Tracy Pellatt-Higgins BSc, MSc, Dip Couns, Dip BWY
Senior Research Fellow and NIHR RDS SE Research Adviser
- 01227 827963
I am a Research Fellow at CHSS at the University of Kent with 26 years’ experience working in pharmaceutical and applied health research.
I am currently collaborating with colleagues from East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit on the eGFR-C project. The aims of the research are to evaluate glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimating equations in assessing and monitoring measured GFR in people with stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD) over three years.
I am an experienced Statistician, with particular expertise in optimal trial design, adaptive design, mathematical modelling and simulation, and model-based meta-analysis. During the last 30 years, I’ve accumulated wide ranging inter-disciplinary research experience in relation to the application of Statistics in the design and analysis of pharmaceutical and applied health research. I am also a complementary therapist, Integrative Counsellor and BWY Yoga teacher. My research interests include mental health, mindfulness, complementary therapies and holistic healthcare.
I joined the University of Kent in June 2010. I previously worked as a Pharmacometrician at Pfizer (2002-2010), and at Covance Clinical Research Organisation (1987-2002) where I served as Head of the Department of Statistics and SAS Programming from 1992 onwards. Whilst working at Covance, I also served as Head of the Data Management Department for one year.
I completed my BSc in Applied Statistics at Sheffield in 1987, my MSc in Medical Statistics at the University of Leicester in 1999 (Awarded Distinction), and my Diploma in Counselling at the University of Kent 2013.back to top
The e-GFR Study. Accuracy of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimation using creatinine and cystatin C and albuminuria for monitoring disease progression in patients with stage 3 chronic kidney disease: an observational study in a multiethnic population. The aims of the research are to evaluate glomerular filtration rate (GFR)- estimating equations in assessing and monitoring measured GFR in people with stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD) over three years. A focus of the research is the impact of ethnic group, baseline diabetes and proteinuria in the estimation and evaluation of how accurately these equations reflect change in GFR over three years. A further aim of the research is to estimate and model disease progression and compare the effectiveness and costs of monitoring strategies for identifying people that have progressive loss of kidney function utilising different GFR-estimating equations and test schedules, accounting for differences in risk of progression. An accurate knowledge of GFR is required to identify and manage CKD. Measurement of GFR using reference procedures is impractical for large scale application, and GFR-estimating equations are widely used. There is little data addressing the ability of estimated GFR to detect change in true GFR, and no data addressing the accuracy of these equations in British ethnic minority populations. The evidence base on the frequency of monitoring is also very poor for some of the newer estimating equations, and whether the benefits of these new equations are outweighed by the increased costs. This study has been designed to address these questions. A prospective multi-centre longitudinal cohort study to estimate accuracy in eGFR and changes in eGFR. 1300 people will be followed for 3 years with reference (measured) GFR and test (estimated GFR – eGFR) measurements at baseline and 3 years. Test measurements are also undertaken every 6 months. The target population are adults with stage 3 CKD proportionally enriched to include people more likely to have progressive kidney disease (i.e. those with proteinuria and/or diabetes) and including Asians and African-Caribbeans. A sub-study of 300 people (100 each of Caucasian, Asian and African-Caribbean origin; in each case containing subjects at high and low risk of kidney disease progression) will also be undertaken. Reference GFR will be measured yearly in the sub-study population and patterns of disease progression assessed. Start date: 01/08/2013 End date: 31/01/2019 Funder: NIHR via EKHUFT Funding: £25,912 Publication: The eGFR-C study
Does repeated vestibular stimulation induce lasting recovery from hemi-spatial neglect?
