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Prof Sally Fowler Davis

Professor in Allied Health

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Allied Health and Social Care
Research Supervision:

Based on over 30 years in academic practice, Sally is experienced in research and complex evaluation, policy implementation and curriculum re-design and has worked continuously with the NHS and the wider health economy to improve population health.

[email protected]

Twitter: @SallyFowlerDav1


Sally is a registered occupational therapist and has worked clinically and in leadership roles and policy context to promote and sustain best practice in allied health professions, with particular interest in clinical academic careers and using research practices to drive evidence-based transformation. Her current role is another joint position with East Suffolk, North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) with the aim of sustaining research development to benefit patient populations. This activity aligns well with the leadership of research within the School of Allied Health.

Sally’s expertise is in organisational and implementation research using ethnographic and participatory methods to engage communities of practitioners, patients and wider communities in the planning, processing and evaluation of health improvements.  She has completed multiple complex process evaluations for large scale RCT (randomised control trials) and is interested in public and patient involvement and engagement activity having led many longstanding groups. With a strong track record in studies involving older adults her current funded research is associated with cognitive frailty and environmental risk factors (BBSRC/MRC) adapting and applying machine learning and robotics to home and lifestyle of older people (EPSRC/UKRI) and international projects that focus on climate change and planetary health interventions (Global Challenge Research Fund).

Area of expertise:

  • Health Services Research
  • Implementation
  • Organisational Improvement Studies

Research interests

  • Population health outcomes
  • Organisational implementation and improvement
  • Research capacity and capability building
  • Whole systems methodologies and evaluation
  • Public Health leadership

Public involvement and co-production to identify the risks and opportunities to mitigate health challenges is at the centre of Sally’s research practice.  She has adopted civic and whole systems initiatives to draw community knowledge and assets into studies relating to health and wellbeing and is widely acknowledged as an expert on engaging more marginal people and population groups including those who are frail and very old.  The voices of seldom heard groups is then used to inform and manage implementation studies, assessing the health impact and evaluating the likelihood of sustained change and improvement.  With significant funding and programme management experience she is committed to the development of transdisciplinary research teams, including early career and doctoral researchers and collaboration with national and international stakeholders.

Areas of research supervision

Sally is an experienced supervisor and examiner of PhD students and mentor of NIHR Doctoral Fellowship

  • Community/environmental/organisational focus.
  • Population health and wellbeing.
  • Complex process evaluations including whole systems perspectives.
  • Action methods, participatory research and co-production.
  • Mapping population health and outcomes for long term conditions and environmental risk.
  • Healthcare workforce including clinical academic practices.

Recent completions

  • Megan Davies (Basel University) – Tri-National ethnographic multi-case study of person-centred practices on resident quality of life in long term residential care (Dec 2022)
  • Rachel Hawley (Sheffield Hallam University) Relational Leadership in the NHS: how healthcare leaders identify with public engagement (Dec 2021)


  • Doctorate in Business Administration, Sheffield Hallam University 2010
  • Masters in Education, University of Leeds 1995
  • Diploma in Occupational Therapy (State Registration) York St John University 1986

Memberships, editorial boards

  • New Frontiers in Public Health
  • Reviewer for BMJ Open, Gerontologist

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

EPSRC - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, I'M-ACTIVE : Intelligent Multimodal Assessment and Coaching Through Identification of Vulnerabilities in older pEople, £400,482 2023-2024

MRC - Medical Research Council, integrating understanding between lifespan biological, health, socio-economic, environmental and behavioral mechanisms affecting cognitive frailty., £12,419 2022-2024

Voluntary Action Sheffield, Complex Programme evaluation of the the role of community organisations to enabling health promotion and in the development of population health approaches in relation to people living with type 2 diabetes mellitus, £12,210 2021-2022

Westfield Health, A systematic review of fatigue interventions and outcomes to inform products and service development for long haul recovery from Covid19 2021-present

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Preparation of NIHR application for programme award: Health Coaching Internship at AWRC, £17,000 2021-2022

