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Development, validation and interpretation of the rheumatoid arthritis foot disease activity index for routine clinical practice in rheumatology

Project Description

REF SHLS-20005 Hendry

Inflammatory arthritis (synovitis) commonly affects the foot and ankle in rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. This causes pain, swelling, stiffness, difficulties with walking, and if treated sub-optimally, can result in irreversible joint destruction and loss of physical function.

Medical clinical decision making is driven by composite inflammatory disease activity indices which do not include assessment of the feet and ankles. Recent evidence suggests that patients classed in remission according to commonly used disease activity indices often have ongoing foot and ankle disease which as a result, may be sub-optimally managed.

Our research group have developed and undertaken preliminary validation of a new patient-reported outcome measure to allow accurate measurement of inflammatory foot and ankle disease activity. This questionnaire has desirable measurement properties and is now ready for further development and field testing. The aims of this project are 1) to establish measurement properties (including construct validity relative to musculoskeletal ultrasound and responsiveness to change with introduction of biologic drugs), 2) to establish clinically relevant disease activity categories and minimal important difference to aid interpretation, 3) to evaluate the impact of persistent foot and ankle joint disease on joint health and physical function.
Undertaking a PhD with the Musculoskeletal Health Research Group at GCU, you would be joining a multidisciplinary team of experienced rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease researchers. Our team have extensive experience in clinical research with people who have inflammatory arthritis, involving patient-reported outcome measures development, musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging, and human movement analysis.

The successful candidate will be a qualified and HCPC-registered health professional from a relevant discipline who has previous experience of patient-reported outcome measure development. The successful candidate will receive training in validation analyses, musculoskeletal ultrasound, and performance-based evaluations of physical function and gait.

How to Apply
This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2020.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply:

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to:

Director of Studies Name: Dr Gordon Hendry
GCU Research Online URL:

2nd Supervisor Name: Prof Martijn Steultjens
GCU Research Online URL:

3rd Supervisor Name: Dr Stephanie Smith
GCU Research Online URL:

Funding Notes

The studentship of £19,509 per year is for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress. The studentship covers the payment of tuition fees (£4,500 for UK/EU students or £15,000 for international students) plus an annual stipend of £15,009 for UK/EU students or an annual scholarship of £4,509 for international students.

How good is research at Glasgow Caledonian University in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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