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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Professor Jo Adams PhD., MSc., DipCOT

Professor of Musculoskeletal Health, Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy

Professor Jo Adams's photo

Prof. Jo Adams is a Professor of Musculoskeletal Health within Health Sciences, University of Southampton. Jo is an occupational therapist by background. She has led both national and international applied translational research programmes related to developing effective self- management approaches for individuals with musculoskeletal diseases. Her research is widely published and she leads collaborative partnerships to improve the translation of research into NHS clinical practice. She is also an experienced educator having taught health care professionals at pre and post registration level for over 23 years.

Supporting patients, clinicians, engineers and industry to work together to solve musculoskeletal challenges helps to ensure that innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions are translated and implemented swiftly.

All my research has benefited from being multi -disciplinary and includes teams that include allied health, nursing, rheumatologists, surgeons, epidemiologists and public health physicians, engineers, teachers, patients, educationalists and lay representatives. I have led or been part of national and international multi-disciplinary teams that have secured >£8.2m in applied clinical research grants. I also champion the involvement of patients and public in clinical research design and development.

My education commitments include both undergraduate and post-graduate level and I welcome doctoral supervision with international students. I have worked as an occupational therapist in America, Canada, Bangladesh and Uganda and have current active research links with Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, North America, Norway, Sweden.

I am committed to supporting colleagues and students in developing an applied research career and serve as a mentor for the National Institute for Health Research to support clinical academic careers and also lead the South Central Allied Health Research Network working alongside clinical staff to implement and integrate research into the NHS and social services.

I am delighted to serve as Director of FortisNet, a collaborative network within the Institute of Life Sciences that brings together patients, clinicians, engineering academics and industry to work together to design, develop and bring to market innovative solutions for global musculoskeletal challenges.

Employment history

2015- Professor of Musculoskeletal Health

2013-ongoing PPI national lead for the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis

2011-ongoing NIHR Health professional national research mentor

2009-2011 Deputy Award Leader, NIHR MSc in Research Methods

2008-ongoing Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton

2007-ongoing Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences University of Southampton

1995-2008 Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Southampton

1991-1995 Senior Practitioner Occupational Therapist. Hampshire Social Services

1988-1990 Senior Occupational Therapist. Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital

1986-1988 Basic Grade Rotational Occupational Therapist. Sheffield University Hospital Northern General



Research interests

PhD supervision


I currently supervise 10 MPhil/ PhD students



Lotty Brooks (Clinical Academic Pathway Solent NHS Trust) “Health Literacy of older people using the NHS”

Annabel Rule (Clinical Academic Pathway Southern NHS Trust) “The involvement of people in discharge decisions on an acute medical unit”

Haji Abdullah Sani Bin Haji Kamis Sani (Brunei Govt) “The development of a systematic management and care pathway for people with foot complaints associated with rheumatoid arthritis in Brunei Darusalam.

Hanif Farhan Mohd Rasdi Biomechanical analysis of spinal posture on load carrying

Simon Grist The perceived benefits of physical activity for people with mental health disorders

Lyn Wilson The role of social networking in health literacy

Camilla Dawson Rehabilitation for head and neck cancer

Fanis Stavrou: Exploration of the discharge process for elderly people

Susan Nazirizadeh: The development of mobile phone activity monitoring for people with osteoarthritis

Jimmy Caroupapoulle : The development of mobile phone activity monitoring for people with rheumatoid arthritis



Research Interests


Research into clinical effectiveness of rehabilitation for people with musculoskeletal conditions

Development of research methods learning and teaching for pre and post registration health care students

The educational and professional development needs of health and social care practitioners working with people with musculoskeletal disease.

The clinical effectiveness of hand therapy and hand surgery

Functional outcome measurement in musculoskeletal conditions

Research projects

My research has been funded in the past by the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Wessex Medical (HOPE), Ascension Orthopaedics USA, the College of Occupational Therapy, the Life Science Interface, Arthritis Research UK and The National Institute of Health Research (HTA).

