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Professor Tess Harris

Professor of Primary Care Research
Primary care health promotion research, primary care database research and teaching

My research focuses on health promotion in primary care, particularly physical activity in adults and older adults and using routine primary care databases to answer important questions about health, health service use and health outcomes. My teaching portfolio includes being module lead for the MBBS T-year clinical epidemiology Case Analysis Project, clinical assessment of medical students in all years of MBBS and contributing to the iBSc primary care module. I also supervise primary care academic clinical fellows.

I am Co-Deputy Director of the Population Health Research Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tess Harris is a Professor of Primary Care Research in the Population Health Research Institute at St George's, University of London and a member of the Primary Care Epidemiology Group within the research institute. She specialises in health promotion research in primary care, particularly trials to increase physical activity in adults and older adults and also in primary care database research.

Her MD, awarded in 2005, examined depression, disability and use of primary care services by older people and linked survey and routine general practice data. She has been at St George's since 1994, when she was appointed as a lecturer. Prior to this, Dr Harris graduated in Medicine from St George's in 1988, completed her vocational training in General Practice, and gained her Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners with distinction in 1992. Following this she worked in India for a year, training village health workers and working on a primary health care programme. In 1994 Dr Harris gained an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with a distinction.

She works part time as a GP at Sonning Common Health Centre in Oxfordshire, alongside her academic work at St George's, University of London, and has edited a book on managing older people in primary care (Oxford University Press 2009). Professor Harris currently sits on five Programme grant / Trial Steering Committees for the National Institute for Health Research. She also recently served on the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme Prioritisation Committee until July 2019.

 

Tess Harris is a Professor of Primary Care Research in the Population Health Research Institute. Her research focuses on health promotion, particularly physical activity trials in primary care and on the use of primary care databases to answer important questions about health.

Physical activity is vitally important for physical and mental health, yet activity levels, particularly in older adults, are very low. Professor Harris has been chief investigator for two large primary care randomised controlled trials of pedometer-based walking interventions, both providing objective physical activity outcome measures and novel long-term follow-up data. These are:

• PACE-Lift: (Pedometer Accelerometer Consultation Evaluation-Lift). A randomised controlled trial of a complex walking intervention in 60-75 year olds, funded by Research for Patient Benefit, National Institute for Health Research, (NIHR) May 2011-January 2014. It showed significant increases in both step-counts and time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for the intervention group compared to controls, sustained at one year. Four-year follow up was undertaken from October 2015-October 2016 and also showed persistent trial effects.

PACE-UP: (Pedometer And Consultation Evaluation –UP). A randomised controlled trial of a pedometer-based walking intervention with and without practice nurse support in 45-75 year olds, funded by the Health Technology Assessment Programme, NIHR March 2012-May 2017. Initial trial results at one year showed favourable effects of both nurse and postal interventions compared to controls in terms of both step counts and time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Further funding for three-year follow up was awarded and showed persistent effects of the intervention on physical activity levels. Recent work combining the trials and examining long-term health outcomes using data from primary care records showed that the interventions significantly reduced the rate of cardiovascular events and fractures at 4 year follow-up.

 

The primary care database work is in collaboration with other Primary Care Epidemiology Group members and is focusing on the following areas: diabetes and infections; investigation of compression of morbidity and care in the last year of life; medicines optimisation in patients with multi-morbidity; and epidemiology of neuromuscular disorders. Other recently published work has examined healthcare use and health outcomes for patients with learning disability (Health Services and Delivery Research, NIHR), quality of care for care home patients (BUPA foundation) and health outcomes following partner bereavement (Dunhill Trust).

 

 

Current Research Grants As Co-Investigator:

2019-2021: Temporal and regional trends in neuromuscular disease prevalence and incidence, and the health and healthcare of people with neuromuscular conditions in the UK between 2000-2018. Funding agency: Muscular Dystrophy UK. Principal Investigator: Carey I (SGUL). Co-Investigators: Harris T, DeWilde S, Nirmalananthan N, Cook, D. Start and end dates: Dec 2019- Nov 2021. Total award: £114K

2017-2020: TARS trial: A multi-centred trial of physical activity assisted reduction of smoking. Funding agency: HTA Programme (NIHR). Principal Investigator: Taylor A. (Plymouth). Co-Investigators: Creanor S, Green C, Greaves, C, Ussher, M, Harris T, Aveyard, P. Start and end dates: May 2017-Sept 2020. Total award: £1.8M.

