The PERFORM trial



Principal investigators

Professor Sally Singh, University of Leicester

Sally SinghSally Singh is Professor of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation at the University of Leicester. She is also Head of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Director of the Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, a multidisciplinary group of researchers conducting a range of research projects in the field of exercise and rehabilitation. She is PI for an NIHR Global Research Group exploring culturally appropriate rehabilitation in low and middle income countries and an NIHR Programme grant exploring rehabilitation in the multimorbid population. She is the director of a Wellcome Trust funded DTP focusing on providing underrepresented healthcare professionals the opportunity to pursue a research fellowship. She is the clinical lead for pulmonary rehabilitation as part of National Asthma and COPD Audit Programme (NACAP) and is the lead clinician for the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Service Accreditation Scheme run by the RCP.  Recently she has received funding from the NIHR to develop and test exercise based rehabilitation for those with multiple long term conditions (multi-morbidity).

Learn more about Professor Sally Singh

Professor Rod Taylor, Glasgow University

Rod TaylorRod Taylor, MSc, PhD is Professor of Population Health Research, University of Glasgow. He is an Honorary Professor of Health Services Research University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK Adjunct Professor at National Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen. His former academic appointments include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Universities of Birmingham and Glasgow and he was first Director of Technology Appraisals at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

He has published over 450 peer review articles the field of health services research and health technology assessment and H-index of 85. He has extensive experience in HTA that includes membership of the NICE Technology Appraisal and Interventional Procedures committee and advisory roles to many HTA agencies and healthcare companies across the globe. He has been involved in a number of neuromodulation randomised controlled trials and economic analyses past and present including SENZA-PDN.

His postgraduate qualifications include PhD Clinical Physiology (Glasgow), MSc in Medical Statistics (London) and Postgrad. Dip. Health Economics (Aberdeen).

Learn more about Professor Rod Taylor


Dr Shaun Barber, University of Leicester

Shaun BarberShaun Barber is a Medical Statistician currently working for the Leicester Clinical Trials Unit and East Midlands Research Design Service. Shaun is involved in trials in a range of research areas, including cardiovascular trials. Shaun is eager to help design studies to answer the important questions in cardiac surgery in order to improve the outcomes for patients.

Learn more about Dr Shaun Barber

Gwen Barwell, University of Leicester

Gwen Barwell is a Senior Trial Manager working at the Leicester Clinical Trials Unit. Gwen has worked in research for over 8 years and has experience in many different disease areas. She previously worked in Stroke Research at the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham and has clinical experience working directly with participants.

Professor Sarah Dean, University of Exeter

Sarah DeanI arrived in Exeter in 2009 after five years in New Zealand, a sideways move as a senior lecturer I found I had to effectively ‘start again’ to build new networks and research collaborations. Being a newcomer felt as if all my previous experience had been discounted. Annual performance appraisal requests for career progression were gently but firmly rebuffed. It was very frustrating, by 2013 it was clear my career was stalling; I had hit the glass ceiling of a senior lecturer. I was also faced with some difficult personal circumstances that continued over five years. My move to Exeter was not turning out the way I had anticipated. I decided to do something about it: I found myself an excellent academic mentor and I signed up to regular career coaching to support me and to improve my skills for managing a better work-life balance. The timing was good as Athena SWAN was taking hold at the University and I was one of the first to get a place on the Aurora Leadership for Women course.

By 2014 I had my promotion application ready with updated CV including a new small grant award. I presented it as a fait accompli at my appraisal, I was going for promotion. It worked. Learning to stand up for myself has been a great lesson. Now when work gets really busy I am empowered to say ‘no’ more often or take back some time to go for a run or walk the dog, Dart, a black Labrador named after the river. Getting the right work-life balance is still work in progress but as the influence of Athena SWAN permeated more widely I found that the support was there. So too are the opportunities here in Exeter, I just added a bit of personal tenacity and determination to make it happen. Since that promotion, to associate professor, I became co-chair of the College’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity committee for three years as I am passionate about promoting equal opportunities regardless of gender. The focus on women has been the right place to start and now provides a good platform for creating positive working environments for us all.

