Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia

Staff Profile

Professor Helen Foster




Helen trained originally in adult medicine, adult rheumatology and subsequently in general paediatrics and paediatric rheumatology.

She leads active clinical and educational research programmes focussing on identifying barriers to specialist care, and has developed novel educational tools to facilitate earlier diagnosis and referral. 

She is a champion of best practice and an advocate for 'right child, right place, right treatment, right time'. She has represented paediatric rheumatology at a national and international level and contributed to NICE guidance.

Her work has a global perspective to raise awareness and lobby for change to address unmet need for children and young people with musculoskeletal problems. 

Current Roles and Responsibilities

Clinical Academic Faculty Newcastle University Medical School Malaysia 

Chair Paediatric Global Musculoskeletal Task Force

Advisor to Public Health England - Musculoskeletal Framework  

Advisor to World Health Organisation - Musculoskeletal disabilities in children 

Founder and Chief Editor Paediatric Musculoskeletal Matters -

Pediatric Rheumatology Online Journal Editorial Board 

Previous roles

Clinical academic lead paediatric rheumatology Newcastle University, UK

Honorary Consultant Great North Children's Hospital, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Lead North East and North Cumbria Paediatrics Clinical Research Network 2014-2017 

Lead Clinical Reference Group Paediatric Medicine (rheumatology) - NHS England Specialist Commissioning 2012-2015

Chair Royal College Paediatrics and Child Health Specialist Advisory Committee (Rheumatology) - 2002-2015, Training Advisor, Quality Advisor

Chair European League Against Rheumatism / Paediatric Rheumatology European Society Recommendations for Transitional Care 2014-2016

Scientific and Founding member Arthritis Research UK/MCRN Paediatric Rheumatology Clinical Studies Group (initiative of Medicines for Children Research Network and Arthritis Research UK to develop research strategy for paediatric rheumatology in the UK) - 2009-2014

Board member British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology 2007-2013

Board member Paediatric Rheumatology European Society Training and Education Committee - 2007-2013

Associate Editor Rheumatology journal 2008-2014


MBBS (Newcastle) Hons 1985
MRCP 1988
MD 1991
DCH 1995
FRCP 2000
Cert Med Ed 2002

Previous Positions

Arthritis Research Campaign Clinical Senior Lecturer Paediatric Rheumatologist (2001 - 2007)
NHS Consultant Rheumatologist (1996 - 2001), Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust
Arthritis Research Campaign Junior Research Fellowship (1989-1991)

Honours and Awards

Barbara Ansell Invited lecture - British Society for Rheumatology Annual Meeting 2018 

British Society for Rheumatology Best Model of Practice award 2018 for 'Rightpath' (Paediatric Musculoskeletal Triage in the community) in partnership with Pennine MSK and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

Innovation in Rheumatology - Educational Research Award 2007

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society Patient in Focus award - Independence weekends for adolescents with rheumatic disease awarded to Newcastle paediatric rheumatology team - 2005

"Moving Forwards" - Team Award 2004

Hospital Doctor Finalist - 2001

Academic secretary

Janet Herdman

Institute of Cellular Medicine

Faculty of Medical Sciences

Musculoskeletal Research Group M2.124,

2nd Floor Leech Building

Newcastle University, UK

0191 208 8936


Research Interests

Focus on identifying, describing and understanding barriers and drivers to the 'right care' for children with musculoskeletal problems.

Our work developed within the NHS in the UK has progressed to the wider health care context in low and middle resource income countries around the world.

Interventions include:

  • Developing and evaluating evidence based educational resources targeting users involved in care pathways for children.
  • Models of care to optimise interface working to deliver right care for children to facilitate earlier diagnosis and referral to specialist care as appropriate.
  • Use of e-technologies to optimise reach and impact of our interventions.

We have numerous clinical research collaborations with academic institutions and at national and international levels.

Our work has informed international Standards of Care, Best Practice, NICE guidance and Models of Care.


Undergraduate (Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia campus): MBBS programme 

Founder and academic lead for e-learning portfolio
  • pGALS app including multiple language translations 
  • e-modules targeting medical students, primary care and paediatricians -

Founder and Chief Editor of Paediatric Musculoskeletal Matters -

  • PMM launched November 2014, as a free evidence based e-resource. NICE approved 2016 
  • PMM International launched 2018 -  revised content with global partners launched 2018
  • PMM-Nursing launched 2017 and Royal College Nursing Endorsed 2018, 2019