My current research projects are based on clinical effectiveness studies of routine conservative therapy (such as resistive exercise, joint protection and splints) provided to people with rheumatoid arthritis affecting their hands. I am also part of a surgery and engineering team exploring innovative investigations into joint functioning. Her practice-based research involves surveying the CPD educational opportunities for nurses and allied health professionals working in musculoskeletal care.

All my research work has been clinically focused and involved working alongside multi-disciplinary allied health and nursing teams. I have benefited from working alongside a substantial group of committed and supportive clinicians, engineers, surgeons, medical statisticians and rheumatologists based throughout the UK.

Other Research projects

The Arthritis Research UK Center of Excellence for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Funded by Arthritis Research UK £3,000000.00
This is a five year Centre of Excellence grant to establish world leading research into sport, exercise and osteoarthritis.

The World Wide University Network First Health Literacy International conference
Funded by the World Wide University Network £43,000

European Guidelines for patient education for people with musculoskeletal diseases Funded by The European League Against Rheumatism 60,000 EUROS

This two year project brought together European health experts to systematic review and gain consensus for core guidelines and recommendations for patient education for people with MSK diseases

Identifying the current knowledge and confidence of rheumatology clinical nurse specialists in providing advice on pain management to people with RA Funded by Arthritis Research UK £6,196.32
This grant builds on previous work exploring the current levels of knowledge and confidence of nurses in providing pain management advice to people with Rheumatoid arthritis.

National Health Professionals Musculoskeletal Internship Programme: Arthritis Research UK. £120,000. This exciting new venture provides funding to support a national multidisciplinary internship support and development to the outstanding health professional graduates to develop their careers working with people with musculoskeletal conditions.

Research group

Active Living and Rehabilitation

Affiliate research groups

Population Health , Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis

Research project(s)

Clinical and bioengineering investigation into the predictors & effectiveness of proximal interphalangeal joint surgery for patient with hand arthritis

This research aims to systematically review the available evidence using a standardised review tool to assess and report the immediate and long term functional effectiveness of PIPJ arthoplasty.

Effectiveness of silver ring splints in rheumatoid arthritis - Dormant

This project reviewed the immediate effectiveness of custom made small finger silver ring splints for people with hand rheumatoid arthritis in preventing hyperextension when conducting functional movement.

Hand function in early rheumatoid arthritis - Dormant

This research is about what people can do with their hands in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis.

Motion analysis of movement dysfunction in musculoskeletal disorders

Research to measure abnormal movement accurately with a view to improving diagnosis and treatment.

MSKInterns: Graduate Rheumatology Research Internships for Nurses and Allied Health Professionals.

The aim of this project is about developing a national network of healthcare professional research internships in rheumatology. Funded by the charity Arthritis Research UK the governance of the programme is overseen by Professor Catherine Bowen at the University of Southampton, who is joined by expert colleagues from a network of universities including Leeds, Salford, Oxford and the West of England.

National survey of the continuing professional development (CPD) of nurses and allied health professionals working with people with musculoskeletal conditions - Dormant

The aim of this research project was to explore the current situation and the challenges regarding CPD for nurses and AHPs who work with people who have musculoskeletal conditions.

Osteoarthritis of the thumb therapy (OTTER) trial

This research looks at the development and pilot testing of a splint to relieve pain and improve function in people with thumb osteoarthritis.

SARAH – Strengthening and stretching for people with rheumatoid arthritis of the hand. The clinical and cost effectiveness of an exercise programme over and above usual care

The SARAH trial is looking at two approaches to treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affecting the hands.

Systematic review of the literature for non-pharmacological interventions for arthralgia in non cancer conditions - Dormant

This review is to explore the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions used in people with arthritis following breast cancer.

The design and evaluation of an intervention to improve self-management skills in patients with musculoskeletal disease and low literacy

This research will conduct a systematic review and qualitative synthesis of the effectiveness of patient education for people with low literacy levels. 

The educational needs of nurses, allied health professionals (AHPs) and associate health and social care practitioners working in musculoskeletal disease

This research will identify and define the current and ongoing educational needs of nurses, allied health professionals (AHPs) and associate health and social care practitioners  working in musculoskeletal disease.

