Although a lifelong resident of the City of Derby, Stephen currently works as an Associate Professor in the Sociology of Health at De Montfort University in Leicester. He is also a member of the University’s Board of Governors and a DMU Teacher Fellow. Since returning to education in 1995 as a “mature learner”, Stephen went on to successfully secure a BA (Hons) First class degree in Sociology from the University of Derby. In 2000, he subsequently moved to the University of Warwick to complete his PhD in Sociology, the focus of which was Irish Catholic death and mourning rituals. Whilst there, he took up the post of Research Fellow working on a ground-breaking project which employed and trained 28 local residents from the City of Coventry as community researchers, each of whom became the “eyes” and “ears” of their respective neighbourhoods as part of an effort to narrow, what was at the time, significant social and health inequalities gaps in the City. It was this project, in particular, which served as the key catalyst for what became a successful career in teaching health and social care within Higher Education. In March 2017, he was appointed to the Derbyshire Police and Crime Panel.
Stephen has been a Board member of Healthwatch Derby since its existence and is currently Vice-Chair. Not surprisingly given his “day job”, he is extremely passionate about all aspects of health and social care and, in particular, service user engagement and involvement and has published widely in the field. As such, he sees his role with Healthwatch as a privileged opportunity to act as an advocate, ambassador and visionary in helping determine the strategic direction, practice and approaches to the way in which health and social care are both delivered and received in the City of Derby.