NUIG researcher wins prestigious international award

An NUIG Researcher has become the first Irish recipient of the prestigious Herman Schaalma Award of the European Health Psychology Society (EPHS)

Hannah Durand is also part of a research team working with NPHET to understand why people do or do not adhere to Covid-19 physical distancing guidelines.

The Herman Schaalma award is awarded annually to acknowledge a PhD dissertation in the field of health psychology of outstanding excellence in terms of originality, significance, and rigour.

Dr Durand’s research explored reasons why people with fluctuating blood pressure do or do not take their medications as prescribed.

Her research was supervised by Dr Gerry Molloy of the School of Psychology and professor Andrew Murphy of the Discipline of General Practice at NUI Galway.

Speaking about the award, professor Evangelos Karademas, president of the EHPS, said:

"The Herman Schaalma Award aims to highlight excellence in PhD level research and to reinforce early career researchers to address key challenges in health psychology and adopt novel and rigorous theory and methodology. I offer my sincere congratulations to Dr Durand on her well-deserved success.

"Galway native, Durand is one of several researchers at NUI Galway leveraging their expertise to address aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With funding from the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council, researchers from the School of Psychology are working with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to understand why people do or do not adhere to physical distancing guidelines."

Behavioral responses

Speaking about winning the international award, Dr Durand said:

“We are using insights from health psychology to understand what motivates individuals’ behavioural responses to the pandemic. Our aim is to utilise our research findings to inform and refine future government communications about physical distancing.”

The first aspect of this research is an online survey conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, is currently accepting responses. For more information or to take part in the survey visit, https://mbmc-cmcm.ca/covid19/

The award ceremony was due to take place at the European Health Psychology Society annual conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, but it was recently held online due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.