Dr Rachel Erskine


Programme Leader MA Health & Wellbeing


Rachel’s clinical nursing career started in 1995 after completing a four-year honours degree in adult nursing. She worked in renal nursing including in acute and community care, then moved full-time into community nursing with latter part of her clinical career working as a practice nurse within rural general practice in the Outer Hebrides. In the late 1990s an opportunity arose to study her PhD whilst combining practice nursing as well as teaching on the face-to-face BA Health Studies programme as it was at the time. Successful completion of Rachel’s PhD took place in 2005 as the first PhD graduate from what was then, Lews Castle College. Since then, Rachel has been Programme Leader for the MA Health & Wellbeing, the Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality Improvement and several CPD awards and she also continues to teach at the undergraduate level on several programmes. Rachel’s research interests include mental health and remote and rural health care and works with colleagues in UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI’s Division of Rural Health & Wellbeing.

Research interests

  • The epidemiology of common mental disorders (depressive episodes, anxiety states, alcohol & substance misuse, dementia, learning disability and autistic spectrum disorders) within the remote & rural areas of Scotland
  • The social and cultural associates and determinants of common mental health disorders as presented in the remote & rural communities of Scotland, with reference to issues of social inclusion/ exclusion and health inequalities

External interests, member of associations, advisor 

Member of:

Research Projects

  • 2022 - 2023 Exploring Rural Community Mental Health Needs and Solutions through a Modified Delphi Method
  • 2020 - 2022 Understanding the Experience of the Covid-19 Pandemic for Residents with Long Term Conditions, Their Families, Carers and Community Support Organisations in Remote And Rural Areas of the Highlands and Islands
  • 2016 – 2017 AMOSSHE UHI Mental Health Toolkit
  • 2012 - 2013 Northern Periphery Project NHS Western Isles arm of Recruit & Retain: Developing Solutions, Products and Services to Address Recruitment and Retention Issues in Remote and Rural Areas of the Northern Periphery Programme Area.
  • 2010 - 2012 Raising the Health and Wellbeing of Pupils at Tolsta Primary School: Testing the Efficacy of a Cost-Effective Model Designed to improve Health and Wellbeing of School-Aged Children.
  • 2005 Depressive Symptoms in Ischaemic Heart Disease in the Western Isles of Scotland. PhD thesis UHI 

Research Supervision

  • Supervisor for: Hereward Proops (2022) The Nature of Co-Constructed Play in Tabletop Role-Playing Games and the Building of Positive Group Relationships in Both Physical and Online Spaces
  • Supervisor for: Amy Nimegeer (2011) Effectively Engaging Remote Communities for Health Care Service Design. PhD thesis UHI

Journal Publications

Erskine, R. MacPhail, E. (2015) Addressing the Needs of Academic Staff in Supporting Students with Mental Health Conditions in Online Programmes at a Distributed University. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice. 3, (1), pp. 122-127 10.14297/jpaap.v3i1.150

Teft, G. McCulloch, K. MacRury, S. Tearse, R. Leslie, I. (2007) Online education for diabetes healthcare professionals. Journal of Diabetes Nursing. 11, (2), pp. 59-62.

Conference Presentation

Davies, G. Tearse, R. (2012) Raising the Health and Wellbeing of Primary School Aged Children in the Western Isles. UHI Research Conference Mapping the Past and Charting the Future Presentation. Thursday 8th November, UHI, Inverness.

Conference Publications

Davies, G. Tearse, R. (2012) Raising the Health and Wellbeing of Primary School Aged Children in the Western Isles. UHI Research Conference Mapping the Past and Charting the Future Programme and Information. UHI, Inverness.