Dr Sarah Hughes BSc, MHSc, PhD, MRCSLT

Dr Sarah Hughes

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research (CPROR)
Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sarah is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research (CPROR), Institute of Applied Health Research. Her research interests focus on the development and validation of patient reported outcomes and their implementation within the evolving landscapes of health and social care. She has methodological expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods research, evidence syntheses, and psychometrics.


  • PhD in patient reported outcomes, Swansea University, 2021
  • MHSc in Speech Pathology, University of Toronto, 1996
  • BSc, Biology with Psychology, Acadia University, 1994


Sarah studied at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada for a BSc in Biology and Psychology (1990-1994) and at The University of Toronto for a MHSc in Speech-Language Pathology (1994-1996). She completed her PhD in patient reported outcomes (2014-2021) at Swansea University under the supervision of Professor Hayley Hutchings. During her PhD, Sarah was a visiting scholar at the Australian Hearing Hub and the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney (2016-2020). Sarah was awarded the prestigious James Callaghan Scholarship from Swansea University in 2017.

Sarah joined The University of Birmingham as a Research Fellow in 2020. Prior to taking up her post at the University, Sarah practiced as a speech and language therapist in Canada and the United Kingdom’s NHS, specialising in hearing impairment and cochlear implantation (1996-2020).

Since joining the Centre for Patient Reported Outcome Research at The University of Birmingham, Sarah has undertaken evidence syntheses and mixed-methods research focussing on the development and implementation of patient reported outcomes (PROs) across a range of contexts and health conditions.


Teaching activity:

  • MSc Clinical Trials
  • MPH
  • MBChB

Postgraduate supervision

If you are interested in undertaking a PhD which aligns with Sarah’s research interests then please get in touch.


Sarah’s research focusses on the use of PROs in routine care and in trials.  Her current interests include the development and validation of PROs measuring symptom burden in hearing loss, long covid and precision therapeutics. 

She is also interested in understanding patient perspectives relating to PRO implementation, digital healthcare innovation, and regulatory science.

Recent and Current projects:

  • TLC Study (Funder: NIHCR)
  • PROs in Social Care (Funder: NIHCR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands)
  • Patient-reported outcomes assessment to support accelerated access to advanced cell and gene therapies: PROmics (Funder: INNOVATE)

Other activities

  • Member, Research Committee, Institute of Applied Health Research (2022- current)
  • Member, H2020 EC Marie-Curie ITN project “Innovative Hearing Aid Research – Ecological Conditions and Outcome Measures” (HEAR-ECO) Final Workshop Expert Panel (2022)
  • Member, Scientific Committee, UK PROMs Conference 2022
  • Member, Deaf Awareness Working Group (BSA, ENT UK, SignHealth, and RNID) (2021-current)
  • Member, Steering Committee. Both EARS training package (BEARS) to maximise hearing abilities in teenage bilateral cochlear implant users, University of Cambridge (2021-current)
  • Member, Trials Outcomes Methodology Research Partnership, PRO Theme Working Group (2020- current)
  • Member, ISOQOL Data Visualisation SIG (2021-current)


Recent publications


Turner, G, McMullan, C, Aiyegbusi, OL, Hughes, S, Walker, A, Jeyes, F, Adler, Y, Chong, A, Buckland, L, Stanton, DE, Davies, EH, Haroon, S & Calvert, M 2023, 'Co-production of a feasibility trial of pacing interventions for Long COVID', Research Involvement & Engagement. <https://researchinvolvement.biomedcentral.com/>

Aiyegbusi, OL, Davies, EH, Myles, PR, Williams, T, Frost, C, Haroon, S, Hughes, S, Wilson, R, McMullan, C, Subramanian, A, Nirantharakumar, K & Calvert, M 2023, 'Digitally enabled decentralised research: opportunities to improve the efficiency of clinical trials and observational studies', BMJ evidence-based medicine. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjebm-2023-112253

Chandan, J, Brown, K, Simms-Williams, N, Bashir, NZ, Camaradou, J, Heining, D, Turner, G, Cruz Rivera, S, Hotham, R, Minhas, S, Nirantharakumar, K, Sivan, M, Khunti, K, Raindi, D, Marwaha, S, Hughes, S, McMullan, C, Marshall, T, Calvert, M, Haroon, S & Aiyegbusi, OL 2023, 'Non-pharmacological therapies for post-viral syndromes, including Long COVID: a systematic review', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 20, no. 4, 3477. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043477

Hughes, S, Haroon, S, Subramanian, A, McMullan, C, Aiyegbusi, OL, Turner, G, Jackson, L, Davies, EH, Frost, C, McNamara, G, Price, G, Matthews, K, Camaradou, J, Ormerod, J, Walker, A & Calvert, M 2022, 'Development and validation of the symptom burden questionnaire for long covid (SBQ-LC): Rasch analysis', BMJ, vol. 377, e070230. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2022-070230

Cruz Rivera, S, Liu, X, Hughes, S, Dunster, H, Manna, E, Denniston, A & Calvert, M 2023, 'Embedding patient-reported outcomes at the heart of artificial intelligence healthcare technologies', The Lancet Digital Health, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. e168-e173. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2589-7500(22)00252-7

