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Personal profile

Biography

Christina is an Emeritus Professor of Rehabilitation Research in the School of Health Sciences since 2023. An occupational therapists by background her clinical career started in the UK where she specialised as a hand therapist. It was during her clinical work with peripheral nerve injuries that she became particularly interested in the assessment of hand sensibility and hand function. This led her to study full-time for a Masters in Rehabilitation Studies at Southampton University before joining the newly established undergraduate programme for occupational therapy and physiotherapy at UEA in 1992. She completed a PhD in 2002 on the clinical assessment of peripheral nerve injuries in the hand. Christina has held a Career Development Fellowship and Senior Research Fellowship from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) through which she has led research programmes aimed at improving outcomes for people with hand sensory disorders including carpal tunnel syndrome.

Christina was an NIHR Training Advocate and set up the Clinical Academic Careers East Hub (CLACEast) which manages the Health Education England regional internship and bridging scheme for nurses, midwifes and allied health professions. 

From 1998 to 2023 she was the Editor-in-Chief of Hand Therapy (previously British Journal of Hand Therapy) which is the Official Journal of the British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT) and the European Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy. Her contribution to Hand Therapy was recognised by BAHT through a Natalie Barr Award.

Areas of Expertise

Occupational therapy; hand therapy; upper limb musculoskeletal rehabilitation; outcome measures; clinical trials; higher education, scientific writing and publishing

Research Group or Lab Membership

Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Group Lead

Career

  Professional Qualifications and professional memberships

  • Diploma of College of Occupational Therapists
  • MSc in Rehabilitation Studies, Southampton University
  • PhD University of East Anglia
  • Member of the British Association of Hand Therapist
  • Member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists
  • Member of the Society for Rehabilitation Research

 

Key Research Interests

My  research interests lie in the area of hand rehabilitation and the development of  evidence-based approaches to clinical assessment and treatment of upper limb neuro-musculoskeletal disorders.  Through strong collaborative partnerships with upper limb surgeons and therapists regionally, nationally and internationally a programme of research has been developed which is designed to address the following key questions:

  • Which clinical tests and patient-rated outcome measures should be used in clinical trials of interventions for rehabilitation of upper extremity disorders?
  • What is the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of surgical and therapy interventions for specific disorders in the upper limb?
  • How effective are existing surgical and hand therapy interventions in improving functioning and minimising disability in neuro-musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremity
     

Recent projects completed include:

A multi-centre prospective cohort study to identify prognostic factors for successful outcome after a steroid injection and surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome and predictors of cost

Development and validation of a hand nerve disorder-specific patient-reported outcome measure (I-HaND)

A pilot randomised controlled trial of sensory relearning to improve tactile sensibility and hand function after carpal tunnel decompression

 

Grants/Funding

2023-2024    NIHR Research for Patient Benefit funded Core Outcome Set for Flexor Tendon Injuries (HaFTI-COS)

2019 - 2023  NIHR Health Technology Assessment funded trial on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of surgical and non-surgical treatment for proximal phalanx shaft fractures (POINT trial)

2019 - 2023  NIHR Health Technology Assessment funded trial on digital nerve repair (NEON)

2013 - 2017  NIHR Senior Research Fellowship for 5 year programme entitled: Improving the clinical management of carpal tunnel syndrome’  

2011 - A pilot study of the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of Multi-compartment Medication Devices , Health Technology Assessment  

2009 - NIHR Career Development Fellowship for 3 year programme entitled:  Enhancing sensory and motor recovery after carpal tunnel decompression 

2007 - SCoRD trial (Splinting after Contracture Release for Dupuytren’s: pragmatic, multi-centre, randomized controlled trial) funded for 3 years by Action Medical Research charity 

Research Group or Lab Membership


PhD supervision

Previous PhD students:

2022 PhD Caroline Miller 'Development of a core outcome set for Traumatic Brachial Plexus Injuries'  NIHR ICA CDRF

2022 PhD Susan de Klerk  'The validity of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) Questionnaire in Afrikaans for the Western Cape of South Africa'   Stellenbosch University, SA

2019 PhD Leanne Miller 'The assessment and treatment of sub-acute hand oedema' NIHR ICA CDRF

2017 PhD Mark Ashwood 'Development and Validation of a condition-specific patient-reported outcome measures for hand nerve disorders: the I-HaND scale'

2015 PhD Rachel Chester 'Shoulder pain: prognostic factors for physiotherpay treatment' (NIHR Clinical Academic Doctoral Fellowship)

2011  MPhil  Carol Payne ‘The assessment of outcome for musculoskeletal shoulder pain’

2010 PhD   Elisabeth Candy  ‘Adolescent back pain’

 

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or