Westfield Health, The Darnall Well Being Researcher in Residence / Civic Fellowship: Youth and Young Adults Engagement Programme., £8,500 2021-2023

National Institute for Health Research, Clinical implementation of PRIME risk prediction tool to reduce medication-related harm in older people, £11,237 2021-2022

UKRI - UK Research and Innovation, Co-developing a sustainable, meaningful, digital platform to enhance mobility and active ageing of community dwelling older adults (>75 years)., £30,774 2021-present

Pfizer UK Ltd, Amplify the patient voice for people living with a long-term MSK condition & chronic pain during the Covid-19 pandemic to enable tailoring of services & support to meet their needs quickly & effectively, £39,658 2021

Sport England, Development of a virtual sport & exercise medicine-led COVID-19 clinic to support people with long-haul symptoms, £49,500 2020-2021

NHS England, Evaluation of the Universal Enhanced Support offer to Care Homes during the C19 pandemic in the North East and Yorkshire Region, £4,950 2020

Internal Funding - QR SPF Management Group, Transforming Health and Wellbeing through place-based partnerships., £36,300 2020

NHS Sheffield, Narrative thematic analysis of initial outcomes the Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes team- NHS Sheffield CCG, £8,850 2020

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Developing research in care homes, £20,000 2019-2020

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Phase II-Enhanced Health in Care Homes Research Activity, £5,264 2018-2019

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Assessing the Inter-rater reliability of the Sheffield Caseload Classification Tool for community nursing., £0 2018

Ashgate Hospicecare, Triage of patients referred to Chesterfield CNS specialist palliative care service: service evaluation, £22,920 2018

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Enhanced Health in Care Homes Research Activity, £9,032 2018

NHS England, 3rings Plug Evaluation, £12,453 2017-2018

St Luke's Hospice, Patient Acuity and Dependency, £14,669 2017-2018

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Development of health impact assessment as a rigorous methodology for knowledge mobilisation, £5,000 2017

Dunhill Medical Trust, An observational study to assess thermal comfort of frail older people in a care home setting, £84,757 2017-2018

Making Space, Admiral Service Evaluation, £20,000 2016-2017

Public Health England, Mapping AHP input to PHP, £20,000 2014-2016

Phase I & II-Enhanced Health in Care Homes Transformation Lead £34,264 2017-18 Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group/ NHS England

Re-Ablement in York Social Care Knowledge Transfer Partnership £350,000 Department of Trade and Industry 2009

Co-Design of ‘Trusted Assessor’ Programme, Assist Uk/ Disabled Living Foundation, £246,000 2008-2009

Identification of Telecare Opportunities in Rehabilitation HEIF (York St John University) £150,000 2007-2008

Design and Implementation of the Nation Improvement Curriculum NHS Improvement and Innovation £750,000 2005-2009

Selected recent publications

Ali, K., Mensah, E. A., McDermott, E. A., Kirkham, F. A., Stevenson, J., Hamer, V., . . . Gage, H. (2022). Implementation of a medicine management plan (MMP) to reduce medication-related harm (MRH) in older people post-hospital discharge: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Geriatrics, 22. doi:10.1186/s12877-022-03555-w

Fowler-Davis, S., Woodward, C., Greenfield, B., Homer, C., Williams, K., Hameed, W., . . . Bryan, G. (2022). Bringing lived experience into research: good practices for public involvement in research. Perspectives in Public Health, 142 (4), 205-208. doi:10.1177/17579139221102229

Fowler Davis, S., Humphreys, H., Maden-Wilkinson, T., Withers, S., Lowe, A., & Copeland, R. (2022). Understanding the Needs and Priorities of People Living with Persistent Pain and Long-Term Musculoskeletal Conditions during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Public Involvement Project. Healthcare, 10 (6). doi:10.3390/healthcare10061130

