Prof Shula Ramon

Emeritus Professor

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Education & Social Care

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Psychology , Social Work and Social Policy

Shula works primarily as a researcher and supervisor, focusing on community mental health for adults of working age with long term mental ill health. Applying participatory action research framework, she aims to enhance their potential abilities.


Trained as a social worker and clinical psychologist, Shula combines an interest in individuals, communities, and their social context. Most of her research focuses on community mental health and more recently on the new meaning of recovery for adults of working age. Comparative research, primarily European, is another strand of her research work, as well as participatory action research.

Shula is active in Indosow, the European social work PhD enrichment programme, and committed to involving service users as trainers and co-researchers. Researching the impact of political conflict on social work and media representation complete her background.

Research interests

  • Shared decision-making in mental health
  • Empower through participatory action research vulnerable and marginalised groups (domestic violence towards women, young LGBT adults)
  • Media representation of social work, social work clients and social problems
  • The impact of political and armed conflict on social workers.

The unifying element in her research interest is the wish to carry out research that engages the participants, treating them as experts in experience, and attempting to empower them through participatory action research. 
The impact of the strength approach developed first by social work researchers has led her to invest in having people who use health and social care services as trainers and co-researchers.

Learning from comparative contexts is an important strand of her research work.

Shula’s autobiographical background led her to be interested in political, armed, conflicts, a decade before it became a troubling social issue in the UK.

Areas of research supervision

  • She has seen 27 PhD dissertations to successful completion.
  • Most of her PhD students were part-time, working alongside their PhD as health and social care practitioners or academics.

Topics include:

  • the exploration of shared decision-making in relation to psychiatric medication (examined by an international expert in the field of recovery, and appointed as a lecturer in psychology at ARU)
  • researching success in parental mental health and child care; success in safeguarding children – this is a neglected area of considerable research, training, and practice implications in social work and in the UK
  • introducing carers to the mental health recovery approach by a PhD student who uses mental health services herself
  • researching recovery in the context of personality disorder from the perspectives of people with this diagnosis and their carers
  • political awareness of young people

Shula tends to work with other colleagues as co-supervisors whose expertise compliments hers either in methodology and/or research area.


Shula contributes to teaching in areas of her expertise, mainly to MA and PhD students. The topics include qualitative research methodology, participatory action research, shared decision-making in mental health, recovery research, the strength approach, understanding and intervening in the context of domestic violence, empowering young LGBT adults.


  • BA in social Work, The Hebrew University
  • BA in Psychology and Sociology, Bar Ilan University
  • MA in Clinical Psychology, Bar Ilan University
  • PhD in Social Administration, University of Birmingham
  • Online course in research ethics of human subjects, Royal Holloway University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Associated Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • Registered social worker, the HCPC
  • Member of the British Association of Social Workers
  • Recovery Research Network, e-bulletin editor
  • Editorial board, International Journal of Psychiatry
  • Editorial board, International Social Work

