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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Josette qualified as a Physiotherapist in Malta in 1986 and has a master's degree in Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy from the State University of New York at Buffalo (USA). Her PhD from Kings College, University of London, investigated the Topographical, kinesiological and Psychological factors in patients with scoliosis. Josette has over 23 years’ experience of conducting research studies in spinal deformities and over 17 years’ experience of teaching research methods to nursing and allied health professionals.  She has published over 40 papers in leading journals such as Spine, the Cochrane library, Physiotherapy, Physical Therapy, the journal of bone and joint surgery and the international journal of therapy and rehabilitation. Josette has also presented over 50 papers relating to spinal deformities and systematic reviews at both national and international conferences.

Together with colleagues at Teesside, Josette has successfully redeveloped the Doctorate in Health and Social Care programme.  She is currently supervising two PhD students and four professional Doctoral students and is the module leader for two of the Doctoral modules currently being taught on the Doctoral programme.

Josette is a member of the Health Professions Council, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, the British Scoliosis Society, the International Research society of Spinal deformities and the Society of Spinal and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT). She is also on the editorial board of the journal scoliosis and the internet journal of rehabilitation and is a manuscript reviewer for a number of journals. She is also a reviewer for the National Institute for Health Research, health technology assessment programme as well as an abstract reviewer for the World Confederation of Physical Therapy Conference.

Summary of Research Interests

Areas of research interest

  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of scoliosis-specific exercises for both adolescent and adult patients
  • Evaluation of different non-invasive approaches to the treatment of spinal deformities
  • Evaluation of the information needs of patients with spinal disorders
  • 3D objective assessment and screening of back shape and posture in normal subjects and subjects with spinal disorders
  • Systematic reviewing and research methodology

External Research Funding

  • 'To identify the main support needs of patients and their families at the point of first diagnosis of scoliosis in the hospital clinic' (2010) Funder: British Scoliosis Research Foundation (BSRF)
  • The informational value of three dimensional topographical images of back shape to adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients and their parents/carers

Research Collaborations

  • University of Montreal
  • University of Alberta
  • Oxford University
  • Warwick University

Current Projects

  • Surgical versus non-surgical interventions in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Cochrane Review. Lead.
  • Feasibility of conducting an RCT on the effectiveness of Scoliosis-specific exercises at James Cook University Hospital. NIHR funded.

PhD Supervision

  • Referral patterns and the role of information in the treatment of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
  • Effects of the SpineCor Pain Relief Back Brace on the radiological findings and clinical symptoms in adults with scoliosis.


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