Fowler Davis, S., Choppin, S., & Kelly, S. (2022). Towards an Understanding of Population Health Data in a Single NHS Trust during COVID-19. Healthcare, 10 (3). doi:10.3390/healthcare10030447

Fowler-Davis, S., Young, R., Maden-Wilkinson, T., Hameed, W., Dracas, E., Hurrell, E., . . . Copeland, R. (2021). Assessing the acceptability of a co-produced long COVID intervention in an underserved community in the UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (24). doi:10.3390/ijerph182413191

Fowler-Davis, S., Young, R., Maden-Wilkinson, T., Hameed, W., Dracas, E., Hurrell, E., . . . Copeland, R. (n.d.). Assessing the Acceptability of a Co-produced Long COVID Intervention in an Underserved Community in the UK. doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0368.v1

Fowler-Davis, S., Platts, K., Thelwell, M., Woodward, A., & Harrop, D. (2021). A mixed-methods systematic review of postviral fatigue interventions: Are there lessons for long Covid?. PLoS ONE, e0259533. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0259533

Fowler-Davis, S., Cholerton, R., Philbin, M., Clark, K., & Hunt, G. (2021). Impact of the Enhanced Universal Support Offer to Care Homes during COVID-19 in the UK: evaluation using appreciative inquiry. Health and Social Care in the Community. doi:10.1111/hsc.13612

Fowler Davis, S., Cholerton, R., Freeman-Parry, L., & Tsenova, J. (2021). The Contribution of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians to Person-Centred Care within a Medicine’s Optimisation in Care Homes Service: A Qualitative Evaluation. Pharmacy, 9 (1), 34. doi:10.3390/pharmacy9010034

Fowler-Davis, S., Farndon, L., Harrop, D., Nield, L., Manson, J., Lawrence, J., . . . Hindle, L. (2020). A rapid review and expert identification of the allied health professions' interventions as a contribution to public health outcomes. Public Health in Practice, 2, 100067. doi:10.1016/j.puhip.2020.100067

Nightingale, J., Fowler-Davis, S., Grafton, K., Kelly, S., Langham, C., Lewis, R., . . . Harrop, D. (2020). The role of Allied Health Professions and Nursing Research Internships in developing a research culture: a mixed-methods exploration of stakeholder perspectives. Health Research Policy and Systems, 18(1), 122. doi:10.1186/s12961-020-00638-1

Childs, C., Elliott, J., Khatab, K., Hampshaw, S., Fowler-Davis, S., Willmott, J., & Ali, A. (2020). Thermal Sensation in Older People, with and without Dementia, Living in Residential Care: New Assessment Approaches Using Infrared Thermography. doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0337.v1

Childs, C., Elliott, J., Khatab, K., Hampshaw, S., Fowler-Davis, S., Willmott, J. R., & Ali, A. (2020). Thermal Sensation in Older People with and without Dementia Living in Residential Care: New Assessment Approaches to Thermal Comfort Using Infrared Thermography. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health — Open Access Journal, 17 (18), e6932. doi:10.3390/ijerph17186932

Shafizadeh, M., Manson, J., Fowler-Davis, S., Ali, K., Lowe, A., Stevenson, J., . . . Davids, K. (2020). Effects of Enriched Physical Activity Environments on Balance and Fall Prevention in Older Adults: A Scoping Review. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. doi:10.1123/japa.2019-0395

Fowler Davis, S., Ariss, S., & Hinde, S. (2020). Complex programme evaluation of a ‘New Care Model’ Vanguard: a shared commitment to quality improvement in an integrated health and care context. BMJ Open, 10 (3). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029174

Fowler Davis, S., Barnett, D., Kelley, J., & Curtis, D. (2019). Potential for digital monitoring to enhance wellbeing at home for people with mild dementia and their family carers. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. doi:10.3233/JAD-190844

Smith, T., Fowler-Davis, S., Nancarrow, S., Ariss, S. M. B., & Enderby, P. (2019). Towards a theoretical framework for integrated team leadership (IgTL). Journal of Interprofessional Care. doi:10.1080/13561820.2019.1676209

