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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Mrs Mary Louise Fry MSc, BSc (Hons)

Programme Manager – Allied Health Professionals and Nurse Internship Programme (UK-wide, funded by Versus Arthritis)

Mrs Mary Louise Fry's photo
Related links
Twitter site @MSKInterns

Mary has managed the Allied Health Professionals (AHP) and Nurse Internship Programme since her appointment to the University of Southampton in Oct 2015. During this time the programme has grown successfully resulting in renewed funding for a second cycle (2018-2021) from Versus Arthritis.

I am privileged to manage the prestigious, national Allied Health Professionals and Nurses Internship Programme (funded by Versus Arthritis). This award-winning programme is now recognised world-wide as an excellent model of capacity building in musculoskeletal research amongst these professions. A widespread network of world leading researchers is accessible to successful applicants. Past interns have benefitted from a more rapid clinical research career progression than their peers. The benefits of linking research with clinical experience is invaluable to ensure people with arthritis receive the best care possible.

 Mary is responsible for the operational and strategic management of the programme. Working closely with Professor Catherine Bowen (Principal Investigator) at the University of Southampton, Mary chairs the programme Leadership Group of expert colleagues from a network of universities including Leeds, Salford, Oxford, the West of England, Keele and Glasgow Caledonian.

The aim of the programme is to develop a national network of healthcare professional research internships with a focus on musculoskeletal health. It is open to high caliber recent graduate AHPs (UK HCPC registerable) and nurses.

The programme’s success was reflected in expansion in 2018 to include all AHP professions and nurses. Two new research departments joined the consortium that now consists of 7 UK Universities with world class musculoskeletal research units. The programme is recognised internationally as a model of effective research capacity building and Mary has advised researchers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand on potential programme development based on our model. Nationally Mary and the programme team were recognised through the prestigious 2019 British Society for Rheumatology/Association of Medical Education Research Prize.

Mary is an experienced Senior Public Health Specialist with over 15 years experience in the NHS. Successful Project/Programme Management has been a key component of all her roles throughout her career.

As Obesity Prevention Lead for New Forest PCT Mary was responsible for the writing and implementation of the Obesity Prevention Strategy 2004-6 – working with a wide network of collaborative partners. As Health Promotion Locality Manager (Cancers and Smoking Lead) she was responsible for the district-wide Smoking Cessation Service “Quitters”. Throughout her career she has held accountability for meeting national and local public health targets through the delivery of evidence-based projects. She has delivered high quality training to GPs, nurses and other health professionals. She has influenced and negotiated policy with widespread multi-agency stakeholders at a local, regional and national level and secured funding for a variety of projects. A key part of her public health work has been disseminating the latest research through written publications as well as radio and television interviews. She received a Highly Commended Award from the Health Education Authority for the development of skin cancer prevention resources for school children in 2001.

Prior to starting her role as Project Manager for the University of Southampton in Nov 2015, Mary worked in a Health Advisory role for BUPA Wellness at the Spire Hospital in Southampton.

She previously worked for the University of Southampton in 1996/7 as a Health Education Consultant producing and disseminating a distance-learning courses for post-graduate nurses across Europe (Europe Against Cancer).

Prior to this in 1995 she was accepted on to the prestigious and highly competitive NHS graduate Management Training Scheme where she completed Part 1 of a Diploma in Management Studies. In 1996 she was awarded an MSc in Public Health (2:1 grade) from the University of Southampton.



MSc in Public Health - University of Southampton 1996 (previously Health Promotion/Education)

Diploma in Management Studies (part 1) NHS Management Training Scheme 1995

BSc (Hons) – Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, 1994




Research interests

Mary is passionate about research capacity building within AHP and Nursing – promoting the next generation of clinical academics in rheumotolgy.

Each intern undertakes a research project and Mary is responsible for the evaluation of all initiatives and projects within the programme using qualitative and quantatitive methodology.

Research projects

Intern’s blogs – pre and post placement

Research group

Active Living for Health

Affiliate research groups

Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis, Wessex Applied Research Collaboration, British Society for Rheumatology, Versus Arthritis Internship

Mary is responsible for the overall operational and strategic management of the AHP and Nurse Internship Versus Arthritis programme. She has successfully and consistently met all of the key milestones and targets outlined in governance of the programme. Key aspects of the programme annual cycle undertaken by Mary include a widespread national marketing campaign, recruitment of interns, governance of the programme through chairing of the Leadership Group, development and delivery of intern site visits and training material, dissemination of research projects and publications by the interns, reporting and collating outcome measure and metrics of programme achievements, ongoing co-ordination of intern alumni network, strategic revision, development and planning, involvement of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) representatives, developing and facilitating key annual events such as annual alumni event at British Society for Rheumatology Conference, Induction Day, PPI events.

Mary has a key role in delivering a comprehensive programme of site visits, webinars and research exposure to the interns over their eight week research placements.

She also delivers lectures/presentations to Undergraduate final year AHP and nurse students and facilitates alumni and Patient and Public Involvement events on a regular basis.

Mrs Mary Louise Fry
Programme Manager
Arthritis Research UK Internship Project – Allied Health Professionals and Nurses
University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Room Number : 67/4003

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