Personal profile


Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology. 


After completing my PhD at the University of St Andrews I spent two years as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.  I returned to the UK in 2005 to take up a research fellowship funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates at the University of Aberdeen.  I moved to Aston University on an RCUK Academic Research Fellowship in 2008.  In January 2013 I took up my current post at the University of Manchester.

I was an adviser with the NIHR Research Design Service from January 2013 to the service's termination in March 2024.

Research interests

Experiences of, and psychological preparation for, medical procedures

I am interested in how people experience medical procedures such as surgery, and how we might be able to prepare and support people throughout the process.  This includes considering how to support individuals who are deciding whether or not to undergo procedures, and how to ensure that experiences of medical procedures and post-procedure recovery are optimised.

Current research areas include experiences of prehabilitation physical activity interventions in patients undergoing cancer surgery, experiences of shoulder replacement surgery and decision-making in people offered bone conduction hearing implants. I led a Cochrane systematic review 'Psychological preparation and postoperative outcomes for adults undergoing surgery under general anaesthesia' and I have worked (either as principal investigator or collaborator) on projects investigating risk factors for chronic pain after surgery and preparation for MRI scanning.

I am also interested in understanding acceptability of trials of medical interventions: I am currently leading the qualitative arm of a feasibility study comparing two types of hip joint replacement implants.

Behaviour change

Recently, I have collaborated on projects researching acceptability of physical activity interventions in older adults, including a project evaluating interventions aimed at increasing physical activity in older adults across Greater Manchester.  I have also recently collaborated on a project aiming to enhance dental hygiene in stroke survivors and a systematic review investigating the effectiveness of social norms interventions for health professional behaviour change.

Recent funded projects

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (Smith, Lievesley, O’Malley, Powell, Tyrrell, Westoby, Whitehead, Zadik, Brocklehurst). Development and refinement of a STroke friendly Oral health Promoting (STOP) toolkit to improve oral self-care practices after discharge from hospital stroke services. £135,088.00. 2017-19.

NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research Programme (Cotterill, Powell, Rhodes, Brown) The impact of social influence interventions on clinical behaviour change among health professionals: a systematic review. £150,080.40. 2018-19.

Greater Sport (French, Todd, Boulton, Powell). Greater Manchester Active Ageing Evaluation. £80,000. 2018-20.

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit. (Board, Divecha, Powell, Glyn-Jones, Psareli, Ghaneh, Lee, Panchani, Wylde, Jones). Feasibility study for comparative trial of hybrid or cemented implants for total hip replacement: HIPHoP (HIP replacement with Hybrid Or cemented implants: Patient reported outcomes) £272,285. 2019-21.

Greater Manchester Cancer (Grantholder & CI: Powell. Co-investigators: Moore, Merchant, French, Rowlinson-Groves). GM Cancer Prehab4Cancer and Recovery Programme: Evaluation of acceptability.  £28,206. 2020.

NIHR Health Technology Assessment (Trail, Dias, Page, McDaid, Hewitt, Singh, Camacho, Watts, Powell, Kirwan, Martindale, Sutton, Geoghegan, Foster, Walton, Greenwood, Parkes). Reverse or Anatomical (replacement) for Painful Shoulder Osteoarthritis: Differences between Interventions (RAPSODI).  £2,129,041.18. 2022-27.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Registered as a Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council

Chartered Psychologist (BPS)

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Full member of the BPS Division of Health Psychology

Member of the European Health Psychology Society

Member of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine (General Secretary 2007-2011)

Methodological knowledge



Systematic reviewing


PhD (Psychology) 2003. University of St Andrews.

MSc (Health Services and Public Health Research) 2006. University of Aberdeen.

BSc Hons (Psychology) 1999. University of St Andrews.

PGCert (Professional Practice in Higher Education) 2012. Aston University.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Dive into the research topics where Rachael Powell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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