I’ve since been promoted again, became the co-director of Exeter’s new Clinical Trials Unit for three years and now lead a Behavioural Science research group. My message is: be clear about your values and your goals, work hard, be tenacious, use the support offered and take the opportunities that arise – there are plenty here at Exeter and you can do it.

Learn more about Professor Sarah Dean

Professor Patrick Doherty, University of York

Patrick DohertyProfessor Patrick Doherty is Chair of Cardiovascular Health in the Department of Health Sciences and Director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR). Patrick was former president of the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (BACPR) and former Chair of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Section of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC). He continues to be highly research active in the area of cardiovascular disease prevention and rehabilitation with over 100 peer reviewed journal papers in the last ten years, six co-authored European position papers alongside five British and European clinical guidelines.

Patrick has been Head of Department since April 2021 working with colleagues across the Sciences Faculty with strong working relationships with the Hull York Medical School.

In his senior academic leadership roles Professor Doherty was Head of Research for six years where he led the University of York UoA 2 health research submission as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). In that time Health Sciences annual research income increased from £9m to £14m. Patrick’s research impact in rehabilitation was also captured in the 2021 REF submission.

Patrick’s commitment to cardiovascular disease prevention and rehabilitation led to his appointment as NHS Clinical Lead for Cardiac Rehabilitation (2013) where he supported service innovation in the NHS and led the development of an evidence-based clinical pathway (Department of Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Commissioning Pack) which is continues to inform NHS routine practice standards. His research continues to influence clinical practice through improvements in uptake and the quality of cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation services. Patrick has also developed a chair based exercise programme that formed an integral part of a successful NIHR funded programme grant (REACH-HF) published in 2018. Patrick is part of three separate five year NIHR programme grants investigating comprehensive rehab and exercise interventions for patients with (1) cardiovascular disease (2) cancer and (3) mental health conditions.

Patrick's research and academic supervision has supported 15 PhD students (10 international) to success with many continuing into post-doctoral collaborative research. He continues to supervise national and international research students in the area of cardiovascular health, physical activity improvement, exercise prescription and patient self-management interventions.

Learn more about Professor Patrick Doherty

Dr Rachael Evans, University of Leicester

Rachael EvansDr Rachael Evans currently holds an NIHR Clinician Scientist Fellowship to investigate how to improve health-related outcomes for adults with chronic breathlessness using a symptom-based approach. Her areas of expertise include exercise physiology, training and rehabilitation for people with long term cardiorespiratory conditions.

There are many unknowns around the long-term recovery of COVID-19 survivors. Dr Evans is using a holistic approach to quickly identify the symptoms and problems people experience after COVID-19 in the short, medium and long term. She is seeking to understand the underlying pathology and develop and test interventions to improve outcomes.

Embedding this ongoing research in clinical care and enabling clinicians and researchers to continue working together closely will improve outcomes for the current and future waves of patients worldwide.

Learn more about Dr Rachael Evans

Nikki Gardiner, University Hospitals of Leicester

Nikki Gardiner

Nikki Gardiner, RGN, MSc, is Clinical Lead for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation/COPD and Home Oxygen Service, Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Learn more about Nikki Gardiner

Professor Colin Greaves, University of Birmingham

Colin GreavesHaving started life as a chemical engineer and following a brief fling with the construction industry (in industrial flooring), Professor Greaves rejected Mammon and retrained as a health psychologist. He completed a PhD on asthma self-care at the University of Exeter and since then has managed a NHS primary care research consortium and worked for 15 years in the University of Exeter Medical School. He has helped to develop over 15 health care interventions, 10 of which (to date) have attracted funding for full-scale randomised controlled trials to evaluate them.

Professor Greaves joined the University of Birmingham in January 2018 as a Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation. He is currently President of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine.

