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Introduction to Alport Syndrome

Melissa Stepney

BA (Hons), MSc, PhD

Senior Researcher

I am a social and cultural geographer with research interests in young people’s health, gender, qualitative methods and health inequalities.  I currently work with Mina Fazel, Department of Psychiatry as a qualitative researcher evaluating new models of care in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in England. Increased demand for CAMHS, alongside concerns services are not commissioned to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, have contributed to a need to transform services to improve accessibility, quality of care and health outcomes. This mixed methods project includes both qualitative methods and an economic evaluation to help understand the complexity of CAMHS transformations, and the impact these changes will have on young people and their families. I am leading the qualitative component which will include in-depth interviews with young people, families and CAMHS staff, alongside ethnographic observation and documentary analysis.

I am also Principle Investigator on an NIHR funded study on the health and care needs of young trans and gender diverse people, and their families. See here for more info:  

I joined the Department in 2015 as a researcher to lead on a number of projects including the experiences of people who have the genetic condition Alport Syndrome and as a researcher on the 100,000 Genomes Project. These projects culminated in sections for the award winning website: (see examples on left). I have also worked on a project on smoking and e-cigarettes, interviewing GPs and nurses about their views on e-cigarettes. Alongside this, I have helped run qualitative 'clinics' giving help and advice on qualitative methods such as focus groups, in-depth interviewing, online research methods as well as analysis. 

Previously my research has focussed on youth, gender and drinking cultures. I completed my PhD which examined young women’s relationship with alcohol, at the University of Reading before taking up a position as a Human Geography Lecturer for four years at the University of Worcester.  I have a long-standing interest in psychoanalytic theory and how the unconscious shapes our everyday experiences, behaviours, health and wellbeing. I have also published work on gender, alcohol and friendship as well as the use of online forums in understanding health behaviour.