News and events


New information resources

In collaboration with our European partner organizations and patient research partners, we have developed two informational resources for people who may be at an elevated risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in the future. One booklet is for relatives of people who have rheumatoid arthritis, and the other booklet is for people who have joint symptoms. The development of these leaflets has been informed by the interview studies that we have carried out for the EuroTEAM project, to investigate perceptions of risk held by people who are at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. 

We are currently conducting focus groups to evaluate these resources, and will post more details of our findings soon. In the meantime, if you would like to tell us what you think about either of these booklets we would be delighted to hear from you! Please fill in and submit this form, or alternatively you can email us at  

Past events...

EuroTEAM meeting

One of the ongoing projects actively involving patient research partners, both from Birmingham and from further afield, is EuroTEAM ( The final EuroTEAM annual meeting took place in Birmingham on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th February 2016. 43 delegates from the EuroTEAM consortium attended the meeting, including 4 patient research partners. Over the course of the 2 days, delegates were presented with keynote speeches covering industry approach to RA, the future of research in RA, diagnosis and treatment of RA and patient involvement; updates of the research conducted within EuroTEAM; and discussions about available future funding for related research project.

One of the patient research partners gave the following account of her experiences of being part of EuroTEAM:

EuroTEAM meeting‘The EuroTEAM meetings have all been a great experience. There was a steep learning curve but we've been supported by a glossary and project summary as well as ample opportunities to ask questions. A luxury really to have so many specific professionals to put questions to.  And many of them have also developed their lay presentation skills over these four years.

PRP's do most of the hands on work between the annual meetings but what I think has been equally important are the casual conversations and discussions between PRP's and researchers at the meetings. I think it's been fruitful and developing and inspiring for both sides. What lingers with me after the final meeting is an eagerness to continue those discussions and evolve those ideas and thoughts.’

Eva C Johansson, Patient research partner, Stockholm, Sweden


RACE meeting

RACE-meetingIn January 2016, a conference of RACE patient research partners and researchers was held at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Conference Centre, facilitated by Prof Karim Raza and Dr Marie Falahee from Birmingham; Dr Stefan Siebert from Glasgow; 
and Dr Arthur Pratt and Helen Hanson from Newcastle. This meeting was a fantastic opportunity for patient research partners from all three centres to get together and to share their experiences. Some lively discussions took place about how patient research partners can be involved in laboratory based science, patients’ perspectives on research priorities and the most effective ways to share research findings with patients. You can find more information about this meeting at


Annual R2P2 Meeting

The second annual meeting of the Birmingham Rheumatology Research Partnership (R2P2) took place on Thursday 26th November 2015 at Hornton Grange.  Many thanks to those of you who came along. The afternoon saw some excellent talks and lively discussion on a variety of subjects, including synovial biopsies and genetic testing.  Several new projects were introduced including Mind the risk and ‘The microbiome in arthritis’. You can find more information about these and other projects in the latest issue of the newsletter and on the R2P2 website. Download the latest R2P2 newsletter


R2P2 changes

Dr Rebecca Stack has moved on to a new job at Nottingham Trent University and Dr Gwenda Simons and Dr Marie Falahee have taken over as coordinators of the R2P2 steering panel. 




Linda Briscoe has also moved on and Becky Birch now provides admin support for R2P2. 



Rebecca and Linda have been instrumental in setting up R2P2 and steering it towards our very successful launch in October 2014. We wish them the best of luck in their new jobs! 


Rheumatology Patient Group; City Hospital

Meeting Friday 25 September 2015 

Dr Gwenda Simons and Dr Marie Falahee were the guest speakers and updated the group on the RAPID research project (Rheumatoid Arthritis; the Public InformeD). Some of the people present have been involved in this project and therefore it had a clear resonance.

The second part of the discussion and talk was on R2P2 and Gwenda and Marie explained the changes and improvements taking place and the revised structure of the steering committee. The website was also being updated with more input from clinicians and patients. There was a drive to recruit more Patient Research Partners who would be matched where possible with appropriate research projects.

As always the discussion was lively, informative and most interesting and Gwenda and Marie were thanked sincerely for coming along

John Rowland (Group Coordinator)

For further information about the Rheumatology Patient Group at City Hospital please contact John Rowland on 


Rheumatology Patient Group (City Hospital)

Talk by Dr Helen McGettrick Friday 24 July 2015

This excellent and very well presented talk related to Helen's research project on white blood cells and their pathway through the blood vessels in our bodies. The passing of these cells through the blood vessel walls occurs to protect against tissue injuries, such as infections or cuts. Failure to correctly control this pathway is associated with chronic inflammation as found in patients with RA.

