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The William Harvey Research Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Gemma Pugh

Lecturer, Sports and Exercise Medicine

Centre: Sports and Exercise Medicine




Dr Gemma Pugh is a lecturer in Sports and Exercise Medicine with a primary focus on physical activity promotion and behaviour change. Gemma graduated from The University of Glasgow with a first class degree in Physiology and Sport Science in 2014 before completing her PhD in Behavioural Science at University College London in 2017. During her PhD Gemma carried out a number of studies investigating health behaviour change among Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) cancer survivors. This work led to the development of a habit based behaviour change intervention which is now being piloted among TYA cancer survivors in London. This work is funded by an RM Partners and Cancer Vanguard Pan-London research fellowship.

Gemma teaches and leads student projects on the Sports & Exercise Medicine masters (MSc) and intercalated degree (iBSc). She is module lead for Applied Exercise Physiology (Semester 1) and Exercise medicine & physical activity promotion (Semester 2). She holds on honorary lecturer position at in the department of Behavioural Science & Health at University College London where she contributes towards teaching on the MSc Health Psychology course.

Gemma is working towards a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Academic Practice (PGC-AP) and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).


  • Society of Behavioural Medicine (UK-SBM
  • TYAC
  • Member of National Cancer Research Institute Survivorship sub-group of the TYA Clinical Studies Group
  • Member of National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)  Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration Children and Teenagers / Young Adults (CTYA) core group


  • UCL IMPACT Award (PhD Studentship)
  • RM Partners, UCLH Cancer Collaborative on behalf of the National Cancer Vanguard (Research Fellowship Award)
  • Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rod Flower Vacation Scholarship (Primary Supervisor)





•  Physical activity promotion  •  Exercise medicine  •  Health behaviour change  •  Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivorship


Healthy Habits among TYA Cancer Survivors: Intervention Trial
The aim of this project is to conduct a two-arm pilot randomised controlled trial, exploring the feasibility of delivering a habit based behaviour change intervention to young people with cancer. The outcomes of this pilot trial will include i) acceptability of the main trial components (e.g. recruitment procedures, randomization procedures) to TYACS ii) TYACS engagement with the intervention materials and iii) the feasibility of collecting data high quality data on proposed trial outcomes measures (including measures of health behaviour and well-being) among TYACS post-cancer treatment.

Adolescent and Young Adult Health Behaviour Survey
The primary aim of this study is to understand the health behaviour and lifestyle choices of young people between the age of 13 and 24. Data on the health behaviour and well-being of >600 adolescents and young adults has been collected. This includes data on physical activity, dietary intake, smoking, alcohol consumption and sun exposure behaviours. Data on preference for lifestyle information has also been collected alongside data on use of technology and preference for digital behaviour change support. 

Systematic Reviews
Digital Interventions and E-health platforms for TYA cancer patients and survivors. (Collaboration with Dr Lisa McCann).
Sun exposure and skin cancer screening among cancer survivors (Collaboration with Dr Gill Hubbard).

Evaluation of the RENEW exercise programme for young adult cancer survivors
The RENEW exercise referral programme (delivered by Trekstock a UK based cancer charity supporting young adults in their 20’s and 30’s) offers 12 weeks of 1-2-1 individually tailored exercise support in a community setting. An independent evaluation of the programme, with a focus on internal (effectiveness and reach) and external validity outcomes (adoption, implementation and maintenance) is currently being carried out. 

Evaluation of MEET&MOVE
Ongoing evaluation of Trekstock’s MEET&MOVE event programme is being carried out. MEET&MOVE is a series of one-day education and well-being events designed to inspire and motivate young people with cancer to be active.

Key Publications

  • Pugh, G; Fisher, A; Reynolds, J; Epstone, S. (2019) Trekstock Meet&Move: The impact of one-day health and well-being events for young adults with cancer (In Press)
  • McCann, L and McMillan, K and Pugh, G. (2019) Digital interventions to support adolescents and young adults with cancer : systematic review. JMIR Cancer, 5 (2). e12071. ISSN 2369-1999
  • Pugh. G, Hough. R., Fisher. A (2019) The Health Behaviours of Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors and General Population Controls (e-pub ahead of print) Journal of Supportive Cancer Care 
  • Tan X. L., Pugh G., Humby F., Morrissey D. (2019) Factors associated with physical activity engagement among adults with rheumatoid arthritis: A cross-sectional study. Musculoskeletal care. 17(2):163-173.
  • Fortmann, J., Fisher, A., Hough, R., Gregory, A., & Pugh, G. (2019) Sleep Quality and Disturbances Among Teenage And Young Adult Cancer Survivors  Cancer Nursing. E-Publish Ahead of Print() DOI: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000707,
  • Pugh G., Hough R., Gravestock H., Davies C., Horder R., Fisher A. (2019) The development and user evaluation of health behaviour change resources for teenage and young adult cancer survivors. Research Involvement and Engagement.5(1):9.
  • Pugh, G, Hough, R, Hubbard, G, Banks, E, Fisher, A. Sun exposure among teenage and young adult cancer survivors in the United Kingdom. Pediatr Blood Cancer. (2019); 66:e27424.
  • Fortmann, J., Fisher, A., Hough, R., Gregory, A., & Pugh, G. (2018). Sleep Quality, Fatigue and Quality of Life among Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology 2018 7:4, 465-471
  • Pugh. G., Hough, R., Gravestock, H. L., Haddrell   & Fisher, A. (2017) The Lifestyle Information and Intervention Preferences of Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: A Qualitative Study. Cancer Nursingdoi:10.1097/NCC.0000000000000508
  • Pugh, G., Gravestock, H., Hough, R.,  Williams, K., & Fisher, A. (2017) Lifestyle Advice Provision to Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: The Perspective of Health Professionals in the United Kingdom Supportive Care in Cancer  doi:10.1007/s00520-017-3814-5
  • Pugh. G., Hough, R., Gravestock, H. L., Jackson. S., & Fisher, A. (2017) The Health Behaviour Information Needs and Preferences of Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol   6 (2), 318-326. doi:10.1089/jayao.2016.0089
  • Pugh. G., & McCann. L., (2017) Assessing the Quality, Feasibility, and Efficacy of Electronic Patient Platforms Designed to Support Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: A Systematic Review Protocol JMIR Res Protoc 6(1):e4
  • Pugh, G., Gravestock, H. L., Hough, R. E., King, W. M., Wardle, J., & Fisher, A. (2016). Health Behavior Change Interventions for Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review. J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol 5(2): 91-105.
  • Pugh, G., Gravestock, H., Hough, R., King, W., Wardle, J., & Fisher, A. (2015). The Development Of A Lifestyle Intervention For Teenage And Young Adult Cancer Survivors In The UK: Protocol. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER CARE, 24, 42-43.



  • Dr Abigail Fisher (University College London)
  • Dr Rachael Hough (University College London Hospital)
  • Dr Lisa McCann (University of Strathclyde)
  • Dr Gill Hubbard (University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • CLIC Sargent (Trekstock, Tymewear)