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Debbie’s current role involves the development, implementation and evaluation of tobacco dependence treatment initiatives for people with mental health conditions and/or use substances, and training interventions for staff who work in these services.  

Debbie joined the IoPPN in 2002 having previously worked as a community mental health health nurse. Earlier research and teaching activities included evaluating medication management interventions for staff and service users, improving physical health and wellbeing of people with psychosis. Debbie completed her MSc and PhD in Health Service and Population Research at King’s. Her PhD thesis was a mixed methods study of the development and evaluation of a smoking cessation intervention for people with schizophrenia.

She developed a bespoke e-learning course on tobacco dependence treatment in mental health settings, in collaboration with South London and Maudsley (SLAM). The course has been completed by over 1000 staff and is currently being redesigned and updated in line with the current evidence base.

Debbie is a member of NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South London and leads a programme of research about evaluating tobacco dependence treatment pathways in local acute and mental health services.

She is also a member of SPECTRUM, a multi-university, multi-agency research consortium focused on the commercial determinants of health and health inequalities.

Research Interests

  • Smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction for people with mental health conditions and/or use substances. 
  • Education and training about tobacco harm reduction for staff working in mental health and substance use settings 
  • Implementation and evaluation of smoke-free polices and tobacco dependence treatment in hospital settings 
  • Use of e-cigarettes among people with mental health conditions and/or use substances


Debbie teaches nicotine pharmacology and the basis for treatment on the MSc in Addictions. She also teaches advanced skills practice in the management of tobacco dependence in mental health and substance use settings and has developed online training to support this. 

Expertise and Public Engagement

Debbie is a Trustee of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and a member of Smoking and Mental Health Partnership.