Katrina Wyatt

Katrina Wyatt

Dr Katrina Wyatt is an Associate Professor within the University of Exeter Medical School whose work on the development of complex interventions has helped enable people living in disadvantaged areas in the South West to transform their communities. Her research centres around understanding transformational change in health and social care communities. It has informed, for example, the development of the Connecting Communities Programme (C2) which is now being taken up across the UK in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation to address so called ‘wicked problems’, such as health inequalities, ensuring solutions to local issues are determined by the communities themselves.

Katrina leads the Healthy Lifestyles Programme, a £1.35million NIHR funded study for preventing obesity involving 1300 children in 32 schools. She also helped secure the Exeter Catalyst project, which supports public engagement in research at the University.

One of her proudest professional achievements to date, she says, has been “Working with the wonderful Folk.us people to create a culture of meaningful service user, patient and carer involvement in health research across Devon.” This work helped to create a platform for patient and public involvement across all PenCLAHRC activities and, as Katrina explains, “has become ‘the way we research’ within the Institute for Health Research in the Medical School.” She adds: “We believe that working in this way delivers the best research outcomes for us as well as having the potential to make a difference to people and communities we work with.”

Rather than singling out any one person as a role model, Katrina says she draws daily inspiration “from the women I work with, my daughters, mother and sister and wonderful friends – they are my role models for work and play.”

Reflecting on the themes behind International Women’s Day, she said: “Everyone benefits from an equal society – no one should be prevented from participating because of their ethnicity, socioeconomic status or gender.”

Many things bring Katrina joy, including her family, friends, sunny days, the South West coastal path and – last but not least – a tomato crop which isn’t affected by blight. Her advice to others is to ‘raise expectations’, adding: “No one ever made a difference by making do.”