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Population and Community Health


Sexual Health

Sexuality and sexual health is an important aspect of health and well-being across the life course, yet it is a challenging issue for society. Although attitudes to sex and sexuality have altered considerably over the past few decades and people in Ireland are more open about these issues, embarrassment in talking about sex and sexual health remains a significant barrier to the delivery and promotion of sexual health. The focus of this research theme is to support health promotion and professional education on sexualities and sexual health that is based on evidence within an Irish context.

Current projects

  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of the foundation programme in sexual health promotion in building capacity amongst health, education and community professionals with regard to the promotion of sexual health within HSE South. PI: Prof Agnes Higgins

Open opportunities for MSc/PhD projects

There are opportunities for PhD projects in the following topics:

  • Sex and relationship concerns and people with mental health issues. Prof Eddie McCann
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and mental health. Prof Eddie McCann

Completed projects

  • Visible Lives: Identifying the experiences and needs of older LGBT people (55 and over) living in the Republic of Ireland. PI: Prof Agnes Higgins
  • Development and Evaluation of a sexual health and rehabilitation education programme (SHARE) Programme for health care practitioners. PI: Prof Agnes Higgins
  • Evaluation of a Holistic Sex Education Programme for young women. PI: Prof Agnes Higgins and Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • Sex education and Schools: a study of supports and outside facilitators for sex education in secondary schools. PI: Prof Jan De Vries
  • An Evaluation of the WISE UP Sexual education programme. PI: Prof Jo Murphy Lawless and Prof Agnes Higgins
  • Gay/Lesbians experience of grief and bereavement from the death of a partner. PI: Prof Agnes Higgins and Dr Michelle Glacken
  • An exploration of how psychiatric nurses respond to issues of sexuality in clinical practice. PI: Prof Agnes Higgins

Completed research students

  • Claire Coleman, An exploration of the acceptability and effectiveness of contact tracing in the context of an outbreak of syphilis among men who have sex with men. Principal supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Prof Agnes Higgins, Veiling sexualities in a psychiatric nursing context: A grounded theory study. Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley