Dr E Joanna Alexjuk (PhD)

Lecturer - Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Science

  • University of Edinburgh
  • British Society of Gerontology
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Contact details



Room 1M.8, Doorway 6, Medical Quad, Teviot Place

Post code


  • Please note that my working days within HiSS are Tuesday and Thursday.


I am a Lecturer, Researcher and Writer of educational resource materials with over 25 years’ experience of working within the field of healthcare not only within academia, but also within the health, statutory, private and voluntary sectors.

Currently, I specialize in the teaching of courses relating to health management topics and disability at undergraduate (UG) level within the Department of Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Science (CPASS), School of Health and Social Science (HiSS). I also supervise students undertaking (UG) and post graduate dissertations within the department, as well as on-campus and online PhD students undertaking health-related topics of research. 

I am an active Personal Tutor for CPASS students, as well as international visiting students who join us each semester. In addition, I am the Co-ordinator of Adjustments within HiSS to ensure that students living with disabilities do not experience disadvantages during their learning journey, as well as being also Co-Lead of the Ethics, Research and Integrity Committee (REC) for CPASS and member of the HiSS REC.

In recent years I have been nominated for six teaching awards: Personal Tutor and Teacher of the Year by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA), and nominated by colleagues for three College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science (CAHSS) awards: the Prof Susan Manning award for Inspiring Mentor; Excellence in Leadership and Exceptional Team. In 2020 I received the Edinburgh Teaching Award (EdTA) and gained Fellowship status of the Higher Education Academy. I am currently working towards Senior Fellowship status.

Following on from gaining an MSc in Dementia Studies (Distinction), at the University of Stirling, my research interests predominately relates to healthcare. My doctoral research entitled: The journey from dementia diagnosis to family bereavement - the fluctuating perceptions of self of family caregivers of people with dementia, was completed at the University of Edinburgh in  2018. I am a founding member of the Edinburgh Centre for Research on the Experience of Dementia (ECRED) and whilst undertaking my academic role my research has included the co-authorship of a number of qualitative research articles / report / book chapter (as specialist commentator), as well as presenting at international conferences. My broader research interests encompass topics relating to compassion and empathy, as well as health management and disability. 

Out-with my work within HiSS, I was also External Examiner and Progression and Awards Board Examiner for health-related undergraduate and postgraduate programmes/courses at the University of West Scotland from 2014 - 2018. Since 2014 - 2022 I undertook the role of Treasurer of the British Society of Gerontology (BSG, Scotland) and in January 2023 I became Co-ordinator of the BSG, Scotland.

I have also previously undertake independent consultancy training and project evaluation for UK based organisations such as Dementia UK, Gateshead Local Authority and SEARCH Newcastle. Prior to entering academia I worked for the Alzheimer’s Society (England) as a Project Manager and National Trainer for more than 12 years.


Undergraduate teaching

  • Course organiser: Health Management and Management in Health (MA Health in Social Science Programme)
  • Course organiser: Introduction to Disability Studies (MA Health in Social Science Programme)
  • Dementia related aspects of health 
  • School Co-ordinator of Adjustments for students with disabilities
  • Co-Lead of the CPASS Ethics, Research and Integrity Committee
  • Personal tutor (9 students) 



Postgraduate teaching

Dissertation supervisor: MSc Counselling and Psychotherapy (8 students)

PhD supervisor: Health in Social Science (6 students)


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation students, as well as PhD students.