Hughes, S, McMullan, C, Rowe, A, Retzer, A, Malpass, R, Bathurst, C, Davies, EH, Frost, C, McNamara, G, Harding, R, Price, G, Wilson, R, Walker, A, Newsome, P & Calvert, M 2022, 'Feasibility of a new electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) system for an advanced therapy clinical trial in immune-mediated inflammatory disease (PROmics): protocol for a qualitative feasibility study', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 9, e063199. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-063199

Chandan, J, Brown, K, Simms-Williams, N, Camaradou, J, Bashir, NZ, Heining, D, Aiyegbusi, OL, Turner, G, Cruz Rivera, S, Hotham, R, Nirantharakumar, K, Sivam, M, Khunti, K, Raindi, D, Marwaha, S, Hughes, S, McMullan, C, Calvert, M & Haroon, S 2022, 'Non-pharmacological therapies for post-viral syndromes, including Long COVID: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 4, e057885. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057885

Hughes, S, Boisvert, I, McMahon, C, Steyn, A & Neal, K 2022, 'Perceived listening ability and hearing loss: systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis', PLOS One, vol. 17, no. 10, e0276265. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0276265

Subramanian, A, Nirantharakumar, K, Hughes, S, Myles, PR, Williams, T, Gokhale, K, Taverner, T, Chandan, J, Brown, K, Simms-Williams, N, Shah, A, Singh, M, Kidy, F, Okoth, K, Hotham, R, Bashir, N, Cockburn, N, Lee, S, Turner, G, Gkoutos, G, Aiyegbusi, OL, McMullan, C, Denniston, A, Sapey, E, Lord, J, Wraith, D, Leggett, E, Iles, C, Marshall, T, Price, M, Marwaha, S, Davies, EH, Jackson, L, Matthews, K, Camaradou, J, Calvert, M & Haroon, S 2022, 'Symptoms and risk factors for long COVID in non-hospitalised adults', Nature Medicine, vol. 2022, no. 8, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01909-w

Haroon, S, Nirantharakumar, K, Hughes, S, Subramanian, A, Aiyegbusi, OL, Davies, EH, Myles, PR, Williams, T, Turner, G, Chandan, J, McMullan, C, Lord, J, Wraith, D, McGee, K, Denniston, A, Taverner, T, Jackson, L, Sapey, E, Gkoutos, G, Gokhale, K, Leggett, E, Iles, C, Frost, C, McNamara, G, Bamford, A, Marshall, T, Zemedikun, D, Price, G, Marwaha, S, Simms-Williams, N, Brown, K, Walker, A, Jones, K, Matthews, K, Camaradou, J, Saint-Cricq , M, Kumar, S, Alder , Y, Stanton, DE, Agyen , L, Baber , M, Blaize , H & Calvert, M 2022, 'Therapies for Long COVID in non-hospitalised individuals: from symptoms, patient-reported outcomes and immunology to targeted therapies (The TLC Study)', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 4, e060413. https://doi.org/10.1136/ bmjopen-2021-060413


Aiyegbusi, OL, Hughes, S & Calvert, M 2022, The role of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in the improvement of healthcare delivery and service. in AP Kassianos (ed.), Handbook of Quality of Life in Cancer. 1 edn, Springer, pp. 339-352. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84702-9_20


Boisvert, I, Dunn, AG, Lundmark, E, Smith-Merry, J, Lipworth, W, Willink, A, Hughes, SE, Nealon, M & Calvert, M 2023, 'Disruptions to the hearing health sector', Nature Medicine, vol. 29, pp. 19-21. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-02086-6

Routen, A, O'Mahoney, LL, Aiyegbusi, OL, Alder , Y, Banerjee, A, Buckland, L, Brightling, CE, Calvert, M, Camaradou, J, Chaturvedi, N, Chong, A, Dalrymple, E, Eggo, RM, Elliott, P, Evans, RA, Gibson, A, Haroon, S, Herrett, E, Houchen-Wolloff, L, Hughes, S, Jeyes, F, Matthews, K, McMullan, C, Morley, J, Shafran, R, Smith, N, Stanton, DE, Stephenson, T, Sterne, JAC, Turner, G, Ward, H & Khunti, K 2023, 'Patient and public involvement within epidemiological studies of Long Covid in the United Kingdom', Nature Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02251-5

Calvert, M, Cruz Rivera, S, Retzer, A, Hughes, S, Campbell, L, Molony-Oates, B, Aiyegbusi, OL, Stover, AM, Wilson, R, McMullan, C, Anderson, N, Turner, G, Davies, EH, Verdi, R, Velikova, G, Kamudoni, P, Syed, M, Gheorghe, A, O'Connor, D, Liu, X, Wu, AW & Denniston, A 2022, 'Patient reported outcome assessment must be inclusive and equitable', Nature Medicine, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 1120-1124. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01781-8

Review article

Aiyegbusi, OL, Hughes, S, Peipert, JD, Schougaard, L, Wilson, R & Calvert, M 2023, 'Reducing the pressures of outpatient care: the potential role of patient-reported outcomes', Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol. 116, no. 2, pp. 44-64. https://doi.org/10.1177/01410768231152222

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