Mrs. Heather C Cassie

CSO Research Fellow


Division of Oral Health Science

Room 3005
The Frankland Building
Dundee Dental Education Centre
Smalls Wynd
University of Dundee

Phone Number:

+44 (0)1382740 954

Email Address:

Heather is a CSO Doctoral Research Fellow based within the Dental Health Services Research Unit (DHSRU), University of Dundee. Since starting with DHSRU in November 2006 she has been involved in a number of studies including; the impact of web based CPD, an evaluation of a practice development plans, an evaluation of receptionist, dental nurse and practice manager training in Scotland and a combined practice inspection pilot study. More recently her primary role has been within the Translation Research in a Dental Setting (TRiaDS) Programme which aims to establish a portfolio of knowledge translation research.

In 2010 Heather was awarded a CSO Doctoral Fellowship to explore the influence of organisational characteristics on the translation of clinical guidance into routine general dental practice.

Prior to joining DHSRU, Heather was a research administrator in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee. She was primarily responsible for co-ordinating all administrative aspects of the NMAHP Research Training Scheme and the Alliance for Self–Care Research, as well as overseeing all other research administration within the school.

The main focus of Heather’s role is within the Translation Research in a Dental Setting (TRiaDS) Programme. Embedded within the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP), the aim of this programme is to develop an integrated portfolio of multidisciplinary translation research to establish a framework for the translation of guidance into practice.

As part of this work she has been involved in a number of knowledge translation studies such as; a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the impact of two educational strategies on the implementation of SDCEP’s Decontamination in Dental Primary Care Guidance and diagnostic interviews and surveys to explore current practice and dentists views on guidance implementation in relation to guidance for ‘Child Caries’, ‘Drug Prescribing’, ‘Bisphosphonates’ and ‘Sterilization’. She has also been involved in an ‘Oral Health Assessment and Review’ (OHAR) in practice implementation study to explore the barriers and facilitators to implementing the OHAR guidance in practice.

Heather’s main area of interest is the impact of organisational level factors on the translation of guidance and in particular the role of team work, communication and leadership with the dental team.

Heather is a member of the Scottish Dental Practice Based Research Network (SDPBRN), which works in partnership with primary dental care providers to encourage, facilitate and conduct high-quality research in the primary care setting. 

PhD Project Title: Improving quality in health care: A case study in dental primary care in Scotland

Aim: To improve quality in healthcare by investigating which characteristics of primary care healthcare organisations influence the translation of guidance.

Methods: A three phase multi-method design. (1) A literature review exploring organisational change in primary healthcare organisations; (2) Development of an instrument measuring structure, culture and management in dental practices; (3) A questionnaire-based survey and practice-based case studies.

Results: A ‘best-fit’ framework approach was undertaken for the review. Key determinants to the translation of guidance were identified. Interviews with dental team members supported these findings and identified further practice characteristics to explore. A questionnaire which included questions to determine compliance with key dental recommendations was developed, piloted and sent to 400 dental practices. Case studies were undertaken in two dental practices and findings from both stages were integrated.

Peer reviewed publications

Clarkson JE, Ramsay CR, Eccles MP, Eldridge S, Grimshaw JM, Johnston M, Michie S, Treweek S, Walker A, Young L, Black I, Bonetti D, Cassie H, Francis J, MacKenzie G, MacPherson L, McKee L, Pitts NB, Rennie J, Stirling D, Tilley C, Torgerson C and Vale L. The Translation Research in a Dental Setting (TRiaDS) Programme Protocol. Implementation Science 2010, 5:57 (20 July 2010)

Bonetti D, Young L, Black I, Cassie H, Ramsay C, Clarkson, J. Can’t do it, won’t do it! Developing a theoretically framed intervention to encourage better decontamination practice in Scottish dental practices. Implement Sci. 2009 Jun 5;4:31.

Service Reports

Young L, P Elouafkaoui P, Cassie H and Jan Clarkson on behalf of the TRiaDS Group. SDCEP Oral Health Assessment and Review (OHAR) In‐Practice Implementation Study Report: June 2011

Cassie H, on behalf of TRiaDS. SDCEP prevention and management of Dental Caries in Children: Consultation Interviews, January 2010. 

Cassie H, on behalf of TRiaDS. SDCEP Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment Guidance: Consultation Interviews: Participant Summary, October 2009. 

Cassie H, on behalf of TRiaDS. SDCEP Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment Guidance: Consultation Interviews, June 2009. 

Cassie H, on behalf of TRiaDS. SDCEP Emergency Dental Care Guidance Pre and Post Guidance Interviews: Participant Summary, May 2009. 

Tochel C, Young L, Cassie H, Clarkson J. Practice Development Plan Pilot Evaluation Report – Participant Summary, November 2008

Cassie H, on behalf of TRiaDS. SDCEP Emergency Dental Care Guidance Pre and Post Guidance Interviews, June 2008. (Read online)