Learn more about Professor Colin Greaves

Dr Tracy Ibbotson, Glasgow University

Tracy IbbotsonDr Tracy Ibbotson has been a research coordinator in the West Node of the Scottish Primary Care Research Network since 2011 and leads Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) work in the network.

Tracy has been working in health services research for 25 years after completing a PhD in Psychosocial Oncology at the Christie Hospital, University of Manchester. She was employed as a research fellow in the Department of General Practice and Primary Care, University of Glasgow (1992-1995) and the Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen (1995-1997). Whilst working as a senior lecturer in the Nursing at Midwifery School at the University of Glasgow from 1998 to 2005, she was the Director for the MSc (MedSci) programme and was responsible for introducing problem based learning into the teaching of research methods. During a career break, Tracy worked as a health services researcher in General Practice and Primary Care (2005-2011) before joining the SPCRN team in 2011.

Learn more about Dr Tracy Ibbotson

Dr Bhautesh Jani, Glasgow University

Bhautesh JaniDr Bhautesh Jani is an academic general practitioner (GP) and a Clinical Senior Lecturer in General Practice. Bhautesh joined University of Glasgow in August 2010 as a clinical lecturer, funded by the Scottish Clinical Research Excellence Development Scheme (SCREDS). Bhautesh was awarded a PhD in Primary Care Research by University of Glasgow in 2016 for his project entitled "Exploring the potential role of allostatic load biomarkers in risk assessment of patients presenting with depressive symptoms". Dr Jani was awarded a NRS Career Research Fellowship funded in 2017. He is currently working as a sessional GP in John Street Surgery in Bellshill and he is also the Cluster Quality Lead (CQL) for Bellshill area.

Dr Jani is currently Clinical Co-Lead for NRS Primary Care Research Network in Scotland.

Learn more about Dr Bhautesh Jani

Professor Kate Jolly, University of Birmingham

Kate JollyKate Jolly qualified in medicine from Bristol University in 1986. She firstly trained in general practice, then in public health medicine. Her academic training took place at the Universities of Southampton and Birmingham. Kate completed her training in public health in 1999 and became a senior lecturer in 2004. In 2011 she took on the role of clinical lead for public health in the School of Health and Population Sciences and was promoted to chair in 2012.

Learn more about Professor Kate Jolly

Professor Frances Mair, Glasgow University

Frances MairProfessor Frances Mair is the Norie Miller Professor of General Practice and Head of General Practice and Primary Care. She is also the Director of the new Multimorbidity PhD Programme for Health Professionals and the NRS Primary Care Network Co-lead. 

Frances leads an extensive programme of chronic illness, multimorbidity and digital health research that promotes a move to person centred care, promoting the concept of "Minimally Disruptive Medicine (MDM)" which has gained traction internationally.

She holds visiting professor appointments at the Universities of Melbourne, Liverpool and Southampton. She is a current member of the MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship panel.

Learn more about Professor Frances Mair

Professor Emma McIntosh, Glasgow University

Emma McIntoshEmma is Deputy Director of HEHTA. She joined the group in May 2011 as Reader in Health Economics and programme leader on the Economics of Population Health. She has an MSc in Health Economics and a PhD in Economics. Prior to joining HEHTA she worked as a Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford's Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) where she worked on a range of economic evaluations in the areas of Parkinson's, home visiting, child health and public health interventions.

Emma's methodological interests are in the area of economic evaluation, evaluating public health interventions, stated preference methods and cost benefit analysis more generally. Emma co-authored a book entitled 'Applied Methods of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Health Care' as part of Oxford University Press's Handbooks in Health Economic Evaluation series and is currently co-editing the next in the series entitled ‘Applied Health Economics for Public Health practice and research: Public Health Economics’. Emma has previously held posts at HERC at the University of Oxford, HERU at the University of Aberdeen, the Health Services Research Unit (HSRU) at the University of Aberdeen and the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the University of Kent.