The objective of the research was to establish why this happens and then to establish any procedure or drug or mechanism that would prevent this.

Helen demonstrated what happens using two pieces of guttering which was quite brilliant and very understandable! However these pieces will need to be put back in place on her roof before the next heavy rain.

Her project has two years to run and significant advances have been made to date. Funding of course is always an issue and the group can provide letters of support for research related to RA and other related conditions.

Helen fielded a number of questions and comments like a true professional and the Group was very grateful for her time.

John Rowland
For the Rheumatology Patient Group 


Rheumatology Patient Group (City Hospital)

The June meeting (26th) welcomed Dr Guillaume Desanti as our guest speaker.

His research relates to the study of platelets to gain insights into potential new approaches to the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

His use of analogies helped us mere mortals and he gave us all his lay summary and then went on to work through his diagrams. Platelets it has recently been shown have, as well as the ability to provide fuel for inflammatory joints, the ability to provide foam to help put out those fires. Fire extinguisher stuff but not quite as large !!

This was leading edge and had not the clock intervened (and the fact that the staff in the clinic where we meet wanted to close up!) we could have delved deep into the quite fascinating detail and implications.

Very many thanks to Guillaume for giving up his time. It was most appreciated.


Karim Raza InauguralKarim Raza delivered his Professorial Inaugural lecture “Rheumatoid arthritis: predicting the diagnosis and preventing damage” on Wednesday 6th June. 

Karim provided an overview of rheumatoid arthritis, highlighting how common it is and its cost – for the individual, the NHS and society. Karim discussed the research he has been involved with over the last 15 years at the University of Birmingham focusing on:  

  • Approaches to identifying those patients with a new onset of joint inflammation who will develop rheumatoid arthritis, as opposed to an arthritis that will get better by itself. Karim explained that accurate prediction would allow treatment to be targeted to those who really needed it.
  • Approaches to getting patients with a  new onset of rheumatoid arthritis to seek help quickly from their GP and for their GP to then refer then quickly to a Rheumatologist– allowing patients to start treatment in timely fashion 

About Karim Raza

Professor Karim Raza, BA, BMBCh, PhD, FRCP
Professor of Clinical Rheumatology and Honorary Consultant
School of Immunity and Infection 

Karim Raza qualified with a BMBCh from the University of Oxford in 1993 having completed a BA in Physiological Sciences in 1990. He moved to the West Midlands in 1997 for his postgraduate training in Rheumatology. In 2004 he completed his Rheumatology training and was awarded a PhD from the University of Birmingham for research on disease mechanisms and predictors of outcome in early arthritis. In the same year he was appointed as Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and an Honorary Consultant at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and was awarded the Michael Mason Prize by the British Society for Rheumatology. His research focuses on rheumatoid arthritis, addressing pathogenic mechanisms, biomarker development and strategies to enhance clinical outcomes for patients with a new onset of disease.


The Rheumatology Research Patient Partnership Group had its official launch on Friday 24th October 2014.

The day included an overview of activities of the Rheumatology Research Group and what it means to be a Patient Research Partner with talks from both Researchers and Patient Research Partners. A networking lunch allowed Researchers and Patient Research Partner to meet informally, discuss their research and share their experiences of living with a rheumatic disease.

Interactive training workshops in the afternoon included discussion on approaches to reviewing projects (in the fields of behavioural medicine and rheumatoid arthritis pathology) and to providing feedback.

The day was well received by all who attended:

  • The presenters made every effort to supply and explain as much information as possible; explained the benefits of research and how the patient partners can help.
  • Excellent ratio of clinicians to patient partners
  • Has increased my enthusiasm for the role of Patient Partner 


Can you prevent rheumatoid arthritis? Free event at the University of Birmingham (part of the British Science Festival)

University of Birmingham's Rheumatology Research Group present their findings on what causes Rheumatoid Arthritis, predictive testing and preventive treatment. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask the panel questions and to engage in debate and discussion.

For more information, please go to

When: Thursday 11 September 2014

Time: 10.00 - 11.00

Place: Lecture Theatre WG5, Aston Webb Building, University of Birmingham

Category: Our health