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Alan Silman


Professor of Musculoskeletal Health

Alan Silman is an epidemiologist and a rheumatologist. He was Director of the UK's Arthritis Research Epidemiology Unit in Manchester from 1988-2006 and published over 500 articles in the broad field of arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases.

His research interests spanned inflammatory joint diseases, connective tissue disorders especially scleroderma and Behcets Disease, chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions and osteoporosis and fracture. His methodological interests included pharmaco-epidemiology and the use of drug register, genetics and disease outcome research.

He then became Arthritis Research UK's first Medical Director, a post he held from 2007 until the end of 2014. In that role he was responsible for the strategic direction of the Charity's research activities as well as leading on both health care professional and patient education initiatives.

Currently he is Professor of Musculoskeletal Health at Oxford University. His current research interests are mainly in the field of comorbidities and their relation to health care and health care outcomes and the use of 'big data' to address these issues.

He also is collaborating with Mr Dominique Rothenfluh, spinal surgeon at the NOC, to develop a research programme in the surgery of adult degenerative spine disease.

He is extending this interest to outside the UK and has a particular interest in developing research in musculoskeletal disorders in low and middle income countries.

Amongst his other roles, he chairs Appeal Panels for NICE, is the Research Lead for the Global Musculoskeletal Alliance and with collaborators at Green Templeton College leading on a programme on how to enhance the use of patient-lead technologies to improve health.

He is one of the editors of the leading international postgraduate textbook, Rheumatology (7th Ed Elsevier due 2017) and is jointly authoring the third Edition of Epidemiological Studies: A Practical Guide, OUP, due 2017/18.

He has a particular commitment to supporting younger investigators in developing their scientific writing skills and learning how to succeed in achieving research grant awards.