Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Jennifer McAnuff

NIHR/HEE Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow, Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist



I am an NIHR/HEE Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow and a Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist, working across Newcastle University and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust. My priority is to deliver high quality, research-led NHS services to children and young people with disabilities and their families. To help achieve this, I work with clinicians, service users, managers and researchers to generate more robust evidence about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of allied health interventions.

I qualified as an occupational therapist in 2001 and have worked in senior clinical roles in seven NHS child health services across the Midlands and North of England. Until March 2015, I led a citywide community occupational therapy service, working with multidisciplinary colleagues to improve the quality and efficiency of care across Leeds.

Academic Qualifications

Currently undertaking PhD Health Services Research, Newcastle University, 2015-18.

MSc Professional Health and Social Care Studies, York St. John University (Distinction), 2011.

Post-graduate Certificate Occupational Science, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2009.

BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Coventry University, 2001.

Professional Roles

Member of the Strategic Research Group of the British Academy of Childhood Disability (2015-present).

Member of the Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Advisory Panel at the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme (2013-16).

Associate Editor for BMJ Paediatrics Open (2016-present).

Peer reviewer for Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, International Conference of Cerebral Palsy/European Academy of Childhood Disability 2016, and UK Society for Behavioural Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting 2015.

Member of the #CountMeIn! network for advancing research and practice on participation outcomes and interventions (2015-present).

Personal Awards

NHS Leadership Academy National Leadership Recognition Awards: 

  • 2016 National Finalist, Emerging Leader of the Year
  • 2015 Regional Winner, North East Emerging Leader of the Year.
  • 2012 Nomination for the North of England NHS Emerging Leaders Network. 

2011 Post-graduate prize for academic achievement in recognition of my MSc thesis, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, York St. John University.

Selected Invited Presentations

  • McAnuff J, Featherstone J. Hope and Glory, or Secrets and Lies? Measuring participation outcomes in allied health services for children. Annual conference of the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists. Brighton, UK. 2016 (workshop).
  • McAnuff J, Armitage S. Space to think...Time to ACT! 5 ways to implement evidence-based practice, starting Monday. Annual conference of the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Children, Young People and Families. Coventry, UK. 2016 (keynote)
  • McAnuff J, Kay D, Seidel A, Kolehmainen N. Changing the environment to enable children and young people's participation: are we all talk and no action? European Academy of Childhood Disability Annual Scientific Meeting and International Conference on Cerebral Palsy. Stockholm, Sweden. 2016 (workshop).
  • McAnuff J. Raising our game and achieving impact in allied health interventions for children, young people and families. Annual conference of the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists. Newcastle, UK. 2015 (keynote).
  • McAnuff J, Kay D, Weiste E, Seidel A, Kolehmainen N. Leeds: Ready, Steady, Goal! An interactive workshop for parents and clinicians. Multi-agency knowledge translation event. Leeds, UK. 2015 (workshop).
  • McAnuff J, Powrie B. How can I use clinicians with research knowledge and skills to advance clinical care in my service area? Making a difference through clinical research: Opportunities for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. NIHR North East Regional Meeting. Newcastle, UK. 2015 (workshop).
  • McAnuff J. Good practice examples: Changing from negative to positive. Yorkshire and Humber Allied Health Professional Forum. Leeds, UK. 2013 (oral).
  • Kolehmainen N, McAnuff J. Outcome measurement in rehabilitation: the importance and issues. NHS Fife Child Health AHP Outcomes Day. Dunfermline, UK. 2013 (oral).
  • Swales H, McAnuff J. Your name in lights! How to publish your clinical research. Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Research and Innovation Conference. Leeds, UK. 2013 (workshop).
  • McAnuff J, Kolehmainen N. Exciting opportunities for advancing occupational therapy practice - what role will you play? Annual conference of the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Children, Young People and Families. Chester, UK. 2013 (oral).


Research Interests

  • Children and young people with disabilities
  • Family-centred and person-centred practice
  • Family-clinician communication and interaction
  • Development, evaluation and implementation of complex interventions in allied health professions
  • Research engagement and capacity building in allied health professions

Current Research

My PhD research focuses on improving health in children with disabilities. Participating in leisure activities is important for the health and well-being of all children. Children with disabilities, particularly communication and mobility limitations, participate in leisure much less than other children, and the gap widens at age 8-12 years.

My research project asks: what influences participation in leisure in these children? What can NHS clinicians do to support them? And, how should clinicians go about doing it? To answer these, the project will: review existing evidence; ask clinicians, parents and children for their views; work with clinicians, parents and children to turn their ideas into specific, practical solutions; and try out the solutions in the NHS.

Follow these links for more information:


NIHR/HEE Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship. £272,227. Apr 2015-Mar 2018.

NIHR Research Capability Funding, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust. £40,469. Apr 2012-Mar 2016.

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Charitable Trust. £3,000. Sept 2013-Mar 2014.

British Academy of Childhood Disability. Continuing Professional Development bursary. £600. Oct 2013.

College of Occupational Therapists, Elizabeth Casson Memorial Trust. Continuing Professional Development bursary. £400. September 2012.



As a senior clinician, I have provided teaching sessions on a range of clinical, professional and research topics including:

Seminars on child development and occupational therapy for young people with disabilities: MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration), Leeds Beckett University.

Lectures on current drivers and evidence base in children's occupational therapy: BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, York St. John University.

Seminars on qualitative secondary analysis research methods and workshops on delivering a successful dissertation: MSc Professional Health and Social Care Studies, York St. John University.

Mentoring, Supervision, Consultation

I mentor senior allied health professionals in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region, specifically in relation to their local research and development projects, leadership roles, career development and research engagement. I provide clinical supervision to occupational therapists and clinical and research supervision to MSc students (pre- and post-registration).

I have provided service redesign consultancy to the community occupational therapy managers in Cumbria (England) and Fermanagh (Northern Ireland), supporting the teams to reduce waiting times, improve quality of care, improve efficiency, and raise staff morale.