Professor Helen Roberts trained as a geriatrician and leads Academic Geriatric Medicine based at Southampton General Hospital. Her research focus is nutrition and physical activity in older people, frailty, sarcopenia and Parkinson’s. Professor Roberts leads the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) national priority programme in Healthy Ageing, Dementia and Frailty which is conducting multi-regional projects evaluating the implementation of research innovations into real world health and care services. She is Chair of the UK Association of Academic Geriatric Medicine.
- Nutrition of older people
- Physical activity in older people
Professor Roberts’ research focus is on nutrition, physical activity, frailty, and sarcopenia in older people and those with Parkinson’s. She works with the Ageing and Dementia theme of the NIHR ARC Wessex and with the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, collaborating with researchers at the School of Health Sciences, the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, and the Universities of Reading, Newcastle and Kings College London.
Her research group has recently studied the implementation of grip strength measurement into routine practice; the feasibility of screening for frailty and sarcopenia in fracture clinics; and the impact of trained volunteers on mealtime care and physical activity of older people in hospital; Current research includes training volunteers to improve physical activity among older social club members and exploring appetite and anorexia among older people.
Her recent research studies in Parkinson’s include the evaluation of dancing and personalised exercise in Parkinson’s, and the development of self-management tools for people with Parkinson’s who fall. Current research includes the evaluation of treatment burden among people with Parkinson’s and their family caregivers, and a European study to optimise community resources and systems of support for those with Parkinson’s.
Curent education roles:
B Med Sci
Head of Field for Ageing and Health
Supervisor for research students
Personal tutor for 3 medical undergraduates
External roles and responsibilities
2018 – present: Chair of UK Association of Academic Geriatric Medicine
2015-present: Trustee of the BrendonCare Charitable Foundation
2018-2022: Associate Editor for European Geriatric Medicine Journal
2015 – 2019: National Lead for NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Ageing Speciality Group
2009 – 2014: Director of NIHR CRN South Coast DeNDRoN Research Network
2010 – 2014: Hampshire and Isle of Wight (CRN) board member
2010 – 2012: Chair British Geriatrics Society Movement Disorders Section (Vice chair & treasurer 2008-10; secretary 2006-8)
2008 – 2019: Faculty member UK Parkinson’s Academy
1994 – 2002: Consultant in Geriatric Medicine, University Hospital Southampton
- Nominated for Southampton University Students Union Excellence in Teaching Award for Innovative Teaching (2015)
- Nomination for UHS Hospital Heroes prize for Clinical Impact through Research (2019)