Associate Professor in Psychosocial Cancer
Penny’s first degree was in psychology prior to undertaking social work training. Her interest was in hospital social work and the impact illness has on the everyday lives of patients and their families. During her time as a hospital social worker she completed a Master’s degree in Psychosocial Palliative Care. In 1996 Penny moved in to research as one of the founder members of the Psychosocial Oncology Research Group and completed a part-time PhD in 2002.
Penny’s research initially focussed on use of electronic systems to exchange information between patients and clinical teams. More recently she has been involved in a number of projects linking Patient Reported Outcome data with routinely collected clinical data from cancer registries and electronic patient records. In parallel with her interest in data exchange /linkage, she worked on development of Patient Reported Outcome Measures focussing on measurement of social impacts. This resulted in the development of the Social Difficulties Inventory (SDI-21), which is now used in clinical practice and in research. Currently she is leading an MRC funded project to develop a questionnaire to assess the quality of life of people who are caring for someone with dementia.