Davis, S. F. (2019). Why a Digitally Enabled Minimum Data Set for Older Adults in Care Homes Might Improve Population Health and Well-Being Outcomes. Gerontology & Geriatrics Studies, 5 (3). doi:10.31031/ggs.2019.05.000613

Kelly, S., Ibbotson, R., Piercy, H., & Davis, S. F. (2019). Is there some degree of unmet need in primary care?: analysis of a patient cohort accessing a new out of hours units. In Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health Vol. 73 (pp. A34). BMJ Publishing Group. doi:10.1136/jech-2019-SSMabstracts.72

Fowler Davis, S. (2019). Releasing Capacity for Nurses to Engage in Research; an organisational development approach. In RCN International Nursing Research Conference and Exhibition 2019. Sheffield, UK: Royal College of Nursing. Retrieved from https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/events/research-2019#about

Pownall, S., Skilbeck, J., Barnett, E., Jimanez-Aranda, A., & Fowler-Davis, S. (2019). A consensus based approach to the development of a digital dysphagia management guide for care homes (abstract only). In RCN International Nursing Research Conference.

Pownall, S., Barnett, E., Skilbeck, J., Jimenez-Aranda, A., & Fowler-Davis, S. (2019). The Development of a Digital Dysphagia Guide with Care Homes: Co-Production and Evaluation of a Nutrition Support Tool. Geriatrics, 4 (3), e48. doi:10.3390/geriatrics4030048

Chapman, H., Matthews, R., Farndon, L., Stephenson, J., & Fowler-Davis, S. (2019). The Sheffield Caseload Classification Tool: testing its inter-rater reliability. British Journal of Community Nursing, 24 (8), 362-367. doi:10.12968/bjcn.2019.24.8.362

Fowler-Davis, S., Silvester, A., Barnett, D., Farndon, L., & Ismail, M. (2019). Hearing the voices of older adult patients: processes and findings to inform health services research. Research involvement and engagement, 5 (11). doi:10.1186/s40900-019-0143-5

Ulley, J. M., Ali, A., Harrop, D., Fowler-Davis, S., & Alton, S. (2019). Deprescribing interventions and their impact on medication adherence in community-dwelling older adults with polypharmacy: a systematic review. Abstract only. Age and ageing, 48 (Supp 1), i37. doi:10.1093/ageing/afy206.02

Ulley, J., Harrop, D., Ali, A., Alton, S., & Fowler Davis, S. (2019). Deprescribing interventions and their impact on medication adherence in community-dwelling older adults with polypharmacy: a systematic review. BMC Geriatrics, 19 (1). doi:10.1186/s12877-019-1031-4

Di Bona, L., Field, B., Read, J., Jones, N., Fowler-Davis, S., Cudd, P., & Evans, L. (2019). Weaving a clinical academic career: illuminating the method and pattern to follow. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 82 (1), 60-64. doi:10.1177/0308022618784258

Piercy, H., Fowler-Davis, S., Cooper, C., & Dunham, M. (2018). Evaluation of an integrated service delivering post diagnostic care and support for people with dementia and their families. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26 (6), 819-828. doi:10.1111/hsc.12592

Smith, T., Fowler-Davis, S., Nancarrow, S., Ariss, S., & Enderby, P. (2018). Leadership in interprofessional health and social care teams : a literature review. Leadership in Health Services, 31(4). doi:10.1108/LHS-06-2016-0026

Fowler Davis, S., King, B., & Doyle, K. (2018). Organisational developments using research as a driver for change: an example in tissue viability services. In 3rd World Congress on Nursing & Nurse Education. Valencia, Spain.

