Dr Justin Aunger

Dr Justin Aunger

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Applied Health Research
Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham

Dr Justin Aunger is a research fellow in the NIHR Midlands Patient Safety Research Collaboration, focused on improving clinical decision-making across acute and maternal settings. He has a background in behavioural science and is interested in working on complex behavioural challenges in healthcare; he has recently worked on projects seeking to understand and improve inter-organisational collaborations in healthcare, and to reduce unprofessional behaviours between healthcare staff.

ORCiD iD 0000-0001-6975-4570

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ResearchGate Profile


PhD in Behavioural Science Applied to Health, University of Birmingham, 2020

BA (Hons) in Health Sciences, University College Maastricht, 2016


Justin completed his PhD at the School of Sport, Exercise, and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham in 2020, focused on behavioural change interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in older adults. He worked closely with older people to design, implement, and evaluate a behaviour change trial to reduce sitting time prior to them undergoing hip and knee replacement surgeries.

Following the PhD, he worked in the Health Services Management Centre at Birmingham on a project funded by the NIHR to deliver a realist synthesis and evaluation of various inter-organisational collaborations in the NHS, such as hospital groups, integrated care systems, and buddying arrangements.

Prior to joining the Institute of Applied Health Research, Justin worked at the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey on a realist review seeking to improve understanding of how unprofessional behaviours between healthcare staff arise and how they can be addressed. Alongside this role he was awarded an internal Commercialisation Fellowship to further his skills and knowledge on research impact and commercialisation, contributing to multiple impact case studies and improving impact culture within the school.

Given his background, Justin is an expert in realist analyses, behaviour change psychology, mixed methods data collection, intervention design, and multiple types of evaluation.

Justin has an interest in furthering the cause of Early Career Researchers, having led internal ECR networks both at Birmingham and Surrey.


Recent publications


Mitchell, S, Turner, N, Fryer, K, Aunger, J, Beng, J, Couchman, E, Leach, I, Bayly, J, Gardiner, C, Sleeman, KE & Evans, CJ 2024, 'Integration of primary care and palliative care services to improve equality and equity at the end-of-life: Findings from realist stakeholder workshops', Palliative Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1177/02692163241248962

Aunger, JA, Maben, J, Abrams, R, Wright, JM, Mannion, R, Pearson, M, Jones, A & Westbrook, JI 2023, 'Drivers of unprofessional behaviour between staff in acute care hospitals: a realist review', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 1326. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-023-10291-3

Millar, R, Aunger, JA, Rafferty, AM, Greenhalgh, J, Mannion, R, McLeod, H & Faulks, D 2023, 'Towards achieving interorganisational collaboration between health-care providers: a realist evidence synthesis', Health and Social Care Delivery Research, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 1-130. https://doi.org/10.3310/KPLT1423

Aunger, JA, Millar, R, Rafferty, AM & Mannion, R 2022, 'Collaboration over competition? Regulatory reform and inter-organisational relations in the NHS amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 22, no. 1, 640. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-08059-2

Aunger, JA, Millar, R, Rafferty, AM, Mannion, R, Greenhalgh, J, Faulks, D & McLeod, H 2022, 'How, when, and why do inter-organisational collaborations in healthcare work? A realist evaluation', PLoS ONE, vol. 17, no. 4, e0266899. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0266899

Aunger, J & Wagnild, J 2022, 'Objective and subjective measurement of sedentary behavior in human adults: a toolkit', American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 34, no. 1, e23546. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23546

Maben, J, Aunger, JA, Abrams, R, Pearson, M, Wright, JM, Westbrook, J, Mannion, R & Jones, A 2022, 'Why do acute healthcare staff engage in unprofessional behaviours towards each other and how can these behaviours be reduced? A realist review protocol', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 7, e061771. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-061771

Aunger, J, Millar, R & Greenhalgh, J 2021, 'When trust, confidence, and faith collide: refining a realist theory of how and why inter-organisational collaborations in healthcare work', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 21, no. 1, 602. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-021-06630-x

Aunger, J, Millar, R, Greenhalgh, J, Mannion, R, Rafferty, AM & McLeod, H 2021, 'Why do some inter-organisational collaborations in healthcare work when others do not? A realist review: A realist review', BMC Systematic Reviews, vol. 10, no. 1, 82. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-58882/v1, https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01630-8

Aunger, J, Greaves, C, Davis, E, Asamane, E, Whittaker, A & Greig, C 2020, 'A novel behavioural INTErvention to REduce Sitting Time in older adults undergoing orthopaedic surgery (INTEREST): results of a randomised-controlled feasibility study', Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, vol. 32, no. 12, pp. 2565-2585. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01475-6

Aunger, J, Greaves, C, Davis, E & Greig, C 2019, 'A novel behavioural INTErvention to REduce Sitting Time in older adults undergoing orthopaedic surgery (INTEREST): protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility study', Pilot and Feasibility Studies, vol. 5, 54. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-019-0437-2

Asamane, EA, Greig, CA, Aunger, JA & Thompson, JL 2019, 'Perceptions and factors influencing eating behaviours and physical function in community-dwelling ethnically diverse older adults: a longitudinal qualitative study', Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 6, 1224. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061224

Review article

Maben, J, Aunger, J, Abrams, R, Wright, JM, Pearson, M, Westbrook, JI, Jones, A & Mannion, R 2023, 'Interventions to address unprofessional behaviours between staff in acute care: what works for whom and why? A realist review', BMC Medicine, vol. 21, no. 1, 403. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-023-03102-3

Doody, P, Asamane, EA, Aunger, JA, Swales, B, Lord, JM, Greig, CA & Whittaker, AC 2022, 'The prevalence of frailty and pre-frailty among geriatric hospital inpatients and its association with economic prosperity and healthcare expenditure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 467,779 geriatric hospital inpatients', Ageing Research Reviews, vol. 80, 101666. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2022.101666

Aunger, J, Millar, R, Greenhalgh, J, Mannion, R, Rafferty, AM & McLeod, H 2020, 'Building an initial realist theory of partnering across National Health Service providers', Journal of Integrated Care. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-05-2020-0026

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