As Professional Lead for Occupational I have an externally facing role working alongside national and international universities, networks, medical charities and research organisations.

I am the UK representative for nurses and allied health professionals on the Scientific Committee of the European League against Rheumatism

I am also a UK allied health representative on the Scientific Committee of the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology.

I am the national Patient and Public Involvement Lead for the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis.

I have served for 7 years as the allied health representative on the Educational Strategy Committee of Arthritis Research UK

I am a grant reviewer for:

  1. The National Institute for Health Research (RfPB and HTA)
  2. The European League against Rheumatology
  3. Dutch Arthritis Association
  4. Irish Health Board
  5. British Association of Occupational Therapists
  6. British Association of Hand Therapists
  7. National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society
  8. The National Association of Rheumatology Occupational Therapists.

I am editorial board member for Musculoskeletal Care and have previously sat as editorial board member on the British Journal of Occupational Therapy and the International Journal of Rehabilitation Research. I currently review academic papers for Arthritis Care and Research; Rheumatology; Clinical Rheumatology; British Journal of Occupational Therapy; Australian Occupational Therapy Journal; Journal of Hand Therapy.

I have contributed to working groups producing national guidelines for

  1. Patient Experience in the NHS for NICE
  2. Musculoskeletal Guidelines for the Arthritis Musculoskeletal Association
  3. National Association of Rheumatology Occupational Therapists
  4. NHS evidence library for Musculoskeletal, Trauma and Orthopaedic Libraries
  5. Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Standards of Care for the Rheumatoid Foot.

Major honours and distinctions include:
2013 Faculty of Health Sciences Research Excellence Award
2012 British Association of Occupational Therapists National Merit Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Occupational Therapy Profession
2010 Faculty of Health Sciences Research Excellence Award
2008 Arthritis Research Campaign Silver Medal (Occupational Therapy) for Excellence in Research (with Metcalf, Spicka, Macleod)
2007 University of Southampton Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Inter-Professional Education (with Donovan-Hall and White)
2005 National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society National Innovation in Patient Care Award (with Macleod)

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Book Chapters

  • Whalley, K., Bradley, S., & Adams, J. (2017). Hand Therapy. In M. Curtain, M. Egan, & J. Adams (Eds.), Occupational Therapy for People Experiencing Illness, Injury or Impairment (7th ed., pp. 523-540). (Occupational Therapy Essentials). Edinburgh: Elsevier.
  • Ryan, S., Adams, J., Anne, OB., & Anita, W. (2013). Multidisciplinary treatment. In R. A. Watts, P. Conaghan, C. Denton, H. Foster, J. Isaacs, & U. Müller-Ladner (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/med/9780199642489.003.0076
  • Bradley, S., & Adams, J. (2013). Rheumatology splinting. In L. Goodacre, & M. McArthur (Eds.), Occupational Therapy Practice in Rheumatology: Promoting Lifestyle Management. (pp. 189-207). Chichester, GB: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Siegert, R. J., & Adams, J. (2012). Outcome measurement in rehabilitation. In S. Dean, R. Siegert, & W. Taylor (Eds.), Interprofessional Rehabilitation: a Person Centred Approach (pp. 109-133). Chichester, GB: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Adams, J. (2010). Orthotics of the hand. In K. Dziedzic, & A. Hammond (Eds.), Rheumatology: Evidence Based Practice for Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists (pp. 163-170). Edinburgh, GB: Churchill Livingstone.





  1. Module co-ordinator for level 6 undergraduate occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, allied health scientists Research Methods
  2. I supervise pre registration MSc physiotherapy students for their clinical research module
  3. I supervise NIHR Masters in Research Students for their applied research module
  4. I supervise NIHR Masters in Research Students for their open research module
  5. I supervise MPhil/PhD students for their research dissertations
  6. I teach into Occupational Therapy for Physical Rehabilitation
Professor Jo Adams
Health Sciences University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ Telephone: + 44 (0)2380 595287 Email:

Room Number: 67/4011

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