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Who is conducting the research?


Dr Felicity Boardman

Telephone:02476 151291

Staff Profile
Office: Room B0.16, Health

The Imagining Futures research project is being conducted by Dr. Felicity Boardman and Dr. Rachel Hale at Warwick Medical School, under the guidance of two mentors, Prof. Frances Griffiths and Dr. Anne-Marie Slowther. Initially a study of attitudes towards genetic screening amongst families living wiht SMA (in conjunction with SMA Support UK and funded by the ESRC), the Imagining Futures study is now being extended to include a further four genetic conditions: fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, haemophilia and thalassemia. The study is currently being funded by a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award, obtained in July 2016.

Felicity's Background

Felicity conducted her research training and doctoral research in the department of Sociology at the University of Warwick exploring how families living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy felt about, and made decisions about, the use of prenatal testing technologies in the context of their familial experiences with the condition.

In 2010, Felicity moved to Warwick Medical School to undertake a post in mixed methods research, and in 2011 was awarded a Mildred Blaxter Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness to disseminate the findings of her doctoral thesis. During this time, Felicity became interested in the possibility of screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy and submitted a proposal to undertake an exploration of views around screening amongst families living directly with the condition.

In 2012, Felicity was awarded funding for the project from the Economic and Social Research Council, and began the fellowship in May 2013. The study received a good response from the SMA community, with 36 people participating in an in-depth interview and 337 returning the SMA Screening Survey (UK). The study has resulted in various outputs including: peer reviewed publications, a collaboration with an artist to create an art installation highlighting issues around genetic screening, presentations to patient groups and professionals, as well as publications in media outlets (see the outputs page for details).

In February 2017, the next phase of the Imagining Futures study began.

Dr. Rachel Hale Office: Room B-017, Health Sciences



02476 150 455

Rachel's Background
Rachel conducted her research training at the Open University and the University of South Wales (where she was working as a Sociology Lecturer). In 2010, she moved to the school of medicine at the University of Nottingham to conduct her doctoral research exploring the healthcare worker influenza immunisation programme. This was jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council. In 2013, Rachel was invited to become an external consultant for the World Health Organization’s tailoring influenza immunisation programme (TIP FLU).

In 2013, Rachel started working at Cardiff University on a mixed methods research study. Rachel worked on a variety of projects, including infection prevention and control, clinicians’ decision making, cancer survivorship and end of life care, while at Cardiff University until February 2017. From October 2015 to March 2017, she also worked at the University of the West of England on a qualitative studying looking at the social and ethical implications of laboratory grown red blood cells and interviewed patient groups including two of those in the current study (haemophilia and thalassemia).

In February 2017, Rachel began working at the University of Warwick Medical School as a Research Fellow for three years on the Wellcome Trust funded mixed methods study looking at what the social and ethical implications of pre-conception genetic screening for several hereditary conditions of uncertain outcome being rolled out to the general public by the NHS would be.

Additional Information