Karen Whittaker

Senior Lecturer

School of Community Health and Midwifery

Brook Building, BB432

+44 (0) 1772 89 3786

Karen completed her doctoral study at King’s College, London supported by a DH Research Training Fellowship Award. Her thesis was a realistic evaluation of how parents experience the process of formal parenting support. With a professional background in health visiting she continues to research the topic of parenting and the ways in which services can be designed to support family needs.

Karen is a member of Families, Children and Life Transitions.

Full Profile

She is the academic supervisor for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project externally funded by a government Technology Strategy Board organization and East Lancashire NHS. This work is concerned with developing a model of accident prevention from an existing childhood scheme. This work is enabling her to develop continued expertise in the use of a realist methodology.

Karen is an honorary member of the parenting special interest group for the CPHVA. She currently sits on the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners (NAPP) Research and Training Reference group on behalf of the CPHVA and is a member of the CPHVA research advisory forum. Locally she is chair of the advisory board for Preston East Children’s Centre. She peer reviews papers submitted to the Journal of Clinical Nursing and the Community Practitioner Journal. She has regularly presented research papers at the CPHVA annual professional conference as well as other research specific national and international conferences.

As a senior lecturer within the Children, Family and Community Health Division, her primary teaching responsibilities are for the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) BSc and PGDip educational courses.


Whittaker K. A. Cornthwaite, S. (2000) Benefits for all: outcomes from a positive parenting evaluation study. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing. 4(4):189-197.

Whittaker K. (2002) Lay workers for improving the uptake of childhood immunization. British Journal of Community Nursing. 7(9):474-479.

Carey, L. Whittaker, K. (2002) Students’ experiences of problem-based learning: issues for community specialist practitioner students. Nurse Education Today. 22:661-668.

Whittaker K. Cowley S. (2003) Parenting Support: where does it fit with public health roles Community Practitioner. 76(3):100-103.

More publications

External Activities

Karen is a peer reviewer for the Community Practitioner Journal, an external examiner for Sheffield Hallam University (Health Visiting programme), a member of the UKPHA1 , CPHVA, Parenting UK and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also sits on a local Sure Start Children Centre advisory board. She was invited to participate in the review of the National Occupational Standards for Parenting and has been consulted on the standards being prepared by the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners. She has acted as reviewed a number of research grant proposals for: Scottish Executive, Hert Net, Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust and ZonMW – a research funding body in the Netherlands.

Karen prepared a report on behalf of the CPHVA 2 as a professional submission for the NICE review of parenting programmes. [Whittaker, K. Bidmead, C. Cowley, S. Adams, C. (2004) A professional submission, on behalf of the CPHVA, to NICE for the appraisal of the clinical and cost effectiveness of parent-training/educational programmes for the treatment of conduct disorders in children.]

Karen also co-authored a publication for the CPHVA for lobbying the party political conferences in September 2004: Bidmead, C. Whittaker, K. (2004) Positive Parenting a Public Health Priority. London, CPHVA Books.

UK Public Health Association

Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association


Recently Completed

Title: Transferring Accident Prevention Experiences (TAPE)
Funding: Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with East Lancashire NHS
Amount: £91,000

Title: BwD Early Start Programme: an evaluation partnership
Funding: NHS Blackburn with Darwen (BwD)
Amount: £2,606

Title: An exploration of parenting self-efficacy and social living experiences for those participating with a positive parenting service.
Funding Source: NHSE North West R & D Training Fellowship award
Amount: £40,910.
Also supported by Preston PCT: Amount: £4100
Completed Nov 2007

Title: An Intensive Parenting Support Service: a review of parent’s views
Funding Source: Local authority funding
Amount: £20,000
Completed July 2009

Title: Adolescent & Parent Experiences (APE) Parenting Media Study
Funding: Supported by UCLan funded Internship
Completed August 2009