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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr. Helen Handoll is a Reader at Teesside University. She trained as a scientist, with a DPhil from Oxford University on Crystallographic Studies of Proteins and then gained experience in clinical trials and overviews while working as a Research Programmer at the Clinical Trials Service Unit, Oxford. Subsequently, while working as the Managing Editor of the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group, she gained experience in systematic reviews of interventions for preventing and treating musculoskeletal injuries, primarily osteoporotic fractures.

Her research interests focus on getting the evidence to inform the management of people with hip, shoulder and wrist fractures, either via primary research (the PROFHER trial) or conducting Cochrane systematic reviews.

Helen is the Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group. She was a grant holder and member of the trial management team of the PROFHER trial, which was a pragmatic multi-centre randomised controlled trial that aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of surgical versus non-surgical treatment for upper arm fractures in adults. This was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme and was a joint collaboration between Teesside University (trial sponsor), James Cook University Hospital and University of York. The main reports of the PROFHER trial were published in March 2015; and the long term follow-up in 2017.

Summary of Research Interests

  • Treatment and rehabilitation of fractures of the shoulder, wrist and hip in adults
  • Role of surgery for shoulder and wrist fractures in adults
  • Systematic review and randomised clinical trial methodology

Research impact

The impact of Helen's work is illustrated as follows:

1. The citation of the full HTA report of the PROFHER trial as the key source of evidence for the 'strong recommendation' for conservative (non-surgical) treatment of proximal humeral fractures in the NICE guidelines: Fractures (non-complex): assessment and management. (February 2016).


2. By the use of her Cochrane Reviews in NICE and SIGN guidelines:

a. The management of hip fracture in adults. (June 2011) http://www.nice.org.uk/cg124

b. Management of hip fracture in older people (June 2009) http://www.sign.ac.uk/sign-111-management-of-hip-fracture-in-older-people.html

External research funding

  • 'Proximal Fracture of Humerus Evaluation by Randomisation’ (PROFHER) (2008). Funder: NIHR
  • Cochrane Bone Joint and Muscle Trauma Group (2009-2014, 2015-2020 & 2020-2023 as PI). Funder: NIHR

External research collaboration

  • Follow-on work on the PROFHER trial, which is a joint collaboration between Teesside University (trial sponsor), James Cook University Hospital and University of York.
  • Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group, based in University of Manchester.
  • Work on various Cochrane reviews with collaborators in the UK and other countries. These are too numerous to list – but are clear from published work.

PhD Supervision

Successful completions

'Classification of shoulder impingement by ultrasound-guided local anaesthesia’ (completed 2007). 

‘Predicting the outcome of conservative treatment with physiotherapy for shoulder pain in the presence of atraumatic, partial-thickness tears of the rotator cuff.' (completed 2016)

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Research Output

Concerns about the evidence in relation to implementation of the PROFHER trial

Handoll, H., Brealey, S. & Rangan, A., 11 Feb 2020, 2 p. BMJ Publishing Group.

Research output: Other contribution

Open Access

Percutaneous pinning for treating distal radial fractures in adults

Karantana, A., Handoll, H. & Sabouni, A., 7 Feb 2020, In : Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2, 2, CD006080.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • The impact of surgeon and patient treatment preferences in an orthopaedic trauma surgery trial

    Ada, K., Handoll, H., Brealey, S., Jefferson, L., Hewitt, C., Corbacho, B., Torgerson, D. & Rangan, A., 18 Sep 2019, In : Trials. 20, 12 p., 570.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 145 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 208 Downloads (Pure)

    High-Quality Orthopedic Research Is Having an Impact

    Handoll, H., Brealey, S., Hewitt, C. & Rangan, A., 6 Feb 2018, In : Orthopedics. 41, 1, p. 8-9

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

    Open Access
  • Datasets