Dr Shepherd is Research Associate for Global Health at the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences.

Tom completed a Psychology and Criminology Dual Honours BSc at Keele University in 2007 before completing a MSc in Research Methods, for which he received a Distinction award.

Dr Shepherd completed a PhD in neuropsychology with a thesis; ‘Exploring the effect of dopaminergic medication on recognition memory in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease: trials and challenges’. His doctoral work had two main objectives, firstly to use a series of randomised controlled trials to compare the effects of different dopamine agonists on memory and mood in Parkinson’s disease, and secondly to explore barriers to participation in clinical trials for both patients with Parkinson’s and caregivers.

Tom has been a Teaching Fellow in the School of psychology at Keele where he taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses covering theoretical and research methods modules (quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and techniques for analysis). During this period, he also worked as an international Lecturer at Ludong University, Yantai, China.

After a year as a Clinical Study Co-ordinator at Keele Clinical Trials Unit, Dr Shepherd moved to the Mental Health research theme in the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences, before joining the new Global Health research programme in February 2017.

In his current role, Dr Shepherd has transitioned into global public health and has since secured funding from the Newton Fund, the Medical Research Council (MRC), Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) School for Primary Care (SPCR) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and has developed collaborative research networks in Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Kenya, Brazil and Singapore.

Research and scholarship

Dr Shepherd has research interests around the identification and management of musculoskeletal conditions, mental health disorders and co-morbidity in marginalised populations, such as those in low to middle income countries. Tom also has an interest in the medical education curricula in developing countries, particularly relating to the training of primary care physicians.

Tom has a strong methodological background with expertise in randomised controlled trials, epidemiology, statistics and has extensive experience in the use of qualitative methodologies.

Tom is passionate about the inclusion of patient public involvement groups in the development of appropriate and clinically relevant research questions and is strongly supportive of interdisciplinary research collaborations.

Tom’s current projects are:

Global Health

  • Adolescent mental health, substance abuse and pain in a post conflict  region of Sri Lanka (Newton Fund).
  • Supervised treatment for outpatients with Schizophrenia (STOPS+) (Medical Research Council – Global Alliance for Chronic Disease).
  • Establishing a child and adolescent twin registry in Sri Lanka (Medical Research Council - pump-priming award).
  • Transforming Primary Healthcare in the Philippines: An innovative Pilot Postgraduate Professional Development Program for Primary Physicians in the Province of Northern Samar (iPRIME) (Newton Fund).
  • Stories Of public health through Local Art-based Community Engagement (SOLACE) (Arts and Humanities Research Council/Medical Research Council Global Partnership joint award).
  • NIHR Global Health Unit: Slum Health (Warwick).
  • Illness perceptions of patients with type 2 diabetes with and without depression in Sri Lanka (Diabetes and Depression – Sri Lanka).
  • Community based interventions for children with autism in low to middle income countries.
  • Developing synchronous Problem Based Learning between Keele and Boticatu for global public health.


  • General Practitioner and Nurse Practitioner awareness of Female Genital Mutilation in the West Midlands
  • Illness perceptions of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with and without depression (Diabetes and Depression) (School of Primary Care Research)
  • Rheumatological and Inflammatory conditions as risk factors for self-harm: a retrospective cohort study (School for Primary Care)
  • Forum for Research into Rural and Health and Wellbeing (FRRESH) (Keele Innovation Award) 

Tom currently supervises

  • Buddhika Fernando (PhD, School for Primary Care)
  • Asiri Hewemelage (Sri Lankan Ministry of Health)


Tom has been a Teaching Fellow in the School of Psychology at Keele and has a diverse range of teaching experience. He has given lecturers and seminars across a range of topics as well as leading research methods teaching (quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis techniques). Tom has also facilitated Problem Based Learning in years 1 and 2 of the undergraduate medicine programme.