builds on my longstanding interest in problems associated with research waste - ‘ivory tower’ research that (for whatever reason) is not implemented - and various organisational and policy efforts seeking to mitigate this. In collaboration with Professor Trish Greenhalgh and team, I have looked at case studies of attempts to mainstream ambitious technological programs in personalised medicine and e-health. 

My research tends to be qualitative and ethnographic in nature, and is supported theoretically by work in the critical social sciences, particularly science and technology studies, organisational sociology and narrative medicine. 

I am currently co-developing a teaching module for the new MSc in Translational Health Sciences at Oxford, starting in 2020. This module will focus on health research systems (organised networks of researchers and stakeholders who provide a context for research and its uptake and application) and efforts to evaluate research impact within these structures. I also teach on the Advanced Qualitative Research module within the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Science’s MSc in Evidence Based Healthcare. I am keen to hear from potential DPhil (i.e. PhD) students interested in exploring any of the above through a critical social science lens.

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