Dr Gina Marie Awoko Higginbottom MBE, PhD, M/A, Postgradip (Ed Studies), RN, RM, RHVis Emeritus Professor of Ethnicity and Community Health. She is a qualified nurse, midwife and health visitor and her clinical career as a nurse spans 22 years. Prof Higginbottom is an alumna of the Nottingham School of Nursing and completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield. She is a registered nurse in England and Canada. Prof Higginbottom is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, a Canada Research Chair (renewed, a recognition of research excellence by peers), a Nursing Research Scholar of the Smith and Nephew Foundation, a Mary Seacole Leadership Award holder and her PhD was supported by a prestigious National Primary Care Research Fellowship, Gina was the first health visitor to receive this award. In 1998 she was awarded an MBE for services to young people and Health Promotion. 

She is Visiting Professor at University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada and has held Visiting Professorships at the University of Sao Paolo, Riberao Preto, Brazil, the University of California Davis and the University of Pennsylvania, the United States, the University of Almeria, Spain and at the University of Karolinska, Stockholm, Sweden. Her international networks and collaborations are extensive via virtue of her grant acquisition and research trainee supervision and includes links with Canada, Brazil, the US, Ghana, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Pakistan, and South Africa. Gina has supervised 11 international postdoctoral fellows (from Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand) and 4 PhD students to conclusion (Dr Barolia, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Dr Boadu, International Research Development Council, Canada, Dr Jalal Safipur, Linuaeus University, Sweden and Dr Brummell, Sheffield Hallam University). A central goal in her research endeavors is building research capacity in ethnicity and health research. She strives to facilitate a superlative training environment and has co-authored extensively with research trainees.

Formerly, a non-executive director of Sheffield Health Authority, a committee member of the Sheffield Health and Care Consortium and the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association. Prof Higginbottom has participated in research review panels for many national funding agencies in the UK and Canada. Her close affiliation with the International Institute of Qualitative Methodologies (IIQM) as a board member enabled her chairing of the Advances in Qualitative Methodologies conference and co-chairmanship of Qualitative Health Research conference. Prof Higginbottom is a member of the executive group of the International Collaborations in Community Health Care Nursing and Research (ICCHNR) co-chairing the 2011 conference in Edmonton, Canada and contributing to planning for the 2013 conference in Edinburgh, Scotland and the 2015 conference in Seoul, Korea.

Prof Higginbottom holds a substantive publication record and her Sage Publications text book ‘Participatory Qualitative Research Methodologies in Health’ demonstrates her commitment to participatory models of research. 

Expertise Summary

Gina’s research portfolio focuses on ethnic minority populations and immigrant health using participatory models of research. She particularly focuses on the broad issue of social exclusion and equity in health care, lay understandings of health and illness, chronic disease management in primary care, self-care strategies, the cultural congruence of health care services, access and utilization of health care services, and ethnic and cultural diversity in care giving.

A second and major theme in her research portfolio has focused on international migration and maternity, including parenting issues, early parenthood and postnatal depression in different ethnic minority groups, and experiences of diverse ethno-cultural groups during access to and navigation of maternal healthcare services.

Methodological expertise includes qualitative and mixed-methodology research genres and systematic reviews using a narrative synthesis approach. Prof Higginbottom is a trainer for ATLAS.ti (www.atlas.com) qualitative data analysis software package..

Teaching Summary

Gina holds a professional teaching qualification and her teaching embraces both her clinical background ground and academic interests of ethnicity and health, primary health care/community nursing.

Research Summary

Principal Investigator:

2017-2018 Interventions that improve maternity care and access for immigrant women in England: a narrative synthesis systematic review, with Morgan M (Co-I, King’s College), Evans C (Co-I, University of Nottingham), Bharj K (Co-I, University of Leeds) National Institute for Health Research [NIHR].

2012-2017 Optimizing food choices and practices in the perinatal period for immigrant women, with Etowa J (U of Ottawa), Vallianatos H (Co-I), and Shankar J (Co-I, U of Calgary). (Canadian Institute for Health Research [CIHR] Operating Grant, $288,000).

2013-2016 Immigrant women’s experience of postpartum depression in Canada: a narrative synthesis, with Morgan M (King’s College, London, UK), O’Mahony J (University of Calgary), Chiu Y (Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative, Edmonton), Alexandre M (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), Kocay D (Public Health Agency of Canada), Young M and Forgeron J (Alberta Health Services), CIHR Knowledge Synthesis grant, $96,594. 


2017-2018 Improving Care for Women and Girls who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Qualitative Evidence Synthesis with Dr C Evans PI Funders: NIHR


2015-2018 External advisor: eMERGE – developing meta-ethnography reporting guidelines. Prof Jane Noyes et al (National Institute for Health Research)

Selected Publications

HIGGINBOTTOM GMA, VALLIANATOS H, SHANKAR J, SAFIPOUR J and DAVY C, 2017. Immigrant womens food choices in pregnancy: Perspectives from women of Chinese origin in Canada Ethnicity and Health.

HIGGINBOTTOM, G, EVANS, C, MORGAN, M, BHARJ, K, ELDRIDGE, J and HUSSAIN, B, 2017. Interventions that improve maternity care for immigrant women in the UK: Protocol for a narrative synthesis systematic review BMJ Open. 7, e016988

HIGGINBOTTOM GMA, SAFIPOUR J, O’BRIEN B, MUMTAZ Z, PATON P, CHIU Y and BAROLIA R, 2016. An ethnographic investigation of maternity healthcare experience of immigrants in rural and urban Alberta, Canada: DOI: 10.1186/s12884-015-0773-z BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.

ROCHA DE CARVALHO LEITE, J and HIGGINBOTTOM, GMA, 2017. Doulas in Canada: A scoping review Canadian Journal of Midwifery Research.

Visit Prof Gina Higginbottom’s website