Rivas, Carol

Carol Rivas

Carol Rivas

Title: Dr
MSc
Research Fellow

The variety of Carol’s academic work is a reflection of her interest in innovation, creative enquiry and interdisciplinarity and her movement into multimedia research aims to continue this.  Queen Mary is located within a particularly deprived and diverse area of inner London and so issues of culture, ethnicity and identity inform and shape Carol’s research; she draws on her multi-ethnic origins as well as professional skills and knowledge for this.  Her recent projects have focused on the patient experience and ways of improving clinical encounters and healthcare services and bring together her different skills and experiences, incorporating sociological enquiry, technological innovation, neurolinguistics, nonverbal data, and issues of culture and ethnicity. Her current projects will have both academic and educational outputs. 

Bio

Carol has a PhD in Medical Sociology,  an MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology and a BSc in Zoology.She took a gap year before her BSc to do a personal photo-journalistic ethnographic study of material culture in Europe. After university she worked as an animal behaviourist and conservationist at the Natural History Museum and had a project funded by the Zoological Society of London and the World Wildlife Fund; as a result she is the world expert on a bird endemic to St Helena in the South Atlantic, from which she sailed on a 15ft yacht. Carol has also worked commercially as a medical writer and journalist (with often 2 hour turnaround of materials) and as a telemedicine and multimedia educational resource developer, a computer programme developer, and helped develop the Map of Medicine. She has been a medical researcher since 1986, first as a quantitative researcher at the National Poisons Unit and St Mary’s Hospital, where she wrote several peer-reviewed papers, expert reports and book chapters on depression, suicide, and drugs of abuse and furthered her interest in cognitive neuropsychology.

In 2003 she joined what is now the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at Queen Mary, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Her first project here was a Cochrane systematic review of interventions for domestic violence. This led her to propose, obtain funding for and undertake qualitative research on social and cultural contexts in the lives of white British, black Caribbean and black African heterosexual women suffering relationship conflict that fits definitions of partner abuse. This research also formed the basis of her PhD. 

Carol has also completed qualitative evaluations of two health service improvement interventions. The first was peer review with feedback as a way of improving chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) service quality. This evaluation was commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) as part of a national trial of peer review. The second evaluation considered whether there was sustained effect from expert facilitation of small projects within mental health care services at four sites nationwide that were designed to enhance care for black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. This was the Enhancing Pathways Into Care (EPIC) project at the Centre for Psychiatry. Carol is currently working on a project with Clive Seale and Moira Kelly that onsiders the interaction between clinician and patient during diabetes consultations in local primary care.  Carol is the technical lead and primary researcher; she has video/audio-recorded 57 consultations, formatted and edited these and undertaken preliminary coding.   The aim is to do tiered analysis, including conversation analysis and to add to research knowledge through outputs as well as providing educational materials for clinicians and for patients that will enhance the consultation process.

Carol is actively involved in a range of teaching roles in the School of Medicine including medical sociology teaching, communication skills training, dissertation and project supervision, problem-based learning tutorials and student support. One of her students has just been awared the Rod Flower Scholarship with her.  She has also run a London-wide postgraduate student group that met several times a year at Barts and the London to provide support, help and advice for developing qualitative researchers. Carol usually organised guest speakers for these meetings, who were asked to provide a facilitatory environment for students to draw on their expertise, rather than to showcase their research.

Areas of Expertise: gender, domestic violence, suicide, depression, social support and coping, ethnicity, aspects of organisational change and change management interventions. Carol is particularly interested in ethnicity, gender, identity work and communication.

 

Research

Carol‘s interests follow two main strands: sociological and psychological

Her sociology research has centered on: the sociology of relationships; identity and belonging; emotion work; domestic violence; chronic illness; social support.   She has also undertaken research on aspects of organisational change and change management interventions. She has used a variety of qualitative methods and analytical approaches.  Carol is currently particularly interested in multimedia work, having previously developed expertise in this area commercially and as a hobby.

In her psychology research, she has specialised in the areas of suicide, depression, and drugs of abuse (mainly involving database epidemiological and health economics analyses), and in cognition and neuropsychology (with research involving patients with aphasia and children with autism).

Running across both strands are the central themes of identity, communication, ethnicity, and health care.  Carol is also developing a web-based multimedia educational and research resource of data collected from clinical consultations as part of her current workstream.