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Research since 2005

  • EMILIA: life long learning for users of mental health services, EU framework 6, 2005-2010, consultant, responsible for qualitative methodology aspects. 3,450,000 euro
  • Invited Distinguished Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, LaTrobe University, Melbourne, July-August 2005
  • Research dissemination: developing a website funded by the International Association of Schools of Social Work on Social Work and Political Conflict (with Jane Lindsay, Kingston University) ( 2005-2006 funded by the IASSW $4000
  • (DEMoB.Inc) Development of a European Measure of Best Practice for People with Long Term Mental Illness in Institutional Care, EU framework 6, 2007-2010 member of the advisory group.
  • ReFocus: NIHR programme grant on recovery from mental illness. Co-ordinated by Dr. Mike Slade, Institute of Psychiatry. Co-lead. 2009-2914. £2,000,000
  • Turning the Care Programme Approach into a recovery tool: NIHR RfPB grant. Co-ordinated by Dr. Toby Brandon, Northumbria University, Newcastle. Co-lead, responsible for evaluation. 2010-2013 £241.000
  • Training service users as co-researchers on motivation for employment. Project co-ordinated by Dr.  Caterina Corbascio, Nizza Monferatto, Italy. Consultant to the project. 2009-2011. 6,000 euro
  • Service users as auditors. Co-ordinated by Dr. Caterina Corbascio, Asti, Italy. National project funded by the Italian CNR. Consultant to the project, responsible for training the service users. 2011-2012. 10,000 euro
  • Shared decision making in psychiatric medication management. Principal Investigator and project manager, funded by the Research for Benefit for Patients (RfPB), NIHR, NHS, UK, 2011-2014. £250,000
  • Empower Women and Providers: Domestic Violence and Mental Health. EU Daphne Projects funding stream (3rd of 82 funded projects). Principal Investigator. Led by the University of Hertfordshire, in partnership with universities and practice agencies in England, Greece, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. 2011-2013. 326.000 euro
  • Curriculum Development Project: MsC in Recovery and Social Inclusion, funded by Erasmus Lifelong Learning EU Stream, Project manager, led by the University of Hertfordshire in partnership with the New University of Lisbon (Department of Psychiatry), Pedagogical Academy in Warsaw, Poland, University of Turin (Health Psychology) and Asti Mental Health Services. 2012-2015. 300.00 euro
  • Empower young people stigmatised by homophobia. EU Daphne funding stream, senior researcher for the UH partner and responsible for the project evaluation. Project led by Dr.Luca Rolle, Dep.of Health Psychology, the University of Turin, Italy 2013-2015. 800.000 euro
  • Media representation of social work, social work clients, and social problem. With colleagues from Italy and Germany. With the involvement of MSc social work students in the three countries. Initial funding by the IASSW 2014-2015. $4000
  • Turning the regime in closed mental health inpatients units to a recovery regime: an introduction and an evaluation. Consultant, Metro South, Brisbane, Australia. July  2014 and August 2015

Selected recent publications


Ryan, P., Ramon, S., Greacen, T. (ed) (2012) Recovery, Empowerment and Lifelong Learning: Towards a New Paradigm. Palgrave MacMillan

French edition: Pour des usagers de la psychiatrie aceteurs de leur propre vie. Paris Les Editions Eres.

Ramon, S. Zavirsek, D. (ed) (2012) Social Work in the Context of Armed Conflict. Special issue of International Social Work. International Social Work, September.

Papers in peer revised journals

Baum, N. Ramon, S.  (2010) Professional Growth in Turbulent Times. Journal of Social Work,  13, 163-182. 

Ramon, S. Urek, M., Ryan, P. (2010) Attempting to mainstream ethnicity in a multi-country EU mental health and social inclusion project: lessons for social work. European Journal of Social Work,  vol. 13, 2, 163-182.

Ramon, S., Griffths, C. Nieminen, I., Pederson, M.L., Dawson, I. (2010) Towards Social Inclusion in Lifelong Learning in Mental Health: The Emilia Project. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 53, 2 on line

Ramon, S. Ethical Issues in Mental Health Social Work. (2010) In: Barker, P. (ed) Ethical Issues in Mental Health. London: Routledge.  

Ramon, S. (2011) Organisational Change in the Context of Recovery Oriented Services. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice: Issue for Workforce Development, 6, 1, 37-45. Awarded best paper of the year.

Tew, J., Ramon, S., Slade, M., Bird, V., Melton, J., Le Boutillier, C. (2012) Social Factors and Recovery from Mental Health Difficulties: A Review of the Evidence. British Journal of Social Work, 42, 443-460. 

Fox, J., Ramon, S. (2010-2011) Recovery: Bringing Service Users In. In: Carson, J. (ed) Special Issue on Recovery, Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 14(3) 10-22.

