Dr Gulnar Ali

Senior Lecturer

, School of Education and Communities


  • PhD (2013-2017) Integrating Spirituality into Nursing Education, University of Huddersfield, UK
  • MSc (2006-2007) Medical Anthropology, UCL, UK
  • MA (2000-2002) Islamic Studies, University of Karachi, UK
  • Diploma in Gen. Nursing (1995-1998) Diploma in Gen Nursing, Aga Khan University, SONAM, Karachi, Pakistan.

Areas Of Interest

  • Spirituality and Existential Health
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Palliative Care
  • Transformative Learning
  • Evidence and Values based practice.
On This Page


Dr Gulnar Ali diligently blends ontological and humanistic perspectives to mental health and wellbeing. With a particular interest in the ontological aspect of human phenomenon, Gulnar's professional background ranges wide spectrum of teaching, clinical practice and research experience in: Spirituality, Psychiatry, Medical Anthropology, Nursing Philosophy and Islamic studies.

She is passionate to expand the notion of healing and mental wellbeing through authenticity. Currently, she is involved in teaching undergraduate/postgraduate courses, doctoral research supervision, education management, module leadership, research consultation, project evaluation, counselling and mentoring projects. As a researcher, Dr Ali is actively engaged in writing and reviewing research grants bids on COVID-19 with national and international nursing universities.

Her research interest and publications are majorly aimed at ontological reasoning to bring further innovation in self-care approaches through professional authenticity and empowerment. With a vision to bring transformation in nursing education, Gulnar is keen to develop pedagogical structures that could embrace spiritual and existential care aspects.

Based on her PhD research (2013-2017), she has developed a reflective framework: SOPHIE (Self-Exploration through Ontological, Phenomenological, Humanistic, Ideological and Existential Expressions). SOPHIE has been recognised as practice methodology, to embrace spiritual care aspects in health education and practice.

Dr  Ali will be assisting in teaching and research supervision in: Psychological Perspectives and Community work. She will also collaborate with the research team in developing global health research grants projects.

Research Grant Awards and Funding Applications

  • Self-reflective interventions to support resiliency, post-traumatic growth, and wellbeing of frontline nurses in palliative care settings: A pilot study. Investigators: (PI) Dr  Nasreen Lalani, (Co-I): Dr. Karen Foli, Perdue University, USA. Consultant: Dr  Gulnar Ali. Grant awarded: $ 10,000 by American Psychiatric Nursing Association (APNA). Duration: July 2021-2022.
  • An Exploration of Palliative Care Knowledge and Competencies among Nurses in Critical Care Settings: A Case Study from Pakistan. Investigators: (PI) Dr  Nasreen Lalani-Perdue University USA, PI: Dr  Salma Rattani- Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Co-I: Sarfaraz Masih-Dow University Hospital, Co-I: Israar Ahmed- Rufaidah Nursing College Prime Foundation, Pakistan. Consultant: Dr  Gulnar Ali, UEL- Duration: 2021-2022.
  • An exploration of mentorship within health care practice education. Investigators: (PI) Mehtab Jaffer, (Co-I) Dr  Nagham Rizwi, Dr  Rozina Karmaliyani, Dr  Tazeen Ali- Aga Khan University, Pakistan. Consultants: Dr Gulnar Ali - UEL, Dr Michael Snowden and Dr  Jamie Halsall from the University of Huddersfield, UK. Duration: 2020-2022.