Recent and ongoing research projects:

  • DIALOGUE: A study of clinical communication and chronic illness.  Carol is making 60+ video recordings of routine diabetes consultations in local primary care and she and the other members of the research team will be considering the interaction between patient and clinician using various forms of analysis including keyword, content, thematic and conversation analysis.
  • ERD: The DIALOGUE data will be used in developing and piloting a web-based database of multimedia data on communication in healthcare, to be used as a resource for healthcare educators and researchers.  It is planned to add other modules in addition to diabetes. Carol is the technical lead for this.
  • CALI: qualitative research on social and cultural contexts in the lives of white British, black Caribbean and black African heterosexual women suffering relationship conflict that fits definitions of partner abuse. This research forms the basis of Carol’s PhD, with analysis ongoing.
  • NCROP: A qualitative evaluation of peer review with feedback as a way of improving chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) service quality. Commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the  Health Foundation, British Lung Foundation and British Thoracic Society as part of a national trial of peer review. Completed, with some publications still in press.
  • The Enhancing Pathways Into Care (EPIC) project: This was a qualitative evaluation to determine whether there were sustained effects from expert facilitation of small projects within mental health care services at four sites nationwide that were designed to enhance care for black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. Completed.

Carol has also assisted in several other projects, including a study on asthma patient leaflets for Asthma UK, the pilot for a domestic violence intervention now known as IRIS, and a study of medical students’ views of continuing assessment, and has collaborated with researchers at other institutions, for example on keyword analysis of results from a weaning survey for mothers, and on resuscitation experiences of medical students. Some are ongoing.
 

Publications

Key Publications

Rivas C, Kelly M, Feder G. Drawing the line: how African, Caribbean and white British women live out psychologically abusive experiences.  In press: Violence Against Women 2012.

Rivas C.  How to write a research report.  Forthcoming in: Seale C (ed).  Researching society and culture (3rd edition).  London: Sage.

Rivas C.  Coding qualitative data.  Forthcoming in: Seale C (ed).  Researching society and culture (3rd edition).  London: Sage.

Seale C, Rivas C.  Computer analysis of qualitative data.  Forthcoming in: Handbook of Interview Research, 2nd Edition, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium, James A. Holstein, Amir Marvasti, and Karyn McKinney. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rivas C, Abbott S, Taylor SJ, Clarke A, Roberts CM, Stone R, Griffiths C. Collaborative working within UK NHS secondary care and across sectors for COPD and the impact of peer review: qualitative findings from the UK National COPD Resources and Outcomes Project. Int J Integr Care. 2010 Sep 29;10. pii: e58.

Ramsay J, Rivas C, Feder G. Interventions to reduce violence and promote the physical and psychosocial well-being of women who experience partner violence: A systematic review of controlled evaluations. Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, 2005.

Henry JA, Moloney C, Rivas C, Goldin RD. Increase in alcohol related deaths: is hepatitis C a factor? J Clin Pathol 2002;55(9):704-7

Rivas C, Henry JA.  Constraints on antidepressant prescribing and principles of cost-effective antidepressant use.  Part I. Depression and its treatment. PharmacoEconomics 1997;11:419-443

Rivas C, Henry JA. Constraints on antidepressant prescribing and principles of cost-effective antidepressant use.  Part II. Cost-effectiveness analyses. PharmacoEconomics 1997;11:515-537

Rivas C, Ramsay J, Sadowski L, Davidson L, Dunne D, Eldridge S, Hegarty K, Taft A, Feder G. Advocacy interventions to reduce or eliminate violence and promote the physical and phychosocial well-being of women who experience intimate partner abuse. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD005043. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005043.pub2.


All publications from PubLists

Teaching

Medical sociology and qualitative methods lectures and workshops for MSc and BSc students; gender and health, old age and health lectures, planned migration and health lectures; domestic violence teaching lead and lecture; communication skills training (yrs 1-3); project supervision; problem-based learning tutorials and student support; exam question setting and marking; dissertation marking and vivas

Further information

Has run a London-wide postgraduate student group for several years.  This meets several times a year at Barts and the London and aims to provide support, help and advice for developing qualitative researchers. Carol usually organizes guest speakers for these meetings, who are asked to provide a facilitatory environment for students to draw on their expertise, rather than to showcase their research.

Technical expertise coordinator
Salaried qualitative research adviser for the NE London Research Design Service
BPS Psychology of Women Section PhD student essay prize 2010

Contact

Centre for Primary Care and Public Health
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Yvonne Carter Building
58 Turner Street
Whitechapel
London E1 2AB 
 

020 7882 8999
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