Dr Rachel Adams

Health Services Management Centre
Research Fellow

Contact details

Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT

Rachel Adams is a qualitative researcher, currently working for Professor Nicola Gale on her portfolio of research. This includes qualitative sub-studies running alongside respiratory trials and public health ethnographic research in the area of public health – aimed at reducing diarrhoea and malnutrition in young children.

She is passionate about enabling people’s voices to be heard, whether they are patients, NHS staff, or members of the public. She is also passionate about representation and matters relating to equality, diversity and inclusion issues.


  • PhD - University of Birmingham (2013)
  • BSc - University of Durham (2000)


Rachel joined the Institute for Applied Health Research (IAHR) in 2006 as a PhD student looking at relational work and power around shared decision-making in primary care consultations. Her thesis used linguistic theory and qualitative methods. During this time she was employed as a casual worker on a number of primary care trials (particularly smoking cessation) and also took maternity leave. Since graduation she has worked on a number of projects within IAHR – including various smoking cessation studies, e-cigarette use, NHS staff health and the impact of COVID, child and maternal health, and healthy eating in children. Her work has included the management of both qualitative and trials’ research. 

In 2019 her interest in smoking cessation led her to work on a large international programme concerned with building research capacity in the areas of respiratory health and smoking cessation in 4 middle income countries (China, Brazil, North Macedonia & Georgia). With Professor Gale as qualitative lead, she provided training and day to day support for the programme’s qualitative research, and also trials’ management support.

Rachel began working directly with Professor Gale in Feb 2022 on qualitative sub-studies for trials based in IAHR. During this time the number of projects she was working on expanded and I officially joined HSMC in Aug 2022. 

Prior to moving to the University of Birmingham, she spent 5 years working in similar roles at the Universities of Warwick, Newcastle and Durham. Her first degree is in medical anthropology from the University of Durham. She studied at the Stockton Campus.

With regards EDI interests, she is a single parent & a carer of older relatives. She used to co-chair the University’s Parents and Carers’ staff support network and she is still an active committee member, in addition she is a member of the College of MDS’s menopause support group at the University of Birmingam. As a bi-person she is also an active member of Birmingham’s LGBTQ+ community.


Rachel's work is largely qualitative (however, she also has experience of trials’ management).

  • Methodologically: She has extensive experience of interviews, thematic & Framework analysis; politeness/relational theory; process evaluation; medical trials & clinical research generally.
  • Areas of interest: Respiratory disease; doctor-patient communication; smoking cessation; e-cigs; user satisfaction; antibiotic use; NHS staff health.
  • In addition: she has experience of focus groups; conversation analysis; linguistic theory; COM-B model of behaviour change (capability, opportunity & motivation); co-analysis; photo-voice; systematic reviews; healthy eating. 
    She also have knowledge of: ethnography; linguistic analysis using concordancing software; discourse analysis; Delphi rounds.
  • Areas she would like to develop: action/participatory research; placebo effect; Medically unexplained symptoms; NHS workplace culture.


Recent publications


Williams, S, Fernandes, G, Adab, P, Adams, R, Correia de Sousa, J, Chi, C, Dickens, AP, Enocson, A, Farley, A, Maglakelidze , M, Maglakelidze, T, Martins, S, Sitch, A, Stamenova, A, Stavrikj, K, Stelmach , R, Turner, A, Pang, H, Zhang, J & Jordan, RE 2024, 'Strengthening clinician-researchers’ communication and knowledge translation skills: An innovative game model from the Breathe Well group', Inquiry.

Gjorgjievski, D, Stavrikj, K, Jordan, R, Adab, P, Stanoevski, G, Stamenova, A, Krstevska, E, Simonovska, S, Trpcheski, F, Adams, R, Easter, C, Rai, K, Cheng, KK, Chi, C, Cooper, BG, Correia-de-Sousa, J, Dickens, AP, Enocson, A, Gale, N, Jolly, K, Jowett, S, Maglakelidze, M, Maghlakelidze, T, Martins, S, Sitch, A, Stelmach, R, Turner, A, Williams, S & Farley, A 2023, 'Randomised controlled trial testing effectiveness of feedback about lung age or exhaled CO combined with very brief advice for smoking cessation compared to very brief advice alone in North Macedonia: findings from the Breathe Well group', BMC Public Health, vol. 23, no. 1, 1887. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-023-16644-1

Pallan, M, Murphy, M, Morrison, B, Pokhilenko, I, Sitch, A, Frew, E, Rawdin, C, Adams, R, Adamson, A, Bartington, S, Dobell, A, Duff, R, Griffin, T, Hurley, K, Lancashire, E, McLeman, L, Passmore, S, Ravaghi, V, Spence, S & Adab, P 2023, 'School food policy in secondary schools in England and its impact on adolescents’ diets and dental health: the FUEL multiple-methods study', NIHR Journals Library.

Martins, SM, Dickens, A, Salibe-Filho , W, Albuquerque Neto , AA, Adab, P, Enocson, A, Cooper, BG, Sousa, LVA, Sitch, A, Jowett, S, Adams, R, Cheng, KK, Chi, C, Correia-de-Sousa, J, Farley, A, Gale, N, Jolly, K, Maglakelidze, M, Maghlakelidze, T, Stavrikj, K, Turner, A, Williams, S, Jordan, R & Stelmach, R 2022, 'Accuracy and economic evaluation of different screening tests and their combinations for undiagnosed COPD among people with hypertension in Brazil', NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, vol. 32, 55 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41533-022-00303-w