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Professor Paula Ormandy, Salford University

Paula OrmandyProfessor in Long Term Conditions Research, Director of Postgraduate Research. Research expertise includes integrated care, self-management, patient education and information provision using digital and social media. A founding member of the Greater Manchester Kidney Information Network (GMKIN) and co-chair of the Kidney Patient Involvement Network (KPIN). Paula is a Q Fellow with the Health Foundation and a champion for improving patient experience and quality of care for people managing multiple long-term conditions.

Learn more about Professor Paula Ormandy

Professor Sharon Simpson, Glasgow University

Sharon Simpson

Sharon is Professor of Behavioural Sciences and Health in the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. She co-leads the Unit’s Complexity programme. She is also Head of the Population Health Research Facility, which supports the design, planning and delivery of high quality community based research and is part of the Glasgow Clinical Trials Unit. She is President Elect for the UK Society of Behavioural Medicine. She joined the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit after winning a 5 year MRC/University of Glasgow Senior Fellowship, and prior to that she was a Senior Research Fellow/Associate Director at the South East Wales Trials Unit at the University of Cardiff. She has also held posts at the Universities of Sheffield, Oxford, Nottingham and Greenwich.

Sharon leads a programme of work on developing and testing complex interventions for lifestyle behaviours (diet, physical activity, smoking), healthy ageing, obesity and mental health. She is also interested in social networks, systems thinking and mobile health technologies. She has methodological expertise in randomised controlled trials and in the development and evaluation of complex interventions, as well as mixed methods approaches and process evaluation.

Sharon is a current member of the Chief Scientist Office, Health Improvement Protection and Services Committee and has recently been a committee member for the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme Clinical Evaluation and Trials Committee and the National Institute for Health Research Policy Research Programme. She is also a member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity and BMC Public Health.

View Sharon's Google Scholar and ORCID pages.

Dr Susan Smith, Dublin University

Susan SmithDr Susan Smith joined the Department of General Practice at RCSI in 2011. She also works as a general practitioner in Inchicore Family Doctors, Dublin. She completed vocational training in general practice in the UK in 1991 and has undertaken clinical work in general practice since then within the UK, Australia and Ireland.

She completed an MSc (economics) in the University of Wales in Health Planning and Development in 1994. She worked as a Research Fellow in General Practice in the University of South Australia, in Adelaide from 1997 to 1998. She then returned to Ireland where she took up a post as Lecturer in General Practice in University College Dublin where she undertook her MD, a randomised controlled trial of diabetes shared care (DiSC). She then worked as Senior Lecturer in Primary Care in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care in Trinity College Dublin.

Her main research interests include chronic disease and medicines management and she leads the CPCR research programme into multimorbidity (multiple chronic conditions). She has been the Principal Investigator (PI) on six HRB funded clinical trials of interventions to improve outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. She is the lead author on the Cochrane review for interventions to improve outcomes for patients with multimorbidity. She is also engaged in the CPCRs programmes on polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate prescribing, computerised decision support systems, clinical prediction rules and examining variation in clinical practice. She is a PI on one of the two funded trials of the Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, the SPPiRE study which is a follow on definitive RCT of the OPTISCRIPT intervention. She is an active contributor and editor within the Cochrane Collaboration. Since being awarded a HRB Cochrane Fellowship in 2003 she has undertaken or updated nine further reviews and is on the editorial board of the Acute Respiratory Infections Cochrane Review Group. She is the Clinical Lead on the HRB CICER programme which is a collaboration between the CPCR and HIQA, led by Dr Mairin Ryan. She is the PI on an RCQPS funded project exploring the impact of GP based pharmacists, which is a collaboration with the National Medicines Management Programme, led by Prof Michael Barry. She has recently been awarded a HRB Collaborative Doctoral Award to lead a PhD Programme in Multimorbidity commencing in 2018. She is also a co-editor of the Journal of Comorbidity and is on the editorial boards of the journals Family Practice and BMC Family Practice.

Learn more about Dr Susan Smith

Project Manager

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