Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatologist joins the BRU

A new paediatric and adolescent rheumatologist has recently joined the Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) to help strength research in the Childhood Arthritis theme.

Dr Janet McDonagh has recently joined the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) as Clinical Senior Lecturer in Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology at The University of Manchester and Consultant at theRoyal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Previously from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Dr McDonagh brings a wealth of experience in Rheumatology having worked in both adults and paediatrics. As a result of her clinical experience Dr McDonagh has a keen interest in the impact of long term health conditions during adolescence and young adulthood including their transition between paediatric and adult services within the NHS.

Dr McDonagh is a co-applicant on the first NIHR funded multi-centre research project on transition, based in Newcastle. The project is looking at transition in three long term conditions: diabetes, cerebral palsy and autism The aim of the research is to improve the quality of life of young people with long term conditions and provide evidence to help NHS Commissioners and Trusts facilitate successful transition of young people with complex health needs from children to adult services, thereby improving health and social outcomes.

Dr McDonagh is also working on adolescent rheumatology related research with the Barbara Ansell National Network for Adolescent Rheumatology (BANNAR), and is co-principal investigator with the BRU’s Professor Wendy Thomson on the Young People’s Opinion Underpinning Rheumatology Research (YOURR) project, which will enable young people between 11 – 24 years old, to have their say about rheumatology research and lead the development of a national youth involvement strategy for rheumatology. She also holds national positions including the convenor of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Young Persons Health special Interest Group and the co-chair of the Young adult and Adolescent strategy group at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) as well as being a trainer in the EuTeach (European Teaching Effective Adolescent Care and Health) initiative.

Talking about her new position, Dr McDonagh explained: “The NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit is in a perfect environment to conduct more research into the important area of adolescent and young adult rheumatology, under the unit’s overarching aim of treating arthritis: right first time. With the BRU located on a campus which includes the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and The University of Manchester, it creates a collaborative environment amongst researchers to ensure all aspects of long term conditions, such as arthritis, are looked at using a life course approach from basic science to service improvements.”

Professor Wendy Thomson commented on Dr McDonagh’s appointment: “We are delighted to have Dr McDonagh join our team at such an exciting time. Our BRU is unique as we are the only unit to conduct rheumatology research in paediatrics, young people and adults and Dr McDonagh’s appointment will help strengthen the quality of our research.”