UEL research repository outputs


  • Wattis J, Rogers M, Curran S & Ali, G. (2021). In Higgs J, Orrell J, Tasker D, Patton N: Shaping wise futures: Shared future possibilities: Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Brill-Sense Publishers.
  • Lalani N. and Ali G. (2021). Stories of Hope: Case study on Palliative care from Pakistan. In: Spiritual Dimensions of Advanced Practice Nursing: Stories of Hope (Advanced Practice in Nursing). Edited by M. Rogers, Springer. ISBN-10: ‎ 3030714632.
  • Wattis J, Rogers M, Ali G, Curran S (2021). Spiritually Competent Practice and Cultural aspects of Spirituality. In: In: Spiritual Dimensions of Advanced Practice Nursing: Stories of Hope (Advanced Practice in Nursing). Edited by M. Rogers, Springer. ISBN-10: ‎ 3030714632.
  • Schwartz A., Baume K., Snowden A., Patel J., Genders N., Ali G. (2021) Self-Care. In: McSherry W., Boughey A., Attard J. (eds) Enhancing Nurses' and Midwives' Competence in Providing Spiritual Care. Springer, Cham.
  • Ali G. and Lalani, N. (2020). Approaching spiritual and existential care needs in health education: Applying SOPHIE (Self-exploration through Ontological, Phenomenological, and Humanistic, Ideological, and Existential expressions), as practice methodology. Religions. 11, 451; doi:10.3390/rel11090451
  • Lalani, N. and Ali, G. (2020). Methodological and ethical challenges while conducting qualitative research on spirituality and end of life in a Muslim context: a guide to novice researchers. International Journal of Palliative Nursing. ;26(7):362-370. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2020.26.7.362.
  • Ali G., Snowden M. (2019) SOPHIE (Self-Exploration Through Ontological, Phenomenological, Humanistic, Ideological and Existential Expressions): A Mentoring Framework. In: Snowden M., Halsall J. (eds) Mentorship, Leadership, and Research. International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice. Springer, Cham.
  • Wattis, J., Rogers, M., Ali. G, and Curran, S. (2019). Bringing Spirituality and Wisdom into Practice. In: Practice Wisdom: Values and Interpretations, Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Brill-Sense Publishers. Doi:
  • Ali, G., Snowden, M., Wattis, J., and Roger, M. (2018). Spirituality in Nursing Education: Knowledge and practice gaps. In: International Journal of Multidisciplinary Comparative Studies, International Journal of Multidisciplinary Comparative Studies, Volume 5 Nos. 1-3, 2018, pp.27-49.
  • Snowden, M. and Ali, G. (2017). How can spirituality be integrated in undergraduate and postgraduate education?. In: Spiritually Competent Practice in Health Care. London, UK: CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN 9781138739116.
  • Ali, Gulnar (2017) Multiple Case Studies Exploring Integration of Spirituality in Undergraduate Nursing Education in England. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield. [online]
  • Low Birth-Weight in Newham: Definitions, Antecedents and Prevention- UCL partners project with Newham Clinical Commissioning group. (Oct 2017).
  • Ali, G., Wattis, J. and Snowden, M. (2015). 'Why are Spiritual Aspects of Care so hard to Address in Nursing Education?' A Literature Review (1993-2015), International Journal of Multidisciplinary Comparative Studies, 2 (1), pp. 7-31. ISSN 2059-4976.
  • Ali, G., Lalani, N., and Charania, N. (2015). Community mental health initiatives in Pakistan. Nursing Standard. Royal College of Nursing, UK - 29, 22, 44-48.
  • Ali, G. (2015). Crises Cries- Understanding Spirit Possession from Transcultural Perspective. The Patriarch vol. 2- St-Patrick’s College, London, UK.
  • Ali, G. & Lalani, N. (2012). Community Mental Health Nursing-An Innovation through Faculty practice in Pakistan. Journal of Pakistan Psychiatric Society, Vol (2). Pakistan.
  • Ali, G. (2012). Spirit Possession- a Cry of identity Crises in Woman! I -Manager's Journal on Nursing, Vol 02, Issue 01 Feb-April 2012, India.
  • Karamali, N. & Ali, G. (2012) Integrating the concepts of Elderly Rehabilitation in the Baccalaureate curriculum at the Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery, Karachi, Pakistan. i-Manager's Journal on Nursing; Nagercoil Vol. 2, Iss. 3, 18-22.
  • Jetha, Z. A., Lalani, N. S., Ali, G. (2012). Hidden voices of hermaphrodites. i-manager's Journal on Nursing, 2(2), 18-22. Available at:
  • Begum, S., Khowaja, S and Ali, G. (2012). Media Created Violence: A Social Determinant of Mental Health. Journal of Pakistan Medical Association, 62 (12):1338-40, Pakistan.
  • Ali, G. (2008) Who Cares! A collection of certain recent book reviews on Medical Anthropology, Journal of Anthropology & Medicine, Volume 15, Issue 2 August 2008, pages 147 – 149. London: Rutledge.
  • Ali, G. (2008) Sighing Heights- Ethnographic report on Susum population in Northern Areas of Pakistan, Pakistan Journal of Clinical and Social Psychology, Volume 06, June 2008, pages 66-70, Lahore, Pakistan.

Professional membership and Affiliations

  • Fellow Higher Education Academy UK (FHEA) June 2018  - To date.
  • Fellow Royal Society for Public Health, UK (FRSPH) Oct 2019 - To date.
  • Master Practitioner - European Mentoring and Coaching Council, UK (EMCC) Sept 2020 - present.
  • Nurse Leader - The Honour Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International Rho Delta Chapter, Aga Khan University, Pakistan-Dec 2010 -To date
  • Member - Enhancing Nurses Competence in Providing Spiritual Care through Innovative Education and Compassionate Care (EPICC) - European Spirituality in Nursing and Midwifery Research Network, Staffordshire University, UK (July 2018 - To date).
  • Spirituality Special Interest Group, University of Huddersfield, UK - Jan 2013 - To date.
  • Member, British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) - April 2019-2020
  • Accredited Trainer - Race Equality and Culture Competency, by Ferns Associates Ltd and East London NHS Trust, UK - Aug 2009.