Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Menu Search

Trinity College Dublin By using this website you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with the Trinity cookie policy. For more information on cookies see our cookie policy.

Profile Photo

Dr. Catherine Darker

Associate Prof in Health Services Res (Public Health & Primary Care)

Associate Professor Catherine Darker obtained her undergraduate psychology degree from Dublin Business School. She then undertook a full time two-year Masters of Health Psychology in National University of Ireland, Galway. She then obtained her Doctorate from the School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Birmingham, UK. She was appointed Assistant Professor of Health Services Research at Trinity College Dublin in the Discipline of Public Health and Primary Care in 2012. Her research interests lie in translating evidence into practice, in particular, using theories, evidence and methods for changing the behaviours of healthcare professionals, patients and the general public. This is known in Ireland and the UK as Implementation research and in Canada as Knowledge Translation research. She has a particular expertise in applying and developing complex intervention methodology in the context of randomised trials (including intervention design, measurement, fidelity, feasibility, and process evaluation), for prevention related research (e.g., smoking cessation, alcohol, physical activity). Her specialist role lies in translating research to practice. She has a proven track record in attracting research funds as PI or Co-Applicant (over €1.2 million). She was successfully funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) for a Cochrane Fellowship. She is the Co-PI for We Can Quit2 (WCQ2): A pilot cluster randomized trial of a community-based smoking cessation intervention for disadvantaged women in Ireland, (HRB Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards (DIFA) 2017) one of three national awards under the scheme. She has special responsibility for the process evaluation function of the WCQ2 project. She is Co-applicant for the HRB funded project to conduct a peer-to-peer motivational interview intervention for smoking, alcohol and physical activity among at risk adolescents in low SES communities: a feasibility trial (2016-2019). She is routinely commissioned by the Health Service Executive to conduct outcome and process type evaluations of national programmes and services. All of her research has a clearly defined Knowledge Exchange Dissemination plan with recommendations to change policy and practice in the prevention and management of a range of chronic conditions. She is the Course Coordinator of the Postgraduate Certificate in Implementation Science (IS). She leads the development of Implementation Science teaching and research at TCD. She is the Associate Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning within the School of Medicine. She is a senior member of teaching teams and develops and delivers innovative curriculum's for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. She is an active member of the Psychological Society of Ireland (Chartered Health Psychologist) having held many roles within the governance of the Society. She is a member of the British Psychological Society and the European Health Psychology Society. She was an inaugural member of the Healthy Ireland Council. She is a Member of the Expert Committee on Prevention within the Irish Cancer Society. She has over 55 peer reviewed publications and supervises and examines PhD and Masters students.
  Addiction research - alcohol   Addiction research - cocaine   Addiction research - opiates   Addictions   Adolescent Psychology   Alcohol/Alcoholism   Applied Psychology   Area & Population Studies/Services   Behavior Modification   Behavioral/Experimental Psychology   Behavioral/Social Studies/Services/Other   Behavioural change interventions   Clinical Psychology   Counseling/Guidance   Demography   Drugs/Drug Abuse   Health psychology   Health status and inequalities   Inner-City   Population based intervention trials   Population Studies   Population Studies--Developing Countries   Poverty and the Poor   Primary care   Prison   Psychology   Psychometrics   Public health   Public Planning/Policy   Smoking Behavior   Social Services Delivery   Social/Behavioral Science Planning/Policy   Socioeconomics   Substance Abuse   Surveys & Survey Research
 Multi-modal study examining social prescribing, examining clinical and cost effectiveness.
 Developing a framework for mental health peer-support in sub-Saharan Africa.
 A conduct a cluster randomised pilot trial of a community-based smoking cessation intervention for women in disadvantaged areas of Ireland.
 To conduct a process evaluation of the National Clinical Care Programmes.
 A peer-to-peer motivational interview intervention for smoking, alcohol and physical activity among at-risk adolescents in low SES communities: A feasibility trial.

