Dr Gemma Hurst

Course Director

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

I was awarded my PhD from Staffordshire University (supervised by Professor Sarah Grogan, Associate Professor Christopher Gidlow and Professor David Clark-Carter) in 2013, which examined physical activity behaviour change interventions. Subsequently, I completed a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology in 2015. In 2009, I was employed as a Research Officer at Staffordshire University and worked on a number of projects, which included investigating community development approaches to health improvement (‘My Health Matters’) and exploring the links between exposure to natural outdoor environments and human health and well-being across Europe (www.phenotype.eu). I was appointed Lecturer in Psychology in 2015 and in 2017 I became the Co-Director of the MSc in Health Psychology.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Chartered Psychologist

  • Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Division of Health Psychology

  • Health and Care Professions Council Registered Practitioner Psychologist (Health Psychologist)

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Academic qualifications

PgC Research Supervision (2016), Staffordshire University
Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology (2015), Staffordshire University
PhD Health Psychology - Evaluation of a Behaviour Change Intervention (2013), Staffordshire University
PgC Higher Professional Education (2009), Staffordshire University
PgC Research Methods (2009), Staffordshire University
MSc (Hons) Health Psychology (2006), Staffordshire University
BSc (Hons) Psychology (2005), University of Durham


My areas of expertise are in the evaluation of health promotion programmes using mixed methods and the social and environmental determinants of health.

Research interests

My research interests cover a number of areas including: the evaluation of health promotion programs using both quantitative and qualitative research methods; reducing health inequalities through community-led interventions and partnership working; the social and environmental determinants of health; and understanding the positive health effects of different environments.

Example Research Projects;

  • Physical Activity Insight Reports – Leader researcher on a SASSOT funded project exploring the provision of physical activity in areas in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, 2015.

  • PHENOTYPE – Post-doctoral research officer on the European FP7 funded PHENOTYPE project investigating the positive health effects of the natural environment.

  • My Health Matters – Lead researcher on an NHS Stoke-on-Trent and Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) funded project evaluating the use of community-led interventions to reduce health inequalities relating to physical activity and healthy eating, 2009-2012.

  • Community Health Education in Stoke-on-Trent (CHEST) Project Evaluation – Lead Researcher on the Evaluation of the CHEST project funded by the Worker’s Education Association (WEA), 2010.

  • Walk to Beijing Programme Evaluation – Lead researcher on the evaluation of a physical activity programme in Sandwell, West Midlands. Funded by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and Sandwell PCT, 2007-2009.



  • Course Co-Director MSc Health Psychology (Core Issues in Health Psychology (Module Leader); Applications of Health Psychology; Psychology Research Methods; Dissertation)
  • Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology (Consultancy Skills)


  • Foundations of Psychology (Level 4)
  • Perspectives in Psychology (Level 4)
  • Understanding the Social World (Level 5)
  • Cognitive and Biological Determinants of Behaviour (Level 5)
  • Contemporary Issues in Psychology (Level 5)
  • Health Psychology (Level 6)



  • MSc Health Psychology Dissertation Supervision
  • Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology Student Supervision
  • PhD Student Supervision


  • Level 6 Project Supervision
  • Personal Tutor for Level 4, 5 and 6 students


Triguero-Mas, M., Donaire-Gonzalez, D., Seto, E., Valentín, A., Smith, G., Martínez, D., Hurst, G., & Martínez-Íñiguez, T. (2017). Living Close to Natural Outdoor Environments in Four European Cities: Adults’ Contact with the Environments and Physical Activity. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(10), 1162.

Triguero-Mas, M., Donaire-Gonzalez, D., Seto, E., Valentín, A., Martínez, D., Smith, G., Hurst, G., et al. (2017). Natural outdoor environments and mental health: Stress as a possible mechanism. Environmental Research, 159, 629-638.

Zijlema, W.L., Triguero-Mas, M., Smith, G., Cirach, M., Martinez, D., Dadvand, P., Gascon, M., Jones, M., Gidlow, C., Hurst, G. and Masterson, D., (2017). The relationship between natural outdoor environments and cognitive functioning and its mediators. Environmental Research, 155, 268-275.

Triguero-Mas, M., Gidlow, C.J., Martínez, D., de Bont, J., Carrasco-Turigas, G., Martínez-Íñiguez, T., Hurst, G., Masterson, D., Donaire-Gonzalez, D., Seto, E. & Jones, M.V., (2017). The effect of randomised exposure to different types of natural outdoor environments compared to exposure to an urban environment on people with indications of psychological distress in Catalonia. PloS one, 12(3), e0172200.

Ruijsbroek, A., Droomers, M., Kruize, H., van Kempen, E., Gidlow, C.J., Hurst, G., Andrusaityte, S., Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J., Maas, J., Hardyns, W. & Stronks, K., (2017). Does the Health Impact of Exposure to Neighbourhood Green Space Differ between Population Groups? An Explorative Study in Four European Cities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(6), 618.

Gidlow, C. J., Jones, M. V., Hurst, G., Masterson, D., Clark-Carter, D., Tarvainen, M. P., & Nieuwenhuijsen, M. (2016). Where to put your best foot forward: Psycho-physiological responses to walking in natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 45, 22-29.

Van den Berg, M., van Poppel, M., van Kamp, I., Andrusaityte, S., Balseviciene, B., Cirach, M., Danileviciute, A., Ellis, N., Hurst, G., Masterson, D. & Smith, G., (2016). Visiting green space is associated with mental health and vitality: A cross-sectional study in four European cities. Health & Place, 38, 8-15.

Davey, R. C., Hurst, G. L., Smith, G. R., Grogan, S. C., & Kurth, J. (2011). The impact and process of a community-led intervention on reducing environmental inequalities related to physical activity and healthy eating-a pilot study. BMC Public Health, 11(1), 697.

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021