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    Personal profile


    Professor Petra Wark is the Lead of the Research Methods and Evaluation Unit (RMEU) within the Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing. She has a background in nutritional and chronic disease epidemiology, digital health, health services research, applied statistics as well as learning and teaching. 

    She is passionate about using valid, accurate, efficient, and feasible research data collection methods and appropriate data analytical techniques - while keeping focused on the research aim to address the research question. She enjoys working in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary teams, and learning from other disciplines and cultures to enhance her insight, work and methods. She values inclusivity and diversity, and aims for her research to make a real difference to everybody's lives. 

    Her research focuses on the use, development, characteristics and validation of health technologies and outcome measures (e.g. scales, apps, wearables, platforms) for enhancement of wellbeing or disease prevention or management. She focuses on making use of the additional data new technologies provide, the validity of such data, and the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions using new technologies (whilst considering health and wellbeing outcomes). She is also interested in the setting in which such technologies are used, and thereby their practical applications in research, health promotion and health care.

    Examples of her work include leading the validation study of myfood24, a new online dietary assessment tool for the UK; evaluation of a platform supporting dietary change; leading the validation study of new technology for blood pressure measurement and management; and evaluation of platforms for disease management. 

    Earlier in her career, she aimed to gain a better understanding of the causation of chronic diseases by using data of large cohort studies. She did so whilst combining research with a role of MSc course organiser, running several epidemiology and chronic disease modules and co-founding and running a leading short course. 

    Within the Centre for Healthcare and Communities, she supervises PhD, MRes and MSc students, being a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor. She is also an Ethics Lead. 

    Research Interests

    • Interdisciplinary and innovation research projects on health, healthcare, self-management and study conduct
    • Nutritional and chronic disease epidemiology
    • Efficacy and effectiveness of digital, and other new, health technologies in primary and secondary chronic disease prevention; and methodological aspects thereof
    • Validation, evaluation and assessment of diet, lifestyle, wellbeing and health status using new digital technologies (including other aspects of health)
    • Additional insight gained from the additional data that digital health technologies provide, how to make use of the new technologies and embed them in practice

    Vision Statement

    New digital health solutions and technologies emerge daily. Several of these developments are very exciting. They have potential to improve one’s wellbeing or health. Many others are not yet optimal and/or do not meet society’s, the health care system’s or the user’s needs. A technological solution or treatment is also not always the most appropriate.

    It is important to optimise the chances of making a true impact. I believe that technologies should be validated and evaluated throughout their lifecycle, and they should be evidence-based. Sometimes my work starts while the technology is being developed or improved. My work can also start after the technology is being implemented, or when already on the market. Doing so requires insight and methods from several disciplines. I thus collaborate with people from different backgrounds. I also collaborate with industry. 

    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

    Education/Academic qualification

    Postgraduate Certificate, Learning and Teaching, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Sept 20108 Jun 2012

    Award Date: 8 Jun 2012

    Doctorate, PhD in nutritional/molecular epidemiology of cancer, Wageningen University and Research Centre

    May 200016 Jan 2007

    Award Date: 16 Jan 2007

    MSc, Biomedical Health Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen

    1 Sept 199527 Apr 2000

    Award Date: 27 Apr 2000

    Applied Statistics and Biostatistics (15 modules, equivalent to 53 weeks at MSc level), Passed 15 modules (equivalent to 53 full-time weeks) at MSc level , University of Hasselt

    1 Oct 200131 Mar 2003

    External positions

    Honorary Senior Lecturer in eHealth, Imperial College London

    1 Jan 2017 → …

    Assistant Director of Global eHealth Unit, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London

    1 Apr 201431 Dec 2016

    Research Fellow, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London

    5 Jan 200931 Mar 2014

    Research Fellow, Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    15 Oct 200531 Dec 2008


    • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
    • digital health
    • mHealth
    • wellbeing
    • prevention
    • chronic disease
    • validation
    • evaluation
    • diet
    • lifestyle
    • physical activity
    • epidemiology
    • study design
    • data analysis
    • technology
    • apps
    • wearables
    • dietary assessment
    • interdisciplinary
    • transdisciplinary
    • quantitative research
    • applied statistics
    • observational studies
    • Health Services Research
    • health inequality
    • diversity
    • scales


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