Dr John Foster RMN, BA Hons, PGHCE, MSc, PhD

Reader, Alcohol Policy and Mental Health Studies

Key details

Dr John Foster

Dr John Foster

Reader, Alcohol Policy and Mental Health Studies

Dr John Foster is a Reader in Alcohol Policy and Mental Health Studies in the Department of Family Care & Mental Health at the University of Greenwich.

John is a registered mental health nurse and was awarded a PhD by the University of London in 2001. 

He joined the university in 2009, as lecturer with a primary focus of interest in the link between mental health and substance use, and is course leader for Problematic Substance Use on the undergraduate programme. He teaches pre-registration nurses, health visitors, accident and emergency nurses and post-registration mental health nurses, as well as evidence-based practice and an introduction to research appraisal to mental health student nurses. He also supervises MPhil/PhD research projects.

He is a Reader with specialist expertise in mental health and addictions, and as a result of research work he has extensive community contacts with partners in NHS Greenwich, Kent and Medway.

In recognition of his expertise he holds a visiting lecturer post at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London.

Posts held previously:

  • 2000-09, Programme Leader, MSc Mental Health Interventions, Middlesex University
  • 2005-09, Chair of Health Studies Sub-Ethics Committee, Middlesex University 
  • 2000, Research Fellow, Social Policy, Middlesex University 
  • 1997-2000, Full-time PhD student, Kings College School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • 1994-96, Research Nurse: Addictions, Kings College School of Medicine and Dentistry 
  • 1992-94, Community Alcohol Worker, Equinox Alcohol Services
  • 1990-92, Residential Alcohol Worker (Detoxification), Equinox Alcohol Services 
  • Pre-1992, Mental health staff nursing posts (various) at Maudsley, Guys and Springfield Hospitals

Responsibilities within the university

  • Reader, Alcohol Policy and Mental Health Studies, Department of Family Care & Mental Health
  • Programme Leader MPhil/PhD Health and Social Care
  • Course leader on Problematic Substance Use
  • Lecturer on pre-registration and post-registration programmes
  • Supervises MPhil/PhD research projects


  • UREC Representative for Departments of Acute and Continuing Care, Social Work and Health Development and Family Care and Mental Health/NMC
  • Visiting lecturer, the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London
  • Editor Drugs Education Prevention and Policy, 2001–present
  • Editor for BMC Public Health, 2012–14
  • Peer reviewer for numerous international alcohol and public health journals, 1998–present
  • Trustee Haringey Alcohol Advisory Group
  • Academic Alcohol Advisory Group, Public Health England
  • Steering Group, Greenwich Alcohol Strategy

Research / Scholarly interests

Dr Foster's main research interests are alcohol and public health, particularly drinking at home; alcohol and risk; alcohol use in young people and the elderly; mental health and substance use; stigma and mental health; and prison health care.

Key funded projects

  •  Health Education North Central and East London: Evaluation of the Trainee Mental Health Worker Programme, 2015
  • South London Health Innovation Network: Raising Alcohol Awareness in Agenda for Change Band 1-4 staff at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, 2014-2015
  • Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC): Joint Action on Reducing Alcohol Related Harm (RAHRA) with Thom B, and Foster JH and a number of EU Partners, 2014-2106
  • NHS Greenwich: Evaluation of a Screening and Brief Intervention package delivered to hazardous drinkers at Accident and Emergency Department, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, 2011-12
  • NHS Greenwich: Have Your Say: Community Engagement in NHS Greenwich, 2012
  • University of Greenwich: Establishing the Psychometric Properties of the Home Drinking in Adults Questionnaire (HADQ), with Corney, R. and Patel, S. 2010–11
  • South East Coastal Communities (SECC) Kent and Medway: Scoping Drug and Alcohol Consumption in Young People on the Isle of Sheppey, with Meerabeau, E., West, E. and Corney, R. 2010–11
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)/NHS Greenwich: Encouraging Public Participation in commissioning health care services, with West, E. 2010–13
  • Alcohol Education and Research Council: Partnerships as a Mechanism for Local Alcohol Policy Implementation, with Thom, B. and Berridge, V. 2009–11
  • Alcohol Education and Research Council, small projects grant: Why do people drink at home? An exploration of perceptions of adult home consumption practices, 2008–09
  • EC grant Public Health Executive Agency (PHEA): Standardising Measurement of Alcohol Related Troubles (SMART), with Thom B., Dawney, M., Ball, S. and partners in Warsaw- led by Jacek Moskalewicz principal applicant- Institute of Psychiatry, and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland. 2008–12
  • Burdett Trust for Nursing: A case study to investigate good healthcare practice in a nurse led prison hospital wing, 2007–08
  • Alcohol Education and Research Council (small projects grant): Local implementation of the Licensing Act 2003, with Thom, B. 2007-08


Foster, J.H., Martin, C. and Patel, S. (2015). The initial measurement structure of the Home Drinking Assessment Scale (HDAS) Drugs Education Prevention and Policy, 22, pp. 410-416.

Foster, J.H. and Ferguson, C. (2014). Alcohol Preloading a review of the literature. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 49, pp. 213-226.

Foster, J.H. and Heyman, B. (2013). Drinking alcohol at Home and in public places and the time framing of risks. Health, Risk and Society, 15, pp. 511-524.

Foster, J.H. (2013). Alcohol and sleep. In: V.R. Preedy, et el, eds., Handbook of nutrition, diet and sleep. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, pp. 340-351.

Foster, J.H. (2013). Alcohol Consumption at Home: The Link between Risk and Time? Health, Risk and Society, 15, pp. 511-524.

Foster, J.H. (2012). Home drinking-Is this the target of the new alcohol strategy? Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy, 19, pp. 372-374.

Foster, J.H. (2012). Help us to engage you. A public engagement event. Report for NHS Greenwich. University of Greenwich.

Foster, J.H., Bell, L. and Jayasinghe, N.R.M. (2012). Care control and collaborative working in a prison hospital wing. Journal of Interprofessional Health, Early Online 1-7.

Papadopoulos, C., Foster, J. and Caldwell, C. (2012). Individualism-collectivism as an explanatory device for mental illness stigma. Community Mental Health Journal, 49(3).

Foster, J.H. and Ferguson, C. (2012). Home Drinking: A key challenge for Public Health. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 47, pp. 355-358.

Barshell, K., Foster, J.H., Meerabeau, E. and West, E. (2011). Scoping Drug and Alcohol Consumption in Young People on the Isle of Sheppey. University of Greenwich.

Jayasinghe, N.R.M., and Foster, J.H. (2011). Deliberate Self Harm/Poisoning, Suicide: Trends and Increasing Alcohol Consumption in Sri Lanka. Archives of Suicide Research, 15, pp. 223-233.

Griffiths, C. A., Ryan, P., and Foster, J. (2011). Antonovsky's sense of coherence theory and mental disorder. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 52, pp. 168-173.

Magee, H. and Foster, J.H. (2011). Peer support in prison health care. An investigation into the listening scheme in one adult male prison. University of Greenwich.

Foster, J.H., Reade, D., Karunanithi, S. and Woodward, V. (2010). Why do adults drink at home? Journal of Public Health, 32, pp. 512-518.

Odro, A., Clancy, C. and Foster, J.H. (2010). Bridging the theory-practice gap in student nurse training: an evaluation of a personal and professional development programme. Mental Health Training Education and Practice, 5, pp. 4-12.