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

Reader Alcohol Policy and Mental Health Studies

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. He was the PhD Programme Leader (Health and Social Care) from 2012-2020. He teaches research methods across all student groups from pre-registration nurses to supervising PhD students and sitting on a number of faculty research degrees committees. He is a Reader with specialist expertise in mental health and addictions, and as a result of research work, he has extensive community contacts. He is the academic advisor to the Greenwich Alcohol Strategy Delivery Group. His work with CGL Stockton on Tees was instrumental in the setting up of new services to target service users who have previously avoided substance use services.

He has been an editor for Drugs Education Prevention and Policy from 2003 to the present day.

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

Dr Foster is

  • the co-leader of the Unit of Assessment 3 for the Research Excellence Framework 2020/21- Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy.
  • the Acting Deputy Head of Research – School of Health Sciences.
  • From 2012-2020 he was the PhD programme leader – Health and Social Care.
  • Currently a member of the Research Degrees Committees for the Faculty of Education, Health and Human Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences (external representative)


  • Member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Member of Society for Study of Addictions
  • Member of the European Society for Prevention Research
  • Editor Drug Education Prevention and Policy since 2003
  • Editor- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Member: Society for Study of Addiction
  • Member: European Society for Prevention Research
  • Member: International Society for Addiction Journal Editors: Diversity
  • Working Group. · Reviewer: National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)
  • Reviewer – European Union Funding Schemes
  • Reviewer- Alcohol Change/Alcohol Research UK

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. He has the been advising the London Borough of Greenwich on the delivery of their alcohol and drugs policy. In consequence he sits on the Alcohol Strategy Delivery Group as the academic advisor. He spoke at the inaugural meeting of the South East London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership – Alcohol Harms and post COVID he will take a key role in tackling at-risk drinking across South London.

He had a key supporting role in Change Grow Live’s (CGL)- Stockton on Tees successful tender in 2019. One of the products of this work has been a new service targeting at-risk drinkers and non-opiate users called “Healthy Habits". Another product is a guided self-help booklet (hard copy or web-based) that at-risk drinkers and non-opiate users can also look at to their own convenience alongside a number of existing health promotion apps under the heading of “break free online.”

He is currently conducting an evaluation for Bexley Health Neighbourhood Care/Clinical Commissioning Group/Training Hub of the digital apprenticeship scheme which aims to promote greater confidence in the use of information technology in primary care.

Key funded projects

  • Bexley Health Neighbourhood Care/Clinical Commissioning Group/Training Hub: Evaluation of the Digital support technician apprenticeship pilot: Sept 2020-March 2022.
  • Transforming Systems: Keep + Knowledge Exchange Partnership. WaitLess- Next Generation. May 2019-Jan 2020. ·
  • 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, 2014-2016
  • 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
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)/NHS Greenwich: Encouraging Public Participation in commissioning health care services, with West, E. 2010–13
  • 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

Recent publications


Tinker, Claire , Boswell, Graham, Foster, John (2023), How paramedics apply the spinal immobilisation algorithm in trauma patients. Mark Allen (MA) Healthcare. In: , , , . Mark Allen (MA) Healthcare, Journal of Paramedic Practice, 15 (5) . pp. 196-203 ISSN: 1759-1376 (Print), 2041-9457 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2023.15.5.196).

Foster, John and , Rankin, Sandra (2022), Self-reported sleep during the COVID lockdown in a sample of UK university students and staff. MDPI. In: , , , . MDPI, Healthcare, 10: 2083 (10) . pp. 1-10 2227-9032 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10102083).

Nicholls, Liz , Markowski, Marianne, Foster, John (2022), Hiring apprentices in practices to boost digital access, efficiency and access new funding. Cogora. In: , , , . Cogora, Pulse, Management in practice (doi: https://pulse-intelligence.co.uk/guide/hiring-apprentices-in-practices-to-boost-digital-access-and-access-new-funding%ef%bf%bc/#:~:text=Hiring%20apprentices%20in%20practices%20to%20boost%20digital%20services,Liz%20Nicholls%2C%20Marianne%20Markowski%20and%20John%20Foster%20explain).

el-Guebaly, Nady , Foster, John, Bahji, Anees, Hellman, Matilda (2022), The critical role of peer reviewers: challenges and future steps. Sage. In: , , , . Sage, Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 40 (1) . pp. 14-21 ISSN: 1455-0725 (Print), 1458-6126 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/14550725221092862).

Cane, Tam Chipawe , Newton, Paul, Foster, John (2022), Understanding women’s help-seeking for problematic and unhealthy alcohol use through the lens of complexity theory. Emerald. In: , , , . Emerald, Advances in Dual Diagnosis, 15 (2) . pp. 119-139 ISSN: 1757-0972 (Print), 2042-8324 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-12-2021-0019).

