Sarah McMullen

Title: Developing a culturally adapted intervention to improve cognitive functioning in British South Asians with dementia.

PhD summary

The World Health Organisation states, ‘Dementia is a global public health challenge’ it is a progressive disease with no cure. Non-pharmacological interventions such as Cognitive Stimulation Therapy and Reminiscence Therapy are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to support individuals living with dementia. However the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not allow all individuals living with dementia to benefit from these interventions. 

There is a need for culturally appropriate and acceptable interventions for the ethnic minority community in the UK. The top five spoken languages in England and Wales are dominated by South Asian languages. Important risk factors for dementia such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease (including blood pressure, hypertension) are more prevalent in the South Asian community in comparison with the white population. These risk factors increase the susceptibility of South Asians developing dementia however South Asians have been neglected in dementia research. 

The project is focused on the Urdu speaking British South Asian population. According to the Office of National Statistics, Urdu is the fourth most spoken language in the UK.  The aim of the project is to select and culturally adapt the appropriate treatment (Cognitive Stimulation Therapy or Reminiscence Therapy) for Urdu speaking British South Asians with dementia using previously conducted systematic reviews and qualitative methods.


April 2019 - March 2020 (MPhil)



Institution name

The University of Manchester


Discipline area

Mental health.


I graduated from the University of York in 2017 with a BA (Hons) in Criminology and an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2018. 

My research career has always been focused on vulnerable and marginalised groups within different ethnic minority populations. I am currently an MPhil student in the Centre of Primary Care and Health Services Research. Alongside my MPhil I am also a divisional PGR rep for Population Health, Health Services  Research and Primary Care and a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Medical Sciences.

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