Dr Jonathan Mathers

Dr Jonathan Mathers

Institute of Applied Health Research
Senior Lecturer in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Applied Research

Contact details

Address
Institute of Applied Health Research
Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Jonathan is a Senior Lecturer in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Applied Health Research.  He has broad based expertise in the application of qualitative and mixed methods research approaches in a range of applied health and policy contexts.

He is currently the qualitative research lead for several UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded clinical trials and trial feasibility studies.  This research includes qualitative work with patients, parents of paediatric patients and a range of clinical staff involved in the delivery of clinical care and related trials.   His research interests include the application of qualitative methodologies to understand the patient experience of disease and treatments and how those insights translate to issues including;

  • the content and selection of outcomes for clinical research;
  • the acceptability of treatments and the related feasibility of clinical trials;
  • adaptation to chronic disease and the role of medical and surgical treatments in this.

Jonathan is currently conducting research in a range of clinical areas including Burns, Parkinson’s Disease, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

He has previously conducted evaluations of complex policy interventions, including projects that have examined the expansion of undergraduate medical education across England, the New Deal for Communities regeneration programme and the English Health Trainers initiative.  This work has been supported by research funders including the National Institute for Health Research (Policy Research Programme) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Qualifications

Senior Lecturer in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Applied Health Research

  • PhD (by publication), University of Birmingham, 2011
  • MPH, University of Birmingham, 2003
  • MSc, University of Hull, 1994
  • BSc, University of Derby, 1993

Teaching

  • MBChB
  • Public Health MPH/PGDip/PGCert
  • BMedSci

Postgraduate supervision

Jonathan is interested in supervising PhD students in areas related to his current research interests.

Research

Research themes

Jonathan is interested in the role that qualitative and mixed-methods approaches have in providing insights that are relevant to our understanding of important medical and social phenomena, and their interaction with health and social policy.  He is a senior member of the Social Studies in Medicine research grouping in the Institute of Applied Health Research. 

Jonathan’s current research themes include the application of qualitative methodologies to understand the patient experience of disease and treatments and how those insights translate to issues including;

  • the content and selection of outcomes for clinical research;
  • the acceptability of treatments and the related feasibility of clinical trials;
  • patients’ and carers’ adaptation to the impacts of chronic disease and the role of medical and surgical treatments in this.

Current / recent research projects

The Pegasus Study – is a mixed methods trial feasibility study funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme.  It is exploring the feasibility of a trial of pressure garment therapy for the prevention of hypertrophic scarring in burns.  Pegasus includes extensive qualitative and mixed methods research with burns patients and clinicians in order to gauge the acceptability and feasibility of the trial, and to inform patient-centred selection of outcome measures that represent the patient experience of pressure garment therapy.

STOP-COLITIS – is an NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation funded trial of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in achieving and maintaining remission for patients with ulcerative colitis.  The study includes qualitative research with patients and clinicians that will inform the selection of an optimal route of administration of the transplantation.

The ACCURE study – is an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit funded feasibility study for a trial of appendicectomy in ulcerative colitis.  Qualitative research has gathered data on the acceptability of this surgical intervention and the related clinical trial and has also explored how patients with ulcerative colitis attempt to adapt to life with the disease, and in turn how medical and surgical therapies play a role in this.

Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease – funded by the MRC this research included a systematic review of qualitative research that has examined the patient experience of this surgical procedure that is typically used in late stage Parkinson’s Disease.  This review has provided valuable new insights into patient perspectives on deep brain stimulation and has pointed to a need for further research into patient views so that clinical practice in this area can adequately consider these.

The Bluebelle Study – is an NIHR Health Technology Assessment funded feasibility study for a trial of post-surgical wound dressing types to prevent surgical site infection.  This study is a collaboration with researchers at Bristol University that has included a substantive qualitative component.

As well as Jonathan’s current research interests he has also published in a number of health policy related areas including research focusing on the expansion of undergraduate medical education, widening access to medicine policy, the impact of and public involvement in regeneration policy, and healthcare professionals’ reactions to health policy interventions.

Jonathan is interested in supervising PhD students in areas related to his current research interests.