2018-2020: Yoga programme for type-2 diabetes prevention (YOGA-DP) among high risk people in India: intervention development and feasibility study. Funding agency: MRC NUHR DfID Welcome Trust Global Health Trials. (MR/R018278/1). Principal Investigator: Chattopadhyay K (Nottingham). Co-Investigators: Kinra S, Lewis S, Hamer M, Greenfield S, Harris T, Manjunath N, Tandon N, Prabhakaran D, Harper D. Start and end dates: May 2018-April 2020. Total Award: £127K.

2014-2019: NIHR General Practice In Practice Fellowship award:(Dr Shaleen Ahmad) (extended twice in view of two maternity leaves during the fellowship). Supervisor Harris T. Total award: £78k

Recent Research Grants As Principal Investigator:

2012-2017: PACE-UP trial: (Pedometer And Consultation Evaluation–UP). RCT of a pedometer-based walking intervention with and without practice nurse support in primary care patients aged 45-74 years.  Funding agency: Health Technology Assessment Programme (NIHR). Principal Investigator: Harris T. Co-investigators: Cook DG, Kerry SM, Victor CR, Shah S, Iliffe S, Ekelund U, Whincup P, Ussher M, Fox-Rushby J. Start & end dates: Mar 2012-May 2017. Total award: £1.3M.(including additional £171k for 3 year follow-up study awarded 2015).

2016-2017: Implementation of PACE-UP trial. Funding agency: Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) South London (NIHR). Principal Investigator: Harris, T. Co-Investigators: Whincup P, Cook DG, Kerry SM, Victor CR, Iliffe S, Ekelund U, Ussher M. Start & end dates: Jun 2016-Mar 2017. Total award £20k.

2017: Implementation of PACE-UP trial. Funding agency: Strategic Development Funding SGUL. Principal Investigator: Harris, T. Co-Investigators: Whincup P, Cook DG. Start & end dates: Feb 2017-July 2017.Total award £30k.

2011-2014: PACE-Lift: (Pedometer Accelerometer Consultation Evaluation-Lift). A randomised controlled trial of a complex intervention by primary care nurses to increase walking in patients aged 60-75 years. Funding agency: Research for Patient Benefit (NIHR). Harris T. Co-investigators: Cook DG, Kerry SM, Victor CR, Iliffe S, Ekelund U, Whincup PW, Woodcock A, Beighton C. Start & end dates: May 2011-Jan 2014. Award: £277K

 

Recent Research Grants As Co-Investigator:

2013-2016: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Annual Health Checks and Quality of Health Care for Adults with Learning Disability. Funding agency: Health Service Delivery Research (NIHR). Principal investigator: initially Shah S, now Carey I. (SGUL). Co-investigators Harris T, DeWilde S, Cook D. Start & end dates: Feb 2013-Oct 2016. Total award: £311k.

 

2011- 2013: Bereavement Study. The health and healthcare impact of bereavement in older people. Funding agency: Dunhill  Medical Trust. PI: Shah S (SGUL), Co-investigators: Carey I, Harris T, DeWilde S, Victor C, Cook D. Start & end dates:  Apr2011-Sep 2013. Award: £132,335.

 

2009-2011: Care Home Study. An investigation of the quality of primary care for older care home residents using linkage within a primary care database. Funding agency: BUPA Foundation. PI: Shah S (SGUL). Co-Ix: Carey I, Harris T, DeWilde S, Hubbard R, Lewis S, Cook D. Feb 2009-April 2011. Award: £144,161.

 

Internal collaborations

Professor Derek Cook, Dr Iain Carey, Dr Stephen DeWilde, Professor Peter Whincup, Dr Michael Ussher, Professor Julia Critchley, Dr Judith Ibison

External collaborations

Mrs Sally Kerry (Clinical Trials Unit, Queen Mary, University of London, UK)
Professor Christina Victor (Brunel, UK)
Professor Steve Iliffe (University College London, UK)
Professor Ulf Ekelund (School of Sports Science, Oslo, Norway)
Professor Julia Fox-Rushby (King's College, UK)
Professor Adrian Taylor (Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, UK)
Dr Lee David (10 Minute CBT, UK)

Dr Caitlin Notley, University of East Anglia

Dr Kaushik Chattopadhyay, University of Nottingham

 

I am currently module lead for the clinical epidemiology Case Analysis Project in T-year of MBBS.

I examine in clinical OSCEs for all years of MBBS. I teach about population health and critical appraisal on the Primary Care iBSc and about clinical and public health aspects of immunisation in the Life Protection modules for MBBS4 and MBBS5.

 

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