Dr Tess Harris is a Reader in Primary Care in the Population Health Research Institute. Her research focuses on physical activity trials in primary care and use of primary care databases.
Physical activity is vitally important for physical and mental health, yet activity levels are very low. Dr Harris is chief investigator for two 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 show 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.
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; and pre-eclampsia and pregnancy induced hypertension. Recent 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).
Dr Tess Harris is a Reader in Primary Care in the Population Health Research Institute at St George's, University of London. She is a member of the Primary Care Epidemiology Group within the research institute, and specialises in primary care trials in physical activity and 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.
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 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). Dr Harris was appointed to and currently sits on three NIHR randomised controlled trial Steering Committees. She also serves on the Primary Care Community Interventions Panel for the Health Technology Assessment Programme of NIHR.
Harris T, Kerry SM, Limb E, Victor C, Iliffe S, Ussher M, Whincup P, Ekelund U, Fox-Rushby J, Furness C, Anokye N, Ibison J, DeWilde S, David L, Howard E, Dale R, Smith J, Cook DC. Effect of a primary care walking intervention with and without nurse support on physical activity levels in 45 to 75 year olds: the Pedometer And Consultation Evaluation (PACE-UP cluster randomised clinical trial. PLoS Med. 2017; 14 (1): e1002210.
Carey, IM, Hosking FJ, Harris T, DeWilde S, Beighton C, Shah SM, Cook DG. Do health checks for adults with intellectual disability reduce emergency hospital admissions? Evaluation of a natural experiment. J Epi Comm Hlth 2017; 71: 1. 52-58.
Hosking FJ, Carey IM, Shah SM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Cook DG. Mortality among adults with intellectual disability in England: comparisons with the general population. Am J Pub Health 2016; 106: 8. 1483-90.
Normansell R, Holmes R, Victor CR, Cook DG, Kerry SM, Iliffe S, Ussher M, Harris T. Exploring non-participation in primary care physical activity interventions: PACE-UP trial qualitative findings. BMC Trials 2016; 17: 178.
Harris T, Kerry SM, Victor CR, Ekelund U, et al. A Primary Care Nurse-Delivered Walking Intervention in Older Adults: PACE-Lift Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial. PLoS Med 2015 12(2): journal.pmed.1001783
Carey IM, Shah SM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Victor CR, Cook DG. Increased Risk of Acute Cardiovascular Events after Partner Bereavement: A Matched Cohort Study. JAMA Internal medicine 2014; 174(4) 598-605
Shah, SM., Carey, IM., Harris, T., DeWilde, S. et al. Impact of partner bereavement on quality of cardiovascular disease management. Circulation 2013; 128(25): 2745-2753.
Harris T, Owen CG, Victor CR, Adams R, Ekelund U, Cook DG. A comparison of questionnaire, accelerometer and pedometer measures in older people. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009; 41: 1392-1402
Harris T, Owen CG, Victor CR, Adams R, Cook DG. What factors are associated with physical activity in older people, assessed objectively by accelerometry? Br J Sp Med 2009; 43: 442-450
Managing older people in primary care – a practical guide. Ed Gosney M, Harris T. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2009.
Dr Harris works within the Primary Care Epidemiology Group, supervised by Professor Derek Cook, with other investigators Dr Iain Carey and Dr Stephen DeWilde. She is currently supervising two General Practice Academic Clinical Fellows, a GP undertaking an NIHR in practice fellowship and a DPsych health psychology student.
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 (Medical Research Council Epidemiology, Cambridge UK and Oslo Norway)
Professor Julia Fox-Rushby (Brunel, UK)
Professor Adrian Taylor (Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, UK)
Dr Alison Woodcock (Royal Holloway, University London, UK)
Mrs Carole Beighton (Centre for Health & Social Care Research in Kingston and St George's, UK)
Dr Lee David (10 Minute CBT, UK)
Current as 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. Also bidding for continuing funding for £20k for 2017-2018.
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.
Current Research Grants As Co-Investigator:
2014-2018: NIHR General Practice In Practice Fellowship award: (Dr Shaleen Ahmad). Start and end dates: Nov 2014-April 2018 (extended twice in view of two maternity leaves during the fellowship). Supervisor Harris T. Total award: £78k
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.
Previous recent funding
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 Programme (NIHR). Shah et al. (Harris T co-investigator).
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 et al.
2011- 2013: Bereavement Study. The health and healthcare impact of bereavement in older people. Funding agency: Dunhill Medical Trust. Shah et al. (Harris T co-investigator).
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. Shah et al. (Harris T co-investigator).
Dr Harris is involved in undergraduate teaching of medical and biomedical science students. She lectures to the whole year groups on the public health and clinical aspects of immunisation as part of the life protection module of the MBBS and biomedical science courses. She is module organiser and tutor for the Case Analysis Project for medical students, an exploration of clinical epidemiology in relation to a clinical case chosen by students. She is also involved in assessments of medical students through objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) throughout their course, including ones based in primary care and in their finals examinations.