Dr Janet McDonagh MD, FRCP

Dr Janet McDonagh

Senior Lecturer in Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology

Contact details

School of Immunity and Infection
Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS foundation Trust
Steelhouse Lane
B4 6NH

Janet McDonagh is Clinical Senior lecturer in Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology. 

Janet has published 29 original research papers in scientific journals as well as 19 reviews and 11 book chapters in the fields of rheumatology and adolescent health care in other fields including diabetes, solid organ transplantation. She has received grants from Arthritis Research UK and NIHR as well as from BCH Research Foundation, The British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (CORE grant) and The Pharmacy Practice Research Trust. 

She is an enthusiastic communicator on the theme of adolescent health and transitional care for young people with long term conditions giving frequent lectures to various groups at local, national and international level. 


  • FRCP 2005
  • MD 1997
  • MRCP 1989
  • MB BS 1986


Janet McDonagh qualified with a MB BS from the University of Newcastle in 1986. After passing her MRCP in 1989 she went on to study for a MD in the immunogenetics of rheumatoid arthritis. Whilst an adult rheumatology trainee in London she furthered her interest in childhood onset rheumatic disease which had begun in Newcastle with clinical experience at Great Ormond Street Hospital. She then entered fulltime paediatric rheumatology as a lecturer in paediatric rheumatology at the University of Birmingham in 1997. In 1998 she was awarded a travelling fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow to the Adolescent Employment Readiness Centre and NIH, Bethesda in 1998, furthering her interest in adolescent health. Her first NHS consultant job was at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Middlesex Adolescent Unit as consultant paediatric and adolescent rheumatologist, concentrating particularly on the adolescent age group. During this time she was awarded an Arthritis Research UK grant to undertake a multicentre study of transitional care and was subsequently appointed clinical senior lecturer in Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology at the University of Birmingham. In this role she developed a dedicated adolescent rheumatology service and was awarded the 2005 national BUPA clinical Excellence award for translating her transitional care research into NHS clinical practice.

In addition to her clinical rheumatology commitments, she became clinical lead for adolescent health at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in October 2010 and is a trustee of the Association for Young People’s Health.


Teaching Programmes

Postgraduate supervision

Janet is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Transitional care for young people with long term conditions

If you are interesting in studying this subject area please contact Janet on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: dr@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.   



Adolescent health and transitional care


Adolescent health care (including transitional care) for young people with long term conditions has been recognised as important for some time in the UK but only recently has it been specifically highlighted in national guidance documents and become the focus for research.

Transitional care in adolescent rheumatology

The main emphasis of Janet’s work over the last 10 years has been on the development of transitional care. This work started with her first major multicentre study in rheumatology which was the first objective evaluation of an evidence based transitional care programme in any chronic illness to date and as such is widely referenced. Key findings included the positive benefits of such transitional care in terms of quality of life, disease knowledge, patient and parent satisfaction, and vocational readiness. This study also led on to further work regarding vocational readiness in young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

Transitional care for Young people with Long term conditions

In the light of the non-categorical nature of chronic illness during adolescence, Janet has since developed collaborations beyond rheumatology and is currently working on transitional care research within liver transplantation, diabetes, cerebral palsy and autism. She is also a member for reference groups for the following research projects: the STEPP project (Supporting Transitions for young people with lifelimiting conditions: researching evidence of positive practice. Funded by the Big Lottery Research Programme and led by the Social Policy Research Unit, University of York); An ESRC funded study at the University of Exeter (“Mastering chronic illness while growing up: the experiences of young adults and the advice they give to their contemporaries”.  http://sites.pcmd.ac.uk/guci/ ) and is a member of the review team for a forthcoming Cochrane review of transitional care.

Adolescent health training for health professionals

Janet identified a major barrier to the delivery of adolescent health and transitional care to be the lack of training, similar to reports from Europe and North America. This discovery led to her involvement in the successful RCPCH elearning project which is the first formal training opportunity in adolescent health outside mental health in the UK. She is also member of faculty of the Euteach initiative responsible for the development of modules in transitional care, chronic illness and chronic pain during adolescence.

Juvenile SLE

Over a quarter of all SLE starts during adolescence and in view of her interest in this area, Janet is the Local PI for Multicentre study: UK Juvenile Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Cohort Study & Repository (UK JSLE R&R). “Clinical characteristics and immunopathology of juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus” http://www.liv.ac.uk/ukjsle/index.htm.


Clinical excellence award for work that demonstrates an improved clinical outcome for patients (duration: 2.11)

Other activities

  • Honorary consultant paediatric and adolescent rheumatologist & Clinical Lead for Adolescent Health at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Reference Group member for the Transition Information Network (www.transitioninfonetwork.org.uk)
  • Vice chair of Adolescent and Young Adult strategy Group at Royal College of Physicians, London
  • Module Author for the RCPCH Adolescent Health e-learning Project (funded by the Department of Health) www.e-lfh.org.uk
  • Member of the faculty of the European Teaching Effective Adolescent Care and Health (www.euteach.com) initiative
  • Member of reference group for the DH funded “Supporting Young Adults with Renal Disease” service evaluation project (http://www.kidneycare.nhs.uk/_Ourworkprogrammes-Renalreplacementtherapies-SupportingYoungAdults.aspx)
  • Member of steering group of the RCPCH Young Persons Health Special Interest Group (www.yphsig.org.uk) and editor of their monthly newsletter which started life as a resource newsletter for the 10 centres in the original rheumatology transitional care research programme and now goes to over 300 health professionals across the world and was subsequently adopted by YPHSIG ! 


McDonagh JE, Southwood TR, Shaw KL (2007). The impact of a coordinated transitional care programme on adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Rheumatology 46(1):161-8.

Shaw KL, Southwood TR, McDonagh JE (2007). Young People’s satisfaction of transitional care in adolescent rheumatology in the UK.  Child: Care, Health & Development 2007;33:368-379

Shaw KL, Southwood TR, McDonagh JE (2007). Development and preliminary validation of the “Mind the Gap” scale to assess satisfaction with transitional health care among adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Child: Care, Health & Development;33:380-388

McDonagh JE. (2008) Young People first – JIA second. Arthritis Care and Research; 59:1162-1170

McDonagh JE, Kaufman M (2009). The Challenging Adolescent. Rheumatology (Oxford) Aug;48(8):872-5.

McDonagh JE, Kaufman M (2009).  Transition from paediatric to adult care post solid organ transplantation. Current Opinions in Organ Transplantation 2009;14:526-532

Lal SD, McDonagh J, Baildam E, Wedderburn LR, Gardner-Medwin J, Foster HE, Chieng A, Davidson J, Adib, N, Thomson W and Hyrich KL. Agreement between Parent and Adolescent Assessment of Disability, Pain and Well-Being: Results from the Childhood Arthritis Prospective Study (CAPS). J Pediatr. 2011 Feb;158(2):307-12.

McDonagh JE, Kelly D (2010): The challenges and opportunities for transitional care research. Pediatr Transplant;14(6):688-700

View all publications in research portal