Foster, John , Davis, Josh P., Martin, Colin, University of Suffolk (2021), Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown period: predictors of at-risk drinking at different AUDIT-C cut-off thresholds. MDPI. In: , , , . MDPI, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18: 13042 (24) 1660-4601 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413042).

Canfield, Martha , Foster, John H., Chandler, Valerie (2020), Home drinking in women over 30 years of age: Findings from an internet survey in England. Taylor and Francis. In: , , , . Taylor and Francis, Journal of Substance Use, 26 (4) . pp. 376-382 ISSN: 1465-9891 (Print), 1475-9942 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14659891.2020.1838638).

Foster, John and , Patel, Swatee (2019), Prevalence of simultaneous use of alcohol and prescription medication in older adults: Findings from a cross-sectional survey (Health Survey for England 2013). BMJ Publishing Group. In: , , , . BMJ Publishing Group, BMJ Open, 9: e023730 . pp. 1-9 ISSN: 0959-8138 (Print), 1756-1833 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023730) NB Item availability restricted.

Osborn, Kirsty , Davis, Josh, Button, Susan, Foster, John (2018), Juror decision making in acquaintance and marital rape: The influence of clothing, alcohol and pre-existing stereotypical attitudes. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36 (5-6) . pp. NP2675-NP2696 ISSN: 0886-2605 (Print), 1552-6518 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260518768566).

Bunyan, M. , Crowley, J., Smedley, N., Mutti, M-F. , Cashen, A. , Thompson, T. , Foster, J. (2017), Feasibility of training nurses in motivational interviewing to improve patient experience in mental health rehabilitation: A pilot study. Wiley-Blackwell. In: , , , . Wiley-Blackwell, Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 24 (4) . pp. 221-231 ISSN: 1351-0126 (Print), 1365-2850 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jpm.12382).

Foster, John and , Canfield Martha (2017), Predictors of hazardous drinking among home drinkers. Taylor and Francis. In: , , , . Taylor and Francis, Journal of Substance Use, 22 (6) . pp. 637-642 ISSN: 1465-9891 (Print), 1475-9942 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14659891.2017.1296040).

Foster, John and , (2016), The health challenges behind alcohol. Cogora Limited. In: , , , . Cogora Limited, Nursing in Practice: 10 (93) ISSN: 1473-9445 (Print), (doi: http://www.nursinginpractice.com/article/health-challenges-behind-alcohol).

Book section

Foster, John and , Thom, Betsy (2022), Older drinkers: alcohol consumption, drinking context and “successful ageing". Palgrave Macmillan. In: , , In: Thomas Thurnell-Read, Laura Fenton (eds.), Alcohol, Age, Generation, and the Lifecourse. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland (1st) . pp. 297-323 . ISBN: 9783031040160; 9783031040177 (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-04017-7_13) NB Item availability restricted.

Shahul-Hameed, Manju , Foster, John, Finnerty, Gina, Pentaris, Panagiotis (2021), Impact of Covid-19 on mental health and associated losses. Routledge - CRC Press Taylor & Francis. In: , , In: Panagiotis Pentaris (ed.), Death, Grief and Loss in the Context of COVID-19. Routledge - CRC Press Taylor & Francis, London, Brighton, and Abingdon (1st) . pp. 160-177 . ISBN: 9780367647322 (doi: https://www.routledge.com/Death-Grief-and-Loss-in-the-Context-of-COVID-19/Pentaris/p/book/9780367647322).


Foster, John and , Markowski, Marianne (2024), Evaluation of the implementation of Educator Burnout Initiatives in London. University of Greenwich - Greenwich University Enterprises Limited (GUE Ltd.). In: , , , . University of Greenwich - Greenwich University Enterprises Limited (GUE Ltd.), London (1st) (doi: ).

Markowski, Marianne and , Foster, John (2022), Evaluation of the digital support technician apprenticeship scheme as currently implemented by Bexley Training Hub. NHS Trust South East London, Clinical Commissioning Group. In: , , , . NHS Trust South East London, Clinical Commissioning Group, London (1st) (doi: ).

Markowski, Marianne and , Foster, John (2021), Evaluation of the digital support technician apprenticeship scheme as currently implemented by the Bexley training hub. The University of Greenwich. In: , , , . The University of Greenwich, London, UK (1st) (doi: https://docs.gre.ac.uk/rep/faculty-of-education-and-health/evaluation-of-the-digital-support-technician-apprenticeship-scheme-as-currently-implemented-by-the-bexley-training-hub).