Jonathan is the Director of the Birmingham Hub of the NIHR West Midlands Research Design Service.  As such he works with a range of applied health researchers and methodologists to support researchers developing applications for research funding to national peer-reviewed funding streams.

Other activities

Jonathan is the Director of the Birmingham Hub of the NIHR West Midlands Research Design Service.  As such he works with a range of applied health researchers and methodologists to support researchers developing applications for research funding to national peer-reviewed funding streams.

Publications

Recent publications

McMullan C, Pinkney T, Jones L, Magill L, Nepogodiev D, Pathmakanthan S, Cooney R, Mathers JM.  It’s not just about medication: Patients’ experiences of adapting to ulcerative colitis to live a ‘normal’ life.  BMJ Open 2017 (In press).

Jones J, Jones L, Keeley T, Calvert M, Mathers JM.  A review of patient and carer participation and the use of qualitative research in the development of core outcome sets.  PLoS ONE  2017. 12, 3, e0172937

Taylor R, Parry J, Mathers JMWho are community health workers and what do they do?  Development of an empirically-derived reporting taxonomy. J Public Health 2017. Apr 7: 1-11

Dean S, Mathers JM, Calvert M, Kyte D, Conroy D, Folkard A, Southworth S, Murray P, Denniston A.  The patient is speaking’: discovering the patient voice in ophthalmology.’ 2017. Online First: 28 April 2017.

Mathers JM, Taylor R, Parry J.  Measuring the impact of Health Trainers Services on health and health inequalities: does the data collection and reporting system provide reliable information?  Journal of Public Health 2016 oi:10.1093/pubmed/fdv21

The Bluebelle Study Group (Mathers JM – co-author). Bluebelle study (phase A): a mixed-methods feasibility study to inform an RCT of surgical wound dressing strategies. BMJ Open 2016;6:e012635. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012635

Mathers JM, Rick C, Jenkinson C, Garside R, Pall H, Mitchell R, Bayliss S, Jones L.  Patients’ and spouses’ experience of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease: Qualitative systematic review and synthesis.  BMJ Open 2016: 6:e011525.

Mathers JM, Sitch, A, Marsh J, Parry J.  Longitudinal assessment of the impact of the use of the UK clinical aptitude test for applicant selection.  Medical Education  2016: 50: 1033-1044

Mathers JM, Sitch, A, Marsh J, Parry J.  Population-based longitudinal analyses of offers likelihood in UK medical schools:1996-2012Medical Education 2016:50: 612-623

Keeley T, Williamson P, Peter C, Jones L, Mathers JM, Jones J, Young B, Calvert M.  The use of qualitative methods to inform Delphi surverys in core outcome set development. Trials. 2016. 17:230

Mathers JM, Keeley T, Jones L, Calvert M, Williamson P, Jones J, McMullan C, Wright S, Young B.  Using qualitative research to understand what outcomes matter to patients: direct and indirect approaches to outcome elicitation. Trials 2015. 16(sup 2)

Rooshenas L, McMullan C, Mathers J, Townsend D, Donovan J, Blazeby J, Bluebelle Study Management Group.  How pre-trial qualitative research can change proposed RCT design: a case study and implications for future research.  Trials 2015 16(sup 2)

Wright S, Jones L, Moiemen N, Grant M, Mathers JM, Gauging acceptability: the utility of a national attitudes survey toward a trial of pressure garment therapy for burns scar management.  Trials 2015 16(sup 2)

Keeley T, Khan H, Pinfold V, Williamson P, Mathers JM, Linda Davies, Ruth Sayers, Elizabeth England, Siobhan Reilly, Richard Byng, Linda Gask, Mike Clark, Peter Huxley, Peter Lewis, Maximillian Birchwood, Melanie Calvert.  Core outcome sets for use in effectiveness trials involving people with bipolar and schizophrenia in a community-based setting (PARTNERS2): study protocol for the development of two core outcome sets . Trials.  2015: 16: 47

Mathers JM, Taylor R, Parry J.  The Challenge of Implementing Peer-Led Interventions Within a Professionalised Health Service: A Case Study of the National Health Trainers Service in England. The Milbank Quarterly 2014; 92(4); 725-753