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Institute of Population Health Sciences (IPHS)

Dr Anna De Simoni, MB BS PhD FHEA MRCGP


Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care Research Unit: Translational Research Affiliate Research Unit: Global Health, Policy and Innovation Unit Visiting Researcher: Primary Care Unit, University of Cambridge

Telephone: 0207 882 2520


Anna De Simoni is a GP and Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care at Queen Mary University of London. She held a NIHR Academic Clinical Lectureship between 2014-2018 and a NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship between 2009-2011.

Through the development of innovative research methodologies and the use of digital interventions, her research focuses on adherence to medications in respiratory and cardiovascular conditions and self-management support for patients with long term conditions through online health communities.

She has published on NEJM Catalyst, Nature Protocols, Trend in Neuroscience, JMIR, British Journal of General Practice, Journal of the American Heart Association and BMJ Open, has won grant funding as PI and co-applicant from RCGP Scientific Foundation Board, Evelyn Trust, Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, NIHR, Barts Charity, Asthma UK, EU fellowship funding, and Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals.

She is associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Clinical Adviser Programme, and has served as peer reviewer for national and international research grant programmes.

She was on cohort 12 of the NIHR Trainee Leadership Programme and now co-leads the AUKCAR PPI. She is holder of a 2016-17 NIHR symposium award ‘Online patients' communities in primary care research: ethics and research methods’ and 2018 Barts Health Innovation - runner up award ‘A novel network science approach to analyse and enhance social media to improve self-management of long-term conditions'.

She provides supervision to undergraduate (SSC) and postgraduate students (MSc and PhD). Her clinical work includes in-hours GP, urgent A&E and GP care in Out of Hours settings.


  • 2016 to present: supervision of PhD students.
  • 2015 to present: supervision of Year 4 medical students’ Student Selective component projects.
  • 2015 to present – Invited lectures:
  1. QMUL BSc Global Health: 'Adherence to medication (and secondary prevention more generally)' 2015.
  2. QMUL Global Public Health MSc course: ‘Primary Care in Europe’ 2017.
  3. QMUL Language and Health Communication Course, Department of Linguistics: 'Health Communication in Practice'. From 2016, ongoing.
  • 2015 to present: OSCE examiner, SSC medical students’ supervisor.
  • 2015 to present: PBL facilitator.
  • 2015: MSc Global Health Dissertation supervisor: Izuka N.
  • 2013 to present: Supervision of stage 2 and 3 medical students in GP clinical settings.
  • 2012 to 2014 Facilitator of Communication Skills Sessions for stage 1-3 medical students, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge. Certificate in Clinical Communication Skills Teaching, University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine).
  • 2012 Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2012 (completion of HEA GP Tutor Development Course).
  • 2004-2005 Physiology tutorials to 1st year Human Physiology, University College London.
  • 2002-2004 Physiology tutorials to 1st year Medical students, University College London.
  • 1998-2000 Physiology tutorials to 2nd year Medical students, University of Milan, Italy.


Research Interests:

Current Funded Research Projects as Lead Researcher:

  • What makes online patients' communities effective: an interdisciplinary study informed by network analysis. Collaborating centres: CPCPH, QMUL; School of Business and Management, QMUL; Primary Care Unit, University of Cambridge; School of Medicine, University of Nottingham; Department of Informatics, King’s College London.Funding: Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund - QMUL Life Science Initiative Small (LSI) grant.
  • Online patients' communities in primary care research: ethics and research methods. Funding: QMUL NIHR IAT Symposium Award.
  • Quantifying the support stroke survivors get with daily medication taking: a questionnaire survey. Collaborating centres: CPCPH, QMUL; Primary Care Unit, University of Cambridge.Funding: RCGP SFB
  • Developing primary care and rehabilitation services to help stroke survivors return to work: insights from online forum and focus groups. Collaborating centres: CPCPH, QMUL; Primary Care Unit, University of Cambridge; Oliver Zangwill Centre.Funding: The Evelyn Trust.

Anna's research interests include:

1. Adherence to medications in chronic conditions (stroke, hypertension, diabetes, asthma), and the use of technology to improve and monitor adherence.

2. Online patients’ communities as source of research data and self-management support for patients with long term conditions.

3. Rehabilitation after stroke.


Simoni A, Taylor SJC, Griffiths CJ, Panzarasa P, Sheikh A. Online "superusers" as allies of the health care workforce. (2018) NEJM Catalyst.

Joglekar S, Sastry N, Coulson N, Taylor SJC, Patel A, Duschinsky R, Anand A, Jameson Evans M, Griffiths CJ, Sheikh A, Panzarasa P, De Simoni A. How do online communities of people with long-term