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Paula Holland supervises 15 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Paula Holland

Senior Lecturer

Faculty Of Health And Medicine



Tel: +44 1524 594762

Research overview

My research focusses on the production of social inequalities in health, primarily through the relationship betweeen work and health. Areas of interest and expertise include: social inequalities in the employment and financial consequences of disabilities and long-term conditions (LTC); experiences of working with a disability/LTC; interventions to support work retention and return to work; and the relationship between unemployment and health. 

I am a member of the Arthritis Research UK/MRC National Centre of Excellence for Musculoskeletal Health and Work which aims to find cost-effective ways to reduce work disability among individuals with musculoskeletal disorders. I co-chair Lancaster University's Work and Health Forum, an interdisciplinary group of academic and external colleagues in the public, private and third sector who are interested in work, health and wellbeing.

Current and previous research includes: a randomised controlled trial of job retention vocational rehabilitation for employed people with inflammatory arthritis (the WORKWELL trial); qualitative research on experiences of working after onset of rheumatoid arthritis, and the role of workplace adjustments and organisational policies in facilitating work retention; a meta-ethnographic review of the experiences of working after onset of a musculoskeletal disorder; clients' experiences of participating in the UK Work Programme and their perceptions of how it influenced their wellbeing; the analysis of Swedish register data to investigate social inequalities in employment and income among people with musculoskeletal disorders, ischaemic heart disease and mental illness; and analysis of international datasets to explore gender and social inequalities in labour market participation among disabled and chronically ill people across OECD countries.


PhD supervision

◦Gender and social inequalities in health;
◦Chronic illnesses (including musculoskeletal disorders) and their impact on employment, income and quality of life;
◦Impact of work on health; impact of health on work;
◦Long-term sickness absence and its management in the workplace;
◦Workplace adjustments for people with chronic illness/long-term conditions;
◦Lifecourse research.

Current Research

  • The role of workplace adjustments and organisational policies in influencing work retention in people with rheumatoid arthritis.   
  • Improving communication about sickness absence between individuals, GPs and employers using the Fit Note. With PhD student Maciek Dobras.
  • The health and wellbeing of unemployed participants of Active Labour Market Programmes.
  • The use of social work services by children, young people and families in 4 UK cohort studies (funded by the Nuffield Foundation).


Research Interests

Current Teaching

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). 

PhD in Public Health (Director of Studies, 2011-2014). This doctoral programme provides opportunities for professionals working within the field of public health to gain a deeper and more critical insight into their practice. The format of the programme (part-time and blended learning) has been designed to meet the needs of public health professionals wishing to enhance their research skills, develop their understanding of policy and practice and make an original contribution to knowledge development within their field, whilst at the same time fulfilling their existing responsibilities in service delivery. Current students on the programme are based in the UK and internationally and are working within government, healthcare settings, for NGOs, or in education, research and management.

I am module convenor for DHR403 Principles of Research Design, a core year 2 module on the PhD in Public Health. I teach on the annual PhD Induction Academy and PhD Autumn Academies for students on the Blended Learning PhD programmes in Public Health, Mental Health, Organisational Health and Well Being, Health Economics, Ageing, Dementia and Palliative Care. 

I supervise the research of both traditional route PhD students and students on the PhD in Public Health.

Professional Role

External Roles

Editorial Board member of the Disabilities journal https://www.mdpi.com/journal/disabilities .

Board member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, chaired by Lisa Cameron MP. Secretariat for this APPG is provided by Universal Inclusion, which campaigns for the interests of disabled entrepreneurs and for inclusive economic growth.

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