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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Professor Jo Adams PhD., MSc., DipCOT

Visiting Professor of Musculoskeletal Health, Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy

Professor Jo Adams's photo

Prof. Jo Adams is a Visiting 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 professionals at pre and post registration level for over 25 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 £20m 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 and Palestine.

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 career.

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

My research interests include:

  • The clinical effectiveness and efficacy of rehabilitation for people with musculoskeletal conditions
  • Development of effective digital online rehabilitation programmes for people living with musculoskeletal conditions
  • Working alongside patient and public partners to design and develop applied research programmes I health and social care.
  • Knowledge mobilisation and implementation of effective evidence based practice within the NHS

PhD supervision

I have supervised > 10 PhD students.

I am currently supervising doctoral students exploring the impact of health literacy on self -management, carers’ experience of supporting people with long term conditions, hospital discharge processes, and the functional and participation impact of living with hand arthritis.

Please see table below for current active research grants 2015- current

Year Project members Organisation Project name Cost
2020 Kjeken, Stamm, Adams et al Norwegian Health Board Development of a care pathway for patients with hand osteoarthritis Euros 120,000.00
2019 Richardson, Kipps, Adams et al NIHR Applied Research Collaborations Wessex Applied Research Collaboration £10,000000.00
2018 Dures, Hewlett, Adams et al NIHR (RfPB) Fatigue - Reducing its Effects through individualised support Episodes in Inflammatory Arthritis (FREE-IA): A Feasibility Study for a Randomised Controlled Trial £248,039.00
2018 Bowen, Adams et al Versus Arthritis Allied Health Internship Programme £175,000.00
2017 Adams (PI); Muller, Vassilev, Rogers, Wilson, Arden et al Wessex CLARHC Contain Joint Pain £100,000.00

Kumar et al
(Adams co-applicant and supervisor)

British Society of Rheumatology Senior Fellowship award £5,000.00

Batt (PI) et al


Arthritis Research UK Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis £1,998,626.00
2017 Adams (PI) University of Southampton & Arthritis Research UK Diamond Jubilee International Visiting Fellowship

£15,000 (UoS)



Lewis, Salomons, Newport, Moayedi, Adams

Arthritis Research UK Exploring brain networks and patient descriptions of body perception related musculoskeletal pain to discover new targets for future treatment. £205,069.00

Adams, Stamm, Hurkmans.
Principal Investigator

EULAR Guidelines for rehabilitation following falls and fragility fractures EUROS 30,000.00

Adams et al
Principal Investigator

Arthritis Research UK The clinical and cost effectiveness and efficacy of osteoarthritis thumb base splints: a randomized controlled trial £427,000.00
2015 Newington, Walker Bone, Coggan, Warwick, Adams

Research group

Active Living for Health

Research theme

Active Living

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.

MOTH Project 1: Maintaining physical activity through the use of digital interventions for people with a long-term condition/s (LTCs): A scoping review

This scoping review aims to explore the range of available literature on digital tools to support the maintenance of physical activity for people with LTCs. This review will identify the theoretical underpinnings of these interventions and the experiences, barriers and facilitators of those using them.

MOTH Project 2: Exploring the factors that facilitate and hinder the implementation of digital tools for self-management of long-term conditions within existing healthcare structures and pathways

This project explores the barriers and facilitators to implementing digital tools for self-management of long-term conditions (LTC) with NHS commissioners, General Practitioners and LTC Specialists. A review of policy recommendations for the implementation of these digital tools is also being undertaken.

I have served as Director of FortisNet for 3 years

I am the Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy

I have served as the Long Term Conditions Lead and now Team member for the Wessex NIHR Applied Research Collaboration ARC

I am a National Institute of Health Research academic mentor

I have been a work package lead for the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis Research Versus Arthritis and have served as the Patient and Public Involvement advisor

I am an editorial board member for Musculoskeletal Care and a reviewer for >12 clinical academic journals

I serve as a NIHR reviewer for three research programme streams – PgfAR, HTA and RfPB

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)

I have taught health professionals for over 25 years across a number of multi-disciplinary modules.

I now teach into research methods modules across UG and post graduate courses.

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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