Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Research groups


I gained a BSc (Hons) Experimental Psychology in 2013 and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Bristol in 2018. My thesis investigated the perceptual biases associated with disease avoidance. I have published in the areas of disease avoidance, obesity stigma, prejudice, and the between- and within-group processes of group psychology.

During my PhD, I held two research positions. I worked as a psychology fieldworker in the Children of the 90s project in the first position, conducting various psychological and psychiatric tests, including semi-structured interviews with participants. In the second position, I worked as a research assistant for the Social Research Unit, evaluating a family-based intervention under the Realising Ambitions project.

I have extensive project management experience and a proven track record of delivering outcomes in education and social welfare law (SWL). In education, I worked on the central-government-funded ‘Every Child Matters’ initiative, designing, implementing and evaluating a series of extra-curricular activities for underprivileged children and their families. In SWL, I worked on a BIG Lottery-funded project with partners from the SWL (e.g., Citizens Advice Bureau) and charity sectors (e.g., Age UK, BME North Somerset). During my time, I designed and implemented a series of initiatives to help build infrastructure, capacity and capability to enable vulnerable people to access SWL information and advice. I also produced a series of commissioned reports that included an advice needs analysis of North Somerset and an impact report on an IT provision scheme.

After my PhD, I joined the Data Science team at the Medical Research Council. I helped design and implement the evaluation and assurance frameworks for Health Data Research UK, a flagship institute designed to promote and enable the use of health data science to discover science and improve the health of the population. 

In July 2019, I joined the University of Oxford as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, and I support the Oxford Health Improvement team's work as part of his role.

David Francis Hunt

PhD, BSc (Hons)

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Health Services Researcher focusing on improving patient care in mental health.

Research Profile

My research interests focus on evidence-based approaches to improve healthcare quality, improve patient safety, improve patient and staff outcomes in mental health. In particular, my research focuses on the following themes:

Trauma-informed Practice

Trauma-informed practice – understanding the wide impact of trauma and reducing the risk of re-traumatisation – is an essential component of good mental healthcare. I am currently part of an Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHNFT) Project group and leading drafting a proposal to the Trust’s board for a long-term plan for implementing trauma-informed practices into Oxford Health and linking into the BOB (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire) region. In particular, I’ll present opportunities for simultaneously building the ethos of trauma-informed practices and target areas and research opportunities when it is particularly important.

Psychological Safety in Mental Health

Psychological safety – the extent to which someone feels free to speak up – is essential to optimal patient safety and health and staff well-being and engagement. Working closely with Oxford Healthcare Improvement Centre and OHNFT, I have designed a trust-wide plan to enhance psychological safety.

My research aims to centre on three approaches to operationalising this plan—first, a series of approaches designed to build psychological safety ethos across the Trust. Second, to carry out a series of studies to explore the facilitators and opportunities to enhance psychological safety through qualitative approaches. Finally, to speak evidence-based approaches to enhance psychological safety in targeted situations (e.g., positive risk-taking in clinical decisions).

Peer Support Work in Mental Health

The importance of lived experience and experiential knowledge in recovery-oriented practices in mental is acknowledged both nationally and internationally. Peer support workers (PSWs) – people who have experienced mental health challenges – provide an excellent opportunity to support other people who are receiving mental health treatment.

In supporting OHNFT in the implementation of PSWs, I lead a project designed to explore (i) the role and unique contributions made by PSWs, and (ii) factors related to team readiness and peer support worker implementation into patient care. I use a mixed-methods approach to discuss experiences with PSWs and PSW managers to inform future implementation and maximise their contributions to patient care. I also am a member of the OHNFT Peer Support Governance Group.

Nature-based Practice in Adolescent Psychiatry

Working with Marlborough House in Swindon, I am currently evaluating the implementation and integration of nature-based practices into treatments provided for young people with various mental health issues. Using the Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation Model, I am exploring how Ecopsychology Facilitator Training is implemented into practice and identifying which outcomes can serve as metrics of success in the long-term.

Recent publications

More publications