Shears, J. Ramon, S. (2012) Peer Support Workers: A Critical Analysis of an Innovation in Mental Health. Dialogue in Praxis, 1, 1-2, 71-87.

This article appears also in Slovenian:

Shears, J.. Ramon, S. (2012) Vrstniske Podporne Delavke in Delavci  Socialno Delo Letnik 51, 103-114.

Ramon, S. Magljlic, R. A. (2012) Social Work, Political Conflict and Displacement. In:

Lyons, K. et al (ed) The International Handbook of Social Work. London: Sage. 

Kaminskiy, E., Ramon, S., Morant, N. (2013) Exploring shared decision making for psychiatric medication management. In: Walker, S. (ed) Modern Mental Health Practice - Critical Voices. London: Critical Publishing, 39-55.

Castillo, H., Ramon, S. Morant, N. (2013) A Recovery Journey for People with Personality Disorder. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 59, 3, 264-277.

Duffy, J., Ramon, S., Guru, S., Cemlyn, S., Lindsay, J., Shwartz-Nutman, O.  (2013)

Opportunities and Challenges in Developing a Social Work Curriculum on Political Conflict. European Journal of Social Work

Shera, W., Ramon, S. (2013) Challenges in the Implementation of Recovery-Oriented

Mental Health Policies and Services: A Comparison of Developments in England and Canada. International Journal of Mental Health, 42, 2-3, 17-42.

Ramon, S. Hantman, S., Gutman, C. Anghel, R. (2014) Involving service users as a methodology of transforming social work education and practice. In: Matthies, A.L., (ed) Participation and Marginalisation in Social Work Education. Aldershort, Ashgate Publishing, 255-276.

Recent presentations and conferences

Public and Patients involvement in health and social care. Keynote paper given to the study day on involvement in social work, School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 29 December 2014.

Shared decision making and the strength approach: relevance to mental health social work. International Mental Health Social Work Conference, Cochin, India, 11 December 2014.

Outcomes of introducing shared decision making in the management of psychiatric medication. Invited paper, Department of Psychiatry, Didero University, Paris, 2 December 2014.

The process of shared decision making in psychiatric medication management. Invited paper, Royal College of Mental Health Pharmacists, 8 November 2014.

Media Representation of social work: The Rotherham affair. ERIS conference, 13 October 2014.

Introducing shared decision making in mental health. Invited presentation, North West AMHP network, 11 July 2014.

Outcomes and process of Shared Decision Making in Psychiatric Medication Management, leading a plenary session. Refocus International Conference, 2-3 June 2014, London.

Shared decision making in psychiatric medication management: key findings. Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, 19 March, 2014

Empowering through Shared Decision Making. Paper given at Enter, Warsaw, 26 August 2013.

Living and working within an armed conflict context. Paper given at the conference on Humanitarian Aid and Social Work, University of Durham, 22-23 August, 2013.

Shared decision making in psychiatric medication management Plenary session opening and paper on ShIMME at the ILMHA (International Law and Mental Health Academy) Conference, Amsterdam, July 19 2013.

Shared decision making in psychiatric medication management. Seminar given at PRCH, (programme recovery community health centre) Yale University, 28 June 2013.

The challenges of implementing recovery practice: the UK case. Paper presented at the 7 International Conference on Health and Mental Health Social Work, 26 June 2013

Turning the CPA to a Recovery Tool. Paper presented at the 7 International Conference on Health and Mental Health Social Work, 24 June 2013, University of California, Los Angeles

Refugees, IDPs and Resettlement. Seminar given at the Alice Salomon School of Social Work, Berlin, May 24 2013.

Media Representation of Social Work: symposium lead and paper presenter on Media Representation of Social Work in the UK. ECSWR (European Conference of Social Work Research), Bolzano, 14 April 2013. With colleagues from Germany and Italy.

Evaluation of the EU Daphne Project Empowering Women and Providers: Domestic Violence and Mental Health. Final Conference, University of Turin, 14 January 2013.