Dr Karen Newbigging

Dr Karen Newbigging

Reader in Healthcare Policy and Management

Contact details

School of Social Policy, HSMC
Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT

Karen joined HSMC as a Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Policy and Management in November 2013. Originally qualifying as a clinical psychologist, Karen has over thirty years’ experience in the health and social care sector, including direct service provision and commissioning. For the past fifteen years Karen has been involved in research, consultancy and system development for a broad range of health and social care organisations including government. Her recent work has focused on the implementation of health and social care policy, patient and public involvement, advocacy and action to tackle health inequalities and discrimination. Karen has a particular interest in mental health, and is a core member of the Institute for Mental Health at the University. She is a Chartered Psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and a Senior Fellow of the School for Social Care.


  • Health and social care policy
  • Mental health transformation
  • Equalities and intersectionality
  • Advocacy and service user involvement
  • Prevention and public mental health


  • PhD in Mental Health Policy, University of Leeds (2013)
  • PGCert in Health Research, University of Leeds (2006)
  • MSc in Ethics of Healthcare, University of Liverpool (1991)
  • Dip. Psych, British Psychological Society (1981)
  • M.A. (Hons) in Psychology, University of Dundee (1978)


  • Sociology of health and illness
  • Module lead (with Hilary Brown) for People, Patients and Communities module on M.Sc. in Health Management
  • Course Director for CCG Mental Health Leadership Development Programme funded by NHS England

Postgraduate supervision

Karen would welcome PhD students interested in aspects of the following:

Mental health policy
Promoting equalities in health and social care provision
Public and patient engagement

Other activities

External activitiesinclude:

  • Member of the Editorial Board for Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care
  • Member of the Department of Health National Taskforce on Women’s Mental Health
  • Trustee of Calderdale Healthy Minds
  • Member of the Womencentre Advisory Board for Department of Education Pilot on Safeguarding Children and Domestic Violence
  • Advisor for Aawaz, the voice of Asian women
  • Member of the Advisory Group for the Corston Review of women with vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system


Recent publications


Newbigging, K 2015, Independent mental health advocacy: The Right to be Heard –Context, Values and Good Practice. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London. <http://www.jkp.com/uk/independent-mental-health-advocacy-the-right-to-be-heard.html >


Newbigging, K, Ridley, J & Sadd, J 2020, 'Realising the right to equal recognition for disabled people: commissioning statutory advocacy in England', Disability and Society. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2020.1745759

Newbigging, K, Rees, J, Ince, R, Mohan, J, Joseph, D, Ashman, M, Norden, B, Dare, C, Bourke, S & Costello, B 2020, 'The contribution of the voluntary sector to mental health crisis care in England: a mixed methods study', Health Services and Delivery Research, vol. 8, no. 29, 08290. https://doi.org/10.3310/hsdr08290

Newbigging, K & Ridley, J 2018, 'Epistemic struggles: the role of advocacy in promoting epistemic justice and rights in mental health', Social Science and Medicine, vol. 219, pp. 36-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.10.003

Ridley, J, Newbigging, K & Street, C 2018, 'Mental Health Advocacy Outcomes from Service User Perspectives', The Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 280-292. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-10-2017-0049

Newbigging, K, Mohan, J, Rees, J, Harlock, J & Davis, A 2017, 'Contribution of the voluntary sector to mental health crisis care in England: protocol for a multimethod study', BMJ open, vol. 7, no. 11, e019238. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019238

Newbigging, K, Ridley, J, Mckeown, M, Machin, K & Poursanidou, K 2015, '‘When you haven't got much of a voice’: an evaluation of the quality of Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) services in England', Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 313-324. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.2015.23.issue-3

Newbigging, K 2014, 'Chronic disease management from a lifestyle perspective: A critical commentary: Annals of the Global Health Equity Foundation 2014: Chronic Diseases and the Equity Challenge', Health and Social Care in the Community, pp. 25-29.


Mckeown, M, Ridley, J, Machin, K & Newbigging, K 2014, Advocacy in Mental Health Care in Taylor. in A Companion to Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Risk. Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 7-8.

Commissioned report

Burstow, P, Newbigging, K, Tew, J & Costello, B 2018, Investing in a resilient generation: keys to a mentally prosperous nation. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/research/policycommission/Investing-in-a-Resilient-Generation-report.pdf>

Newbigging, K & Parsonage, M 2017, Mental Health in the West Midlands: A Report for the West Midlands Combined Authority. University of Birmingham.

Glasby, J, Newbigging, K, Mangan, C, Miller, R & Ward, C 2015, Commissioning for better outcomes: a route map. Local Government Association. <http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/5756320/Commissioning+for+Better+Outcomes+A+route+map/8f18c36f-805c-4d5e-b1f5-d3755394cfab>

Conference contribution

Newbigging, K 2015, Mainstreaming gender equity in health: possibilities and pitfalls for policy and practice. in Annals of the Global Health Equity Foundation 2015: Gender discrimination and its impact on health equity. Annals of the Global Health Equity Foundation, no. 2, Global Health Equity Foundation, Geneva, pp. 44-48, Global Health Equity Foundation: “Gender discrimination and its impact on health equity”, Switzerland, 24/10/14. <http://ghef.org/ch/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/GHEFAnnalsWeb-1.pdf>

Review article

Fleischmann, P, Machin, K, McKeown, M, Ridley, J, Newbigging, K & Sadd, J 2015, 'Using independent mental health advocates', Nursing Times, vol. 111, no. 45, pp. 22-4.

Web publication/site

Newbigging, K, Addressing unmet needs in women’s mental health, 2018, Web publication/site, British Medical Association. <https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/womens-health>

View all publications in research portal


Mental health and social care - including policy, prevention, changing services, service user involvement and advocacy, promoting equalities, services for women, and public and patient engagement.


Health and Social care

Specialises in mental health and social care - including policy, prevention, changing services, service user involvement and advocacy, promoting equalities, services for women, and public and patient engagement.