Page 1 of 3
Details Date
Irish Platform for Patient's Organisations, Science and Industry (IPPOSI)(Board Member) 2013-present
Expert Committee on Prevention, Irish Cancer Society (Committee member) 2016-present
Trinity representative - Healthy County Committee (South Dublin) 2014-present
Healthy Ireland (Council Member) 2014-2017
HEI HSE National Standard Undergraduate Curriculum for chronic disease prevention and management (Steering Group member) 2018 - present
Department of Health, National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (subcommittee member of Treatment, Rehabilitation and Consequences, plus Research Advisory Group) 2013-2016
Expert Committee on Health Inequalities, Irish Cancer Society (Committee Member) 2015-2017
Health Reform Alliance (Chair; Ordinary Committee Member) 2014-2017
TASC Group on Health Inequalities (Committee member) 2012-2015
Reviewer for the following journals, inter alia: BMJ Open, BMC Public Health, BMC Health Services Research, BMC Family Practice, Health Policy, International Journal of Integrated Care, Health Psychology Review, Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, 2007-present
Council member - Psychological Society of Ireland 2011-2014
Honorary Secretary - Psychological Society of Ireland 2012-2014
Chair of Division of Health Psychology - Psychological Society of Ireland 2016-2017
Honorary Treasurer, Division of Health Psychology, Psychological Society of Ireland 2010-2013
Chair of Standing Committee on Psychometric Testing - Psychological Society of Ireland 2010-2013
Scientific Committee - Psychology, Health & Medicine Conference 2015;2019
Scientific Committee - International Foundation for Integrated Care Conference 2017
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Details Date From Date To
Cochrane International Collaboration 2011 present
Psychological Society of Ireland (Registered Member 2009-2011) (Chartered Member 2011 - present) 2009 present
British Psychological Society (Full member 2008-2016) (Associate Fellow 2017 - present) 2008 present
European Health Psychology Society (Full Member) 2008 present
Haberlin, C., Broderick, J., Guinan, E., Darker, C.D., Hussey, J., O'Donnell, D.M., 'eHealth-based intervention to increase physical activity levels in people with cancer: protocol of a feasibility trial in an Irish acute hospital setting', 2019, e024999-, Protocol or guideline, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Sorin, G.M., Darker, C., Whiston, L., O'Callaghan, A., Barry, J.M., Kelly, B.D. , A cross-sectional, face-to-face, community survey of mental health and deprivation in post-recession Ireland: a rising tide lifts all boats? , Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine , 2019, p1 - 12, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Sayers G, Donohoe F, McKeown D, Mc Dermott R, Cianci F, Darker C, Haase T & Johnson H, Analysis of low birth weight first-born babies by geography and deprivation as an aid to policy and service targeting., Journal of Public Health., in press , 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Emma Burke, Fiona Dobbie, Nadine Dougall, Mary Adebolu Oluwaseun, David Mockler, Joanne Vance, Nicola O'Connell, Catherine Darker, Linda Bauld, Catherine Hayes, Smoking cessation programmes for women living in disadvantaged communities, "We Can Quit 2": A systematic review protocol, HRB Open Access, 2, (10), 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Nicolson, G., Hayes, C., & Darker, C. , Examining total and domain-specific sedentary behaviour using the socio-ecological model - a cross-sectional study of Irish adults. , BMC Public Health , 19, (1155), 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Hayes, C., Ciblis, A., Darker, C.D., Dougall, N., Vance, J., O'Connell, N., Dobbie, F., Louden, K., Burke, E., Devane, D., Bauld, L. , We can Quit 2: A community-based intervention on smoking cessation for women living in disadvantaged areas of Ireland: study protocol for a pilot cluster randomised controlled trial. , BMC Pilot and Feasibility Studies , in press, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Lawler, M., Hickey, A., Hevey, D., Doyle, F., Nixon, E., Darker, C., Barry, M., & Field, C. , Effects of a peer-led motivational interviewing intervention on physical activity levels of adolescents in low SES communities, Psychology Health and Medicine Conference 2019, Maynooth University , 22nd March, 2019, Published Abstract, PUBLISHED
Lawler, M., Hickey, A., Doyle, F., Nixon, E., Darker, C., Barry, M., Field, C., & Hevey, D. , Effectiveness of a peer-led motivational interviewing intervention for increasing physical activity among at-risk adolescents, 33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychological Society, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 3 - 7 September 2019, 2019, Published Abstract, PUBLISHED  URL
Hickey, A., Lawler, M., Doyle, F., Nixon, E., Darker, C., Barry, M., Field, C., & Hevey, D. , The effects of training low-SES adolescents in Motivational Interviewing for health behaviour change among peers., 33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychological Society, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 3 - 7 September 2019, 2019, Published Abstract, PUBLISHED
Risk perception. in, editor(s)M.D. Gellman & J.R. Turner , Encyclopaedia of Behavioral Medicine. , New York, USA, Springer , 2018, [Darker, C. & Phillips, A. ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI

Page 1 of 9
Gabriela M. Sorin, Catherine Darker , Lucy Whiston, Erica Donnelly-Swift, Joe Barry, Brendan D. Kelly, Physical and Mental Health in Post-Recession Ireland: A Community Study from Tallaght, Dublin, Meath Foundation , November, 2018, p1 - 14, Report, PUBLISHED
Darker, C.D., Health Gathering - what changes to local health and social care services are important to residents in Tallaght? , Health Gathering, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin , 2016, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Darker, C.D., The Patients' Perspective - A Survey of Chronic Disease Management in Ireland, Adelaide Hospital Society Roundtable Meeting, Dublin, 2015, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Darker, C.D. & O'Shea, B, Chronic Disease Management in Ireland. Perspectives from patients and clinical stakeholders - implications and recommendations for the Irish healthcare system, Adelaide Hospital Society Roundtable Meeting, Dublin, 2015, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Darker CD, Whiston L, Long J, Donnelly-Swift E & Barry J, Health assets and needs assessment (HANA) in Tallaght, 2014, Dublin, 2015, Report, PUBLISHED
Darker C, Whiston L, O'Shea B, Chronic Disease Management in Ireland: Perspectives from patients and clinical stakeholders- implications and recommendations for the Irish healthcare system, Dublin, Adelaide Health Foundation, 2015, Report, PUBLISHED
Darker CD, Casey E, Seraukina T, Whiston L, & O'Shea B, The patients' perspective - a survey of chronic disease management in Ireland, Dublin, 2015, Report, PUBLISHED
Darker, C.D., Integrated healthcare in Ireland - a critical analysis and a way forward. , Integrated Care , Dublin, 2014, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Darker, C.D., Contemporary Health Policy & Service Reforms - impact on Irish hospitals , The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Annual Conference , Dublin, 2014, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Darker, C.D., Universal healthcare for Ireland , Irish Medical Organisation meeting , Dublin, 2014, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED


Page 1 of 2
Award Date
Nominated for Provosts Teaching Award 2018-2019 Decision pending
Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching 2016 May 2016
I lead on two themes across my research - 1. Behavioural change and 2. Implementation Science. Theme 1: I have a proven track record in research for impact - applying and developing complex interventions (intervention design, measurement, fidelity, feasibility and process evaluation), for prevention-related health research (e.g., smoking cessation, alcohol, physical activity) for the general public, people with chronic illnesses and healthcare professionals. I am a leading international expert in behaviour change in health and healthcare contexts, as evidenced by my collaborations, research income, metrics and media appearances. Theme 2: My research has directly shaped and influenced clinical practice and health policy. For example, the result of my HRB funded brief intervention trial has changed the treatment of patients attending methadone services in Ireland. I routinely influence theory development and measurement. For example, my research demonstrated that the measurement of a popular theory in health psychology (theory of planned behaviour) is problematic for respondents to engage with; this has subsequently changed how researchers design this type of questionnaire. I incorporate evidence based processes into routine health practice and policy. For example, my process evaluation of the National Clinical Care Programmes in Ireland is shaping the reconfiguration of these Programmes nationally. . I am far surpassing the Research Metrics of FHS for Associate Professor (minimum score of 7 points over 4 year period) with a personal score of 36.5 over a 4 year period; even with a maternity leave of 7 months). . I have attracted €1,298,538 research funding to date, as PI or Co-Applicant, including HRB, IRC & HSE grants. . I am the behavioural change expert within a consortium applying for H2020 funding 2019. . I have published extensively in leading health journals (N=57 overall; N=40 as senior author; h-index 12). I have been cited 687 times. . My research has extensive reach and impact having been reported widely in print and broadcast media. For example, in the Irish Times and on national RTE radio. . As a research leader I contribute significantly to the research reputation of the School and the College. . I collaborate nationally and internationally with a wide range of disciplines, practitioners and policy makers. . I am a College leader in engaged research through a constant focus on Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) within my research - I use PPI from the design stage, improving the relevancy of the research and increasing its societal impact. . I have supervised two PhD students to completion, four current PhD students. . I have a growing reputation as an external PhD examiner (two students in two universities, including Imperial College London; which led to a collaboration on a pending HRB grant).