Rachel Moran

Rachel Moran | Ampersand Health

Rachel Moran

Upon completion of my Psychology BSc at the University of Birmingham, I didn't necessarily think I would be nominated for an award in technology 2 years later.

Psychology is a subject I love, however, the clinical route seemed a little long and I felt driven to get out there to begin making a positive impact in the world. I found the UCL MSc in Behaviour Change, a unique masters blending behavioural science, health psychology and the methods of how to make impactful real-world behaviour change interventions. Now, it makes so much sense that I work in digital health - delivering behaviour change interventions through a digital device, of which some 80% of adults in the UK own and use daily. Tech, in this health context, enables us to offer access to expert-led behaviour change courses to people that have previously felt somewhat alone living with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.

I currently work in a highly interdisciplinary manner alongside lifestyle and wellbeing subject matter experts, our app development team and design and user experience lead. I translate the latest research and insights from behavioural science and the wider health psychology evidence base into all of the work we do to develop our digital solution. I primarily focus on designing our app-delivered 'Lifestyle and Wellbeing Courses' for those living with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. These courses are designed to help patients manage their conditions, enhancing their quality of life.

Driving individual behaviour change at the most basic level is a challenge in itself and when set within the context of an inflammatory health condition the challenge heightens. Furthermore, encouraging daily practice of lifestyle behaviours (e.g. exercise, stress-management etc.) through a smartphone application in a way that engages the patient, is a third dimension that requires me to go beyond the academic fundamentals of behaviour change and to immerse myself in understanding the patient’s world and long term engagement behaviour with digital interventions.

For successful lifestyle change to occur, strategies for habit formation and maintenance must be considered - arguably the most challenging aspect of behaviour change. Within my work, I am currently working on an engagement strategy to keep our users engaged with our interventions, so they can benefit from the health and wellbeing benefits long term.

I enjoy that my role combines patient-facing interaction (through research workshops/interviews and management of our patient-facing social media channels), subject-matter expert collaboration and application of behavioural science within the context of tech.