Dr Anna Anderson

Dr Anna Anderson


I am a Research Fellow in Qualitative Research with a background in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. After completing undergraduate degrees at the University of Cambridge in 2010 and Leeds Metropolitan (now Beckett) University in 2013, I worked as a clinical physiotherapist in a diverse range of settings. Contributing to systematic reviews and undertaking a Health Education England (HEE) Internship gave me a greater understanding of the vital role research plays in improving patient care. This encouraged me to pursue my research interests further.

I joined the University of Leeds in 2018 as a Research Associate in the School of Healthcare to work on a feasibility study investigating peer mentorship to support self-management of hip and knee osteoarthritis. Alongside that, I helped lead a qualitative study exploring patients’ perceptions of total ankle replacement and ankle fusion surgery.

In 2019, I commenced a HEE / National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship based in the Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine (LIRMM). My mixed methods PhD project was focused on developing a new website, the ‘Virtual Knee School’, to provide pre-operative education and a prehabilitation exercise programme for patients awaiting total knee replacement.

Since obtaining my PhD, I have been based in the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS), where I co-lead the Leeds Unit for Complex Intervention Development seminar programme and communications. Projects I am currently/have recently been involved in include:

IDEAS in Primary Care, which involves developing a new complex intervention to support clinicians to identify people at risk of rheumatoid arthritis in primary care by targeted use of a blood test called anti-CCP.

Remote Peer-Mentorship In Osteoarthritis, which involves developing and evaluating a remote peer mentorship intervention for people with hip or knee osteoarthritis who are experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage.

Community Conversations, which involved holding ‘community conversations’ with local community groups in Leeds and Keele to help build relevant, sustainable partnerships with groups underserved by health research.

Research interests

I am particularly interested in approaches for making health and social care research more inclusive for underserved groups. This includes areas such as how to make research procedures and resources more accessible for disabled people, and how to meaningfully involve local community groups in co-producing research projects. My other key research interests include complex intervention development, qualitative and mixed methods research, and musculoskeletal condition self-management.

I combined these interests during my PhD by employing an evidence-, theory- and person-based approach to develop the Virtual Knee School. A key focus of my project was ensuring that the Virtual Knee School is accessible and inclusive for a diverse range of patients. A video overview of my project and its findings is available on the NIHR Leeds Biomedical Centre YouTube channel.


  • PhD Medicine
  • BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy
  • BA (Hons) Preclinical Veterinary Medicine

Professional memberships

  • Health and Care Professions Council
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Student education

I currently contribute to teaching on musculoskeletal conditions for the Adult Nursing course in the School of Healthcare.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • Division of Primary Care, Palliative Care and Public Health
  • Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • Complex interventions