Pang, H, Pan, Z, Adams, R, Duncan, E, Chi, C, Kong, X, Adab, P, Cheng, KK, Cooper, B, Correia-de-Sousa, J, Dickens, A, Enocson, A, Farley, A, Gale, N, Jolly, K, Jowett, S, Maglakelidze, M, Maglakelidze, T, Martins, S, Sitch, A, Stavrikj, K, Stelmach, R, Turner, A, Williams, S & Jordan, R 2022, 'Community lung health service design for COPD patients in China by the Breathe Well group', NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, vol. 32, no. 1, 27. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41533-022-00286-8

Adams, R, Jordan, R, Adab, P, Barrett, T, Bevan, S, Cooper, L, DuRand, I, Hardy, P, Heneghan, N, Jolly, K, Jowett, S, Marshall, T, O'Hara, M, Rai, K, Rickards, H, Riley, R, Sadhra, S, Tearne, S, Walters, G & Sapey, E 2022, 'Enhancing the health of NHS staff: eTHOS. Protocol for a randomised controlled pilot trial of an employee health screening clinic for NHS staff to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, compared with usual care', Pilot and Feasibility Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, 155. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-022-01095-z

Maglakelidze , M, Kurua, I, Maglakelidze, N, Maglakelidze, T, Chkhaidze, I, Gogvadze, K, Chkhaidze, N, Beadle, H, Redden-Rowley, K, Adab, P, Adams, R, Chi, C, Cheng, KK, Cooper, B, Correia-de-Sousa, J, Dickens, A, Enocson, A, Farley, A, Gale, N, Jowett, S, Martins, SM, Rai, K, Sitch, A, Stavrikj, K, Stelmach , R, Turner, A, Williams, S, Jordan, R & Jolly, K 2022, 'Feasibility of a pulmonary rehabilitation programme for patients with symptomatic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Georgia: a single site, randomized controlled trial from the Breathe Well Group', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 9, e056902. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056902

Abdel-Aal, A, Lisspers, K, Williams, S, Adab, P, Adams, R, Agarwal, D, Barnard, A, Bouloukak, I, van Boven, JFM, Chavannes, N, Dickens, A, van Gemert, F, Escarrer, M, Haroon, S, Kayongo, A, Kirenga, B, Kocks, JWH, Kotz, D, Newby, C, McNulty, CAM, Metting, E, Moral, L, Papadakis, S, Pinnock, H, Price, D, Ryan, D, Singh, SJ, Correia-de-Sousa, J, Ställberg, B, Szefler, SJ, Taylor, SJC, Tsiligianni, I, Turner, A, Weller, D, Yusuf, O, Tabyshova, AK & Jordan, R 2022, 'Prioritising primary care respiratory research needs: results from the 2020 International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) global e-Delphi exercise', NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, vol. 32, no. 1, 6. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41533-021-00266-4

Pan, Z, Dickens, A, Chi, C, Kong, X, Enocson, A, Cooper, B, Adab, P, Cheng, KK, Sitch, A, Jowett, S, Adams, R, Correia-de-Sousa, J, Farley, A, Gale, N, Jolly, K, Maglakelidze , M, Maglakelidze , T, Martins , S, Stavrikj, K, Stelmach , R, Turner, A, Williams, S & Jordan, R 2021, 'Accuracy and cost-effectiveness of different screening strategies for identifying undiagnosed COPD among primary care patients (≥40 years) in China: a cross-sectional screening test accuracy study. Findings from the Breathe Well group', BMJ open, vol. 11, no. 9, e051811. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051811

Riley, M, Swann, A, Morris, AJ, Martins, SM, Adams, R & Jordan, R 2021, 'Knowledge, attitudes and practices of patients and healthcare professionals regarding oral health and COPD in São Paulo, Brazil: a qualitative study', NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, vol. 31, no. 1, 20. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41533-021-00235-x

Gjorgjievski, D, Ristovska, R, Stavrikj, K, Farley, A, Adab, P, Adams, R, Dickens, A, Enocson, A, Stanoevski, G, Gale, N, Jowett, S, Rai, K, Sitch, A, Stamenova, A, Krstevska, E & Jordan, R 2020, 'Effectiveness of combining feedback about lung age or exhaled carbon monoxide levels with Very Brief Advice (VBA) and support for smoking cessation in primary care compared to giving VBA and support alone – protocol for a randomized controlled trial within the Breathe Well research program', Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 8, no. E, pp. 28-36. https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2020.4519

Jackson, D, Davison, I, Adams, R, Edordu, A & Picton, A 2019, 'A systematic review of supervisory relationships in general practitioner training: a qualitative synthesis ', Medical Education, vol. 53, no. 9, pp. 874-885. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.13897

Aveyard, P, Lindson, N, Tearne, S, Adams, R, Ahmed, K, Alekna, R, Banting, M, Healy, M, Khan, S, Rai, G, Wood, C, Anderson, EC, Ataya-Williams, A, Attwood, A, Easey, K, Fluharty, M, Freuler, T, Hurse, M, Khouja, J, Lacey, L, Munafò, M, Lycett, D, McEwen, A, Coleman, T, Dickinson, A, Lewis, S, Orton, S, Perdue, J, Randall, C, Anderson, R, Bisal, N, Hajek, P, Homsey, C, McRobbie, HJ, Myers-Smith, K, Phillips, A, Przulj, D, Li, J, Coyle, D, Coyle, K & Pokhrel, S 2018, 'Nicotine preloading for smoking cessation: the Preloading RCT', Health Technology Assessment. https://doi.org/10.3310/hta22410

Soundy, A, Roskell, C, Adams, R, Elder, T & Dawes, H 2016, 'Understanding health care professional-patient interactions in Multiple Sclerosis: A systematic review and thematic synthesis', Open Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 187-217. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojtr.2016.44018


Soundy, A, Roskell, C, Adams, R, Elder, T & Dawes, H 2016, 'How people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) experience interaction with healthcare professionals'.

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