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Dr Marie Polley

Dr. Marie Polley is  Senior Research Fellow at University College London as well as the Co-Founder and past Co-Chair of the Social Prescribing Network, the past Chair of the British Society for Integrative Oncology and Director of Marie Polley Consultancy Ltd. Marie trained as a biomedical scientist and has a PhD in molecular carcinogenesis. Marie also trained in Usui Reiki whilst completing her PhD and has practised as an Usui Reiki Master for many years.

After completing her PhD, Marie was a postdoctoral research fellow at Imperial college researching the epigenetic activation of the oestrogen receptor. Marie then left Imperial College to work at Breast Cancer Haven and develop good practice in evaluating the impact of integrative approaches to support people with Breast Cancer. Through this work Marie collaborated with Dr Helen Seers and Dr Charlotte Paterson on validating Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW®) in the integrative cancer setting and developing the use of MYCaW® in new cohorts.

Marie went on to research and teach about approaches to integrating different paradigms of health and wellbeing, in her role as Senior Lecturer in Health Sciences and Research at the University of Westminster for 14 years. Whilst at the University of Westminster Marie co-founded and co-chaired the Social Prescribing Network and led a social movement around the use of non-medical activities to support people’s wider determinants of health. Within 3 years of setting up the Social Prescribing Network, social prescribing was adopted by the NHS in England to provide additional routes of support to traditional pharmaceutical prescribing.

Marie led the academic team to write the first national guidance for social prescribing, the first economic overview of social prescribing on health service usage and continues to write extensively on social prescribing and how to develop inclusive ways of researching and evaluating the impact of social prescribing. Marie provides strategic advice to senior leaders, Members of Parliament and the House of Lords, key stakeholders, researchers and organisations developing and promoting personalised and holistic services.

Marie is an honorary Reader at the Institute of Connected Communities, University of East London and is honorary Senior Research Fellow at University College London.

Marie is a Lay Leader of Worship and a voluntary youth worker for her local church, loves getting out in nature and when near the sea will willingly jump on a surfboard and (attempt to) catch some waves.