Keen, C., Fowler-Davis, S., Mclean, S., & Manson, J. (2018). Physiotherapy practice in pulmonary hypertension: physiotherapist and patient perspectives. Pulmonary Circulation, 8 (3), 1-9. doi:10.1177/2045894018783738

Kelly, S., Piercy, H., Ibbotson, R., & Fowler-Davis, S. (2018). Who attends out-of-hours general practice appointments? Analysis of a patient cohort accessing new out-of-hours units. BMJ Open, 8(6), e020308. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020308

Farndon, L., Stephenson, J., Binns-Hall, O., Knight, K., & Fowler-Davis, S. (2018). The PodPAD project: a podiatry-led integrated pathway for people with peripheral arterial disease in the UK – a pilot study. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 11, 26. doi:10.1186/s13047-018-0269-y

Skilbeck, J., Barnett, E., Gee, M., Fowler-Davis, S., & Pownall, S. (2018). Facilitators to providing nutritional support to older people in care homes: a qualitative study - Abstract. In RCN international nursing research conference and exhibition 2018: Conference abstracts. UK: RCN publishing. Retrieved from https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/events/research-2018

Fowler-Davis, S., Piercy, H., Pearson, S., Thomas, B., & Kelly, S. (2018). Factors affecting decisions to extend access to primary care- results of a qualitative evaluation of general practitioners views. BMJ Open, 8(3). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019084

Skilbeck, J., Pownall, S., Fowler-Davis, S., Barnett, E., Gee, M., & Jones, D. (2018). Development of a Dysphagia Management Protocol for Older Residents in a Care Home Setting. (abstract only). In Journal of Oral Health and Dentistry Vol. 1. The Biomedica.

Fowler-Davis, S., Kelly, S., & Piercy, H. (2017). Pragmatism in evidence synthesis and translation; a perspective on the evaluation of systems transformation Conference of Evidence-Based Health Care. (abstract only). In EBHC International Conference 2017. Taomina, Sicily, Italy.

Kalaitzi, S., Czabanowska, K., Fowler-Davis, S., & Brand, H. (2017). Women leadership barriers in healthcare, academia and business. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 36 (5), 457-474. doi:10.1108/edi-03-2017-0058

Chapman, H., Kilner, M., Matthews, R., White, A., Thompson, A., Fowler-Davis, S., & Farndon, L. (2017). Developing a caseload classification tool for community nursing. British Journal of Community Nursing, 22 (4), 192-196. doi:10.12968/bjcn.2017.22.4.192

Davis, S. F., & Bannigan, K. (2000). Priorities in Mental Health Research: The Results of a Live Research Project. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63 (3), 98-104. doi:10.1177/030802260006300302

Mental Health Update (2002). British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65 (5), 251. doi:10.1177/030802260206500513

Fowler Davis, S., Enderby, P., Harrop, D., & Hindle, L. (2017). Mapping the contribution of Allied Health Professions to the wider public health workforce : a rapid review of evidence-based interventions. Journal of Public Health, 39 (1), 177-183. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdw023

Fowler Davis, S. (2015). Going for growth : improvement in the infrastructural and management support for clinical academic research. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports, 4 (1), 1-5. doi:10.1136/bmjquality.u208144.w3845

Recent presentations and conferences

Sally Fowler Davis , Andrew Sixsmith A, (2023) Towards understanding the causes and consequences of climate change for older adult populations- building an academic consensus for research, British Society of Gerontology Norwich 5-7th July 2023

Ms Elysa Ioannou, Dr Sally Fowler-Davis, Dr Lisa Henglien-Chen, Dr Sam Fosker, Dr Khalid Ali (2023) Co-developing a sustainable, meaningful, digital, platform to enhance active ageing with community dwelling older adults (>75 years) British Society of Gerontology Norwich 5-7th July 2023

Sally Fowler Davis, Andrew Sixsmith, Sadiq Bhanduro, Mei Fang, Becky White (2023) Towards a Just Transition- understanding the causes and consequences of climate change for older adult populations – 17th World Congress in Public Health Rome 2-6th May

Kevin Doyle, Dr Sally Fowler Davis (2018) Organisational developments using research as a driver for change: an example in tissue viability services in Sheffield Euro Nursing-2018, Valencia, Spain- 12th -14th July