Current PhD students supervised

  • PhD research (6 students)
  • Dissertation supervisor: MSc Counselling and Psychotherapy (8 students)
  • Dissertation supervisor: MScR Health Arts and Humanities (1 student)

Past PhD students supervised

  • MA Health in Social Science (Dissertation students 12)
  • MSc in Dementia Experience, Policy and Practice ( Dissertation students 8)
  • Personal tutor for 23 UG students

Research summary

Research Interests

  • Pedagogical approaches to compassion and empathy in work and life (2021 - 2022)
  • Pedagogical approaches to teaching about empathy in practice (2018)
  • Healthbridge Project - an evaluation of part of the National Dementia Strategy for England (2010 - 2012)


  • Principal Teaching Award - University of Edinburgh cross college award relating to empathy in practice for students within dementia studies / nursing / veterinary programmes (2018)
  • Small grant secured from the Department of Health to evaluate the "Remember Me Dementia Care" training pack, authored by myself (Northumbria University, 2007)
  • Northern Rock Foundation grant to cover all overhead costs for rolling programme of befriending services for people with dementia and their carers. (2004-2007)

Research activity

I have a wealth of experience in the dementia field, not only as a dementia care practitioner, but also as a course tutor on the MSc in Dementia Studies at the University of Stirling and more recently as a part time doctoral student.

My PhD research relates to exploring the emotive aspects of anticipatory grief, loss and bereavement experienced by carers of people with dementia throughout their 'journey' of care.

  • Research Associate: Give and Take: Information use and Self-Management in Dementia Care project at Northumbria University, part of NHS NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Programme. (May 2010 to Feb 2011)
  • National Trainer: Alzheimer's Society, England (2003-2009)
  • Committee member: North Tyneside Palliative Care Working Group. (2006-2008)
  • Project Coordinator: Alzheimer's Society, North Tyneside Branch, England. (1997-2006)
  • Branch Trustee (Voluntary capacity) - Cruse Bereavement Care, Tyneside. (1997-2006)

Current research interests

Pedagogical approaches to compassion and empathy in work and life Theoretical approaches to disability and health Grief and loss in dementia care

Past research interests

Online informal dementia adviser/friend and co-writer of person-centred dementia care information and training material.  Alzheimer's Association Iran (2007). Online informal dementia adviser and supporter of the Goan branch of the Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (2003 - to date). Informal adviser of mental health programmes relating to elders, women and children within the Indian administrative state of Kashmir.  Human Effort for Love and Peace Kashmir, India (2003 - to date)

Affiliated research centres

View all 5 publications on Research Explorer

Invited speaker

  • University of Ostrava, Czech. Republic (December 2019)
  • Dementia  Network (Sweden, 2018)
  • Dementia Policy and Practice: Alzheimer’s and Related Disorder Society of India, Kolkata, (2017)
  • International Carers Conference (Gothenburg, 2017)
  • Teaching About Empathy in Practice. HEA Liverpool (July 2017)
  • PhD research (oral presentation): Linköping University, Norrköping, (September 2016)
  • PhD research (oral presentation) The 6th International Carers Conference, Gothenburg (September 2015)
  • Keynote Dementia Friendly Communities: Goa Medical College, Goa University, India (March 2015)
  • PhD research The British Society of Gerontology, Newcastle (July 2015)
  • Innovations in Online Reflexive Practice: Linking Theory with Technique within the Virtual Learning Environment (presentation): Online Learning Network, UoE  (July 2014)
  • Innovations in Online Reflexive Practice: Linking Theory with Technique within the Virtual Learning Environment  (oral and poster presentation): Higher Education Academy, Birmingham (June 2014)
  • Keynote - Dementia Friendly Communities, Chang Gung University and Taiwanese Minister for Health, Taiwan (October 2014)


Dementia: Experience and Health in the UK (British Society of Gerontology, Scotland, 2016) 

Papers delivered

  • University of Ostrava (Czech Republic, 2019) - Grief, loss and bereavement in dementia care [Invited lecturer]
  • Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society (Kolkata, 2018) - Dementia, a Scottish perspective
  • Dementia  Network (Sweden, 2018) - The fluctuating perceptions of self of family carers of people living with dementia
  • International Carers Conference (Gothenburg, 2017)
  • Goa Medical College (India, 2015) The journey from dementia diagnosis to final bereavment of family carers of people living with dementia