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UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care
Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health

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Aleksandra Herbec

Research Interests 

  • eHealth/mHealth and digital interventions 
  • Development and evaluation
  • Behaviour Change 
  • Smoking Cessation and Tobacco control 
  • Medication and treatment adherence 
  • Epidemiology and prevention of CVD
  • Quantitative and qualitative research

Current Research 

My research focuses on development and mixed-methods evaluation of novel, theory-informed and evidence-based complex smartphone interventions for health behaviour change and smoking cessation. As part of my PhD I am working on three complementary projects on novel smartphone apps. The first project was conducted in collaboration with Bupa and evaluated BupaQuit app that focused on craving management. The second project involved development and evaluation of a novel app intervention for adherence to over the counter nicotine replacement therapy as part of a quit attempt (www.nrt2quit.co.uk). Finally, I am working on creating an app that will link with personal carbon monoxide monitors to assist smokers with monitoring and reducing the harm from smoking. All projects involve qualitative and quantitative methods. To better understand the need and targets for the digital interventions I develop, I am also conducting research on population-based and patient data on smoking and cessation behaviour, including use of medications and e-cigarettes.

Biography

Aleksandra is a psychologist and mixed-methods researcher, specialising in health psychology, digital health, public health and tobacco control. Between 2007-2011 she studied towards MA (Hon) in Psychology at University of Glasgow (First Class), during which she spent a year studying psychology at University of California Berkley. In 2011 Aleksandra graduated with Distinction in MSc Health Psychology at University College London, and in 2013 she started a 4-year PhD programme at UCL funded by British Heart Foundation. Aleksandra’s work at UCL has been supervised by Prof Robert West and Dr Lion Shahab. As part of her PhD training she spent time as a Visiting Fellow working with Prof Nancy Rigotti and her team at Massachusetts General Hospital Boston. To date Aleksandra has been leading work on several pilot and randomized controlled trials of digital cessation interventions, including programmes supporting quitting in pregnancy, craving management, adherence to stop smoking medications, and harm reduction aided by personal carbon monoxide monitors.

Appointments 

  • Visiting Fellow, Partners Healthcare, Division of Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA (September – December 2016)
  • British Heart Foundation 4-year PhD Student, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London (September 2013 – Present 2017)
  • Consultant at “Health Promotion” Foundation, Poland (March 2009 –present)
  • Researcher at Bupa Digital (June 2014 –  April 2016)
  • Assistant to a Clinical Psychologist, Eastman Dental Hospital (October 2012 – March 2013)
  • Research Assistant at UCL (November 2011–  September 2013) 

Qualifications

  • MSc Health Psychology (September 2011  –  September 2012)
  • MA (Hons) Psychology  (September 2007  –  June 2011) 

Publications

  • Zatoński, M. & Herbeć, A. (2016). Are mass media campaigns effective in reducing drinking and driving? Systematic review – an update. J Health Inequal, 2 (1): 52–60.
  • Herbec, A. (2015). Development and evaluation of a stop smoking app focused on adherence to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT2Quit). Talk at a workshop “What works in digital health technologies - bridging the disciplinary divide”. University of Glasgow.
  • Zatoński, W. A., Sulkowska, U., Zatoński, M. Z., Herbec, A. A., & Muszyńska, M. M. (2015). Alcohol taxation and premature mortality in Europe. The Lancet, 385(9974), 1181.
  • Herbec, A., Kauppi, J. P., Jola, C., Tohka, J., & Pollick, F. E. (2015). Differences in fMRI intersubject correlation while viewing unedited and edited videos of dance performance. Cortex, 71, 341-348.
  • Tombor, I., Shahab, L., Herbec, A., Neale, J., Michie, S., & West, R. (2015). Smoker identity and its potential role in young adults’ smoking behavior: A meta-ethnography. Health Psychology, 34(10), 992.
  • Herbec, A., Brown, J., Tombor, I., Michie, S., & West, R. (2014). Pilot randomized controlled trial of an internet-based smoking cessation intervention for pregnant smokers (‘MumsQuit’). Drug and alcohol dependence, 140, 130-136.
  • Herbec, A., Beard, E., Brown, J., Gardner, B., Tombor, I., & West, R. (2014). The needs and preferences of pregnant smokers regarding tailored Internet-based smoking cessation interventions: a qualitative interview study. BMC public health, 14(1), 1.
  • Herbec, A., Brown, J. & West, R. (2014). Non-daily smoking in England – addressing common misconceptions. Smoking in Britain, 2, 4.
  • Raupach, T., Brown, J., Herbec, A., Brose, L. & West, R. (2013). A systematic review of studies assessing the association between adherence smoking cessation medication and treatment success. Addiction. 109: 35–43. doi: 10.1111/add.12319. 
  • Herbec, A. (2014). Electronic cigarettes – lessons from the UK. Oral presentation: Tobacco or Health Conference, Wroclaw, Poland. November.