Ruth Simms-Ellis

Ruth joined the Quality and Safety Research group in April 2017 as the Theme Manager for ‘Evidence based transformation with the NHS’. Part of the NIHR’s ‘Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care’, Yorkshire and Humber, this theme encompasses multiple research projects, all with the same aim: to ensure that when people receive care in hospital or the community, that care is safe and focussed.

Ruth is a psychologist with over 20 years’ experience of working in the field of occupational health psychology. As a trainer and organisational consultant she has collaborated with diverse organisations to help them reduce stress, build resilience and enhance team functioning, through individual coaching, team workshops, Management Development Programmes and Human Resources support. Ruth has also worked extensively with people exposed to traumatic events. In the financial services industry, she supported teams involved in armed robberies and developed a national anticipatory anxiety programme to boost team resilience in the event of a robbery. As a clinician, she worked in the Ministry Defence’s Department of Clinical Psychology, assessing and treating military personnel with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Prior to joining the team, Ruth was a researcher at the University of Leeds. In the School of Psychology she managed a large cluster randomised controlled trial testing a complex intervention to reduce smoking initiation in adolescents. At the Psychological Therapies Research Centre, Ruth worked on a national survey of counsellors working in primary care. She also evaluated mechanisms of change resulting from a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme for staff.

Ruth has a BSc (1st hons) Psychology from the University of Leeds and an MSc Occupational Psychology (distinction) from the University of Leicester. Her current PhD at the University of Leeds investigates the role of interpersonal and social influence in the retention of cluster sites in longitudinal research. Having lectured for six years on ‘the Nature and Treatment of Psychological Disorders’, as part of a Mature Access to Higher Education programme, Ruth now guest lectures on the School of Psychology’s BSc Psychology programme (‘Occupational Health Psychology’ module) and MSc Psychological Approaches to Health (‘Understanding, Predicting and Changing Health Behaviours’ module).

Conner, M., Grogan, S., Lawton, R., Armitage, C., West, R., Siddiqi, K., Gannon, B., Torgerson,C., Flett, K., Simms-Ellis, R. (2013) Study protocol: A cluster randomised controlled trial of implementation intentions to reduce smoking initiation in adolescents. BMC Public Health, 13:54.. Available from

Mellor-Clark J, Simms-Ellis R, Burton M. National survey of counsellors working in primary care: evidence for growing professionalisation?. Occas Pap R Coll Gen Pract. 2001; (79):vi-7.

Simms-Ellis R, Madill A. Financial services employees’ experience of peer-led and clinician-led critical incident stress debriefing following armed robberies.. Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2001; 3 (4):219-228.

Left out in the cold: Line managers’ experiences of supporting staff with mental health issues at work. Short paper, British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) conference. Chester, UK, January 2013.