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Caroline Cupit

Health Services Researcher

Caroline Cupit is a Health Services Researcher with experience in the use of social science theory and methods to study healthcare. She is currently working on the PACFiND project, which is exploring best practice for people with fibromyalgia. 

Caroline is particularly interested in how social science theory and methods (especially ethnography) can be usefully employed to study and improve healthcare—in a way that is meaningful to the people/patients affected. She has expertise in institutional ethnography, an approach that highlights particular problems, and investigates the systems and processes that are involved (Smith, 2005). Caroline coordinates a  network of researchers using institutional ethnography to study healthcare (the SHIE network) supported by the International Sociological Association. 

Caroline’s previous work investigated troubling experiences of cardiovascular disease prevention in primary care—exposing ways in which policy, guidelines, incentives and other institutional structures coordinate communication and decision-making practices between practitioners and patients. She particularly highlighted systems and processes that promote pharmaceutical over non-medical interventions (which are often preferred by patients).

With the support of a Mildred Blaxter Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, Caroline has extended her work on disease prevention, exploring a growing social movement (of scientists, practitioners, patients and others) promoting therapeutic carbohydrate restriction in the treatment of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. She is interested in what works, for whom, under what circumstances, and is continuing to develop new projects focusing on the social practices involved in implementing and supporting dietary change. 

Caroline is a graduate of the University of Reading (BSc) and the University of Leicester (MRes, PhD). Prior to undertaking academic research, she worked in various project management roles in the NHS. Her previous career in commercial and welfare-to-work recruitment has contributed to her appreciation of how social aspects of life (including background, resources, family support, personal challenges etc.) influence patients’ needs—and intersect (sometimes problematically) with the values, systems and processes that shape how healthcare is delivered. 


Recent publications

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