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Liz Cunningham

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Lecturer in Health and Social Inequalities

I am the Deputy Programme Leader for Health and Social Care in the School of Social Sciences. I joined Sunderland University in 2018. I previously taught at the University of Brighton in the School of Applied Social Sciences and the University of Sussex in the School of Cultural and Community Studies where I completed my MA in Applied Policy Studies. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority.

I worked in the international development field before joining academia. Previous to this I worked in the private and charitable sectors in the UK. I have worked overseas, primarily in South East Asia (Cambodia and Vietnam) helping to develop local non-governmental organisations and administering large bi-lateral aid projects. I jointly coordinated a British Council funded project to support the Royal University of Phnom Penh's development of its psychology provision at Masters level and coordinated an Erasmus exchange programme with the University of Naples, Italy.

Teaching and supervision

I teach on:
Module Leader:
  • HSC103 – Foundations of Policy, Practice and Inequalities in Health and Wellbeing
  • HSC309 – Community Level Interventions: Health, Wellbeing and Social Change
  • SSCM27 – Mind, Body and Health Inequalities

I also supervise undergraduate students on the Health and Social Care Dissertation module and postgraduate students on the SSCM26 Inequality and Society Dissertation module.

I am a Personal Academic Tutor for Health and Social Care students, and work with Jacqueline Merchant to support the health and social care courses at Chevron in Ireland.

I am an External Examiner on the BA (Hons) Community, Public Health and Social Care top up degree at Calderdale College (2021-2025).


I have researched and published on the following:

  • The role of psychology in Cambodia
  • Building participation in squatter communities in Cambodia
  • Problematic personal debt in the UK
  • Young people's experiences, views and preferences re school-based sexual health
  • The teaching of activism and social justice to students in higher education

    I am currently carrying out a pilot research project with women who worked in the Consett Steelworks up to its closure in 1980. I am also writing up some research on the perspectives of community workers and community members on 'empowerment' and an article on reflections on a university/community partnership that supported a community partner to carry out its own research.
  • Qualitative research
  • Participatory action research
  • Community-based research methods
  • Narrative research methods
  • Health and social inequalities
  • Community psychology
  • President of the European Community Psychology Association (2015-2017)
  • Trustee of the Trust for Developing Communities (2010-2013)
  • Visiting Professor, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Psychology Dept. (2009-2010)

Last updated 07 December 2022