This collaborative project between CHSS, Kent University’s School of Psychology, School of Biosciences and clinicians from East Kent’s hospitals pilots a new treatment for stroke sufferers diagnosed with hemi-spatial neglect. This is a disabling, visual-spatial neuropsychological impairment frequently associated with a lesion to the right hemisphere which causes sufferers to act as if one half of their visual world is missing - bumping into objects, leaving food on one side of a plate and failure to notice people at the affected side. Effects can be over-shadowed by more observable impairments of movement or communication, yet the disorder is far more strongly predictive of general functional recovery from stroke. So far it has proved very difficult to remediate, and many showing hemi-spatial neglect at hospital admission still struggle with daily routine years later. This new treatment seeks to restore lost function to damaged visual brain areas via trans-cranial electrical stimulation, a procedure which injects sub-sensory levels of electrical current though electrodes placed on the scalp just behind the ears to stimulate nerve pathways from the inner ear to the damaged parts of the brain. Current treatment requires specialist staff and space but this new stimulation method can be administered by a nurse at bedside. This is the first MRC-funded stroke study to directly involve East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust personnel. Start date: 01/04/2011 End date: 31/03/2013 Funder: Medical Research Council Funding: £49,835 Publications: Does Repeated Vestibular Stimulation Induce Lasting Recovery From Hemi-Spatial Neglect? (web page) Galvanic vestibular stimulation in hemi-spatial neglect
Healthy Foundations is a lifestyle segmentation model which attempts to understand what motivates people and their motivations for change. This project carries out further analysis of the survey data. Nationally, the five core motivational segments are: ‘Health Conscious Realists’, ‘Balanced Compensators’, ‘Live for Today’s’, ‘Hedonistic Immortals’, ‘Unconfident Fatalists’. Start date: 01/03/2013 End date: 30/06/2013 Funder: Hastings and Rother PCT Funding: £15,000 Publication: Health and Well-being in East Sussex Director of Public Health Annual Report 2012 (pdf)
SHELTER: Services and health for elderly in long term care – a European comparison of nursing homes and residents
This project aims to evaluate the characteristics of nursing homes and their residents in eight European countries, using standardised assessment instruments. It seeks to determine validity of the InterRAI Long Term Care Facilities assessment instrument by comparing assessments of residents within and between nursing homes over a 12 month period. The project also generates information on the characteristics of nursing homes by collection of data to support and contrast residents’ needs, and this will be entered into a specially created web-based project database. Start date: 01/01/2009 End dtae: 31/12/2011 Funder: European Commission FP7 Publication: Assessment of nursing home residents in Europe: the Services and Health for Elderly in Long TERm care (Shelter) study Services and Health for Elderly in Long TERm Care - Baseline report
Do 'Breathe Easy' patient groups improve health outcomes in chronic lung disease?
Evaluation of the benefits of the British Lung Foundation's 'Breathe Easy' peer support network. ‘Integrated Breathe Easy’ is a two year evaluation undertaken on behalf of the British Lung Foundation (BLF) funded by the Cabinet Office through Nesta. It will assess whether integrating Breathe Easy groups into local respiratory care pathways results in better health and well-being outcomes for patients and carers. More than 230 BLF ‘Breathe Easy’ voluntary patient groups meet monthly across Britain. They aim to develop knowledge and increase self-management levels among those with long term lung disease including COPD, asthma and sarcoidosis. They offer support from health professionals and social activities. The study compares three cohorts to measure impact and assess outcomes: groups not integrated into the NHS care pathway new groups which are integrated control group - patients not attending Breathe Easy, but would be willing to. The focus is on patient understanding and self-help. Data collection in year one will explore patient self-efficacy levels, and their knowledge of where to seek help and advice. Carers will also be questioned about their confidence and burden of care. Year two will focus on cost effectiveness of the groups. Rowena Merritt leads and project manages the CHSS research team which includes Research Fellow Ferhana Hashem, Health Economist Olena Nizalova and Statistician Tracy Higgins. Start date: 01/04/2014 End date: 30/04/2016 Funder: British Lung Foundation Funding: £74,725
DOLPHIN-II: Development Of a haemophiLia PHysiotherapy INtervention for optimum musculoskeletal health in children
A three-year study looking at whether muscle strengthening helps improve the long-term health of children with haemophilia. Boys with haemophilia will be allocated at random to two groups: a group that is asked to complete the 12-week exercise routine to strengthen their leg muscles, and another group that does not do exercises. Boys will be monitored throughout the study by measuring their muscle strength, how far they can walk in six-minutes and time taken to ascend and descend 12 steps. A wrist band will be used to record how physically active the boys are as well as how satisfied they are with their health. The study will be managed by a group of health care professionals and researchers with experience and expertise in carrying out this type of research. Development Of a haemophiLia PHysiotherapy INtervention for optimum musculoskeletal health in children (DOLPHIN-II) - a randomised controlled trial Start date:October 2020 End date:October 2023 Award: £343,536 Funder: NIHR for Patient Benefit via East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust More information on the NIHR website.
RISKIT-CJS evaluation of a multi-component intervention to reduce substance use and risk-behaviour in adolescents engaged with the criminal justice system
Adolescence is a critical developmental stage when young people make behavioural and lifestyle choices that have the potential to impact on their health and wellbeing into adulthood. While risk-taking is important for healthy psychological development, for many, inappropriate risk-taking is significantly associated with health and social harm during adolescence and these harms persist well into adulthood. Young people involved in the criminal justice system are a particularly vulnerable group with a greater propensity to take risks that are likely to have long term impact on their future health and wellbeing. The RISKIT-CJS programme is a multi-component intervention encompassing both individual and group work and includes elements of motivational enhancement, psycho-education, psychosocial approaches, cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness. The study is a major multi-centre evaluation of RISKIT-CJS. The methodological approach is a mixed method, prospective, pragmatic randomized controlled trial with individual allocation, combining both quantitative and qualitative evidence. The study will be conducted across three geographical areas; South East England, South London, North East England, covering a diverse socio-economic and ethnic population. Start date: 01/09/2016 End date: 31/08/2019 Funder: NIHR Public Health Research Funding £892,675
Tackling Obesity in Medway
Public Health Collaboration. CHSS has been commissioned to conduct an external evaluation of Medway Public Health Department’s weight management projects. This collaborative project will assess how Medway’s initiatives and programmes could be built on and improved. In 2014 Medway Council hosted an Obesity Summit attended by private, public and voluntary sector partners, to help develop a framework for tackling obesity. Medway Council’s dedicated ‘Supporting Healthy Weight’ team (SHW) works with adults, families, children and young people to help them in achieving healthy weight. Within the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) classification, 23.3% of 4-5 year olds and 32.7% of 10-11 year olds in Medway are overweight or obese. The SHW team provide and commission a diverse range of interventions across Medway to help prevent and manage overweight. These include four MEND programmes (2-4, 5-7, 7-13 and Graduates) and Fit Fix, a programme for 13 – 17 year olds. The team work across the Council to maximise opportunities to support obesity prevention in all aspects of the Council’s work, and in the revised Medway Local Plan. The evaluation will also focus on raising awareness of the SHW portfolio and developing its media profile to get the message out to a wide audience about obesity and public health initiatives in Medway. Start date: 15/01/2015 End date: 14/01/2017 Funder: Medway Council Funding: £67,187 Poster presentation: Evaluability assessments as part of a ‘whole systems approach’ to evaluating Medway Council’s interventions to tackle obesity.
Applied health research, statistics, trial design, mathematical modelling and simulation, model-based meta-analysis, mental health, mindfulnessback to top
My motivation for mentoring
I am enthusiastic and have a genuine interest in other people’s work and research. For me success is about finding inspiration and motivation in my work, aligning with values and interests, and I enjoy helping others to flourish and develop.
My mentoring style
My mentoring style is person-centred and enabling, working with what the mentee brings and their agenda. I am a good listener and practical and grounded, acting as a sounding board and asking questions to prompt new ideas and perspectives. I can support mentees in working through challenges and in problem-solving, helping them to take steps towards fulfilling their goals.
Apply for mentorship
If you would like me to be your mentor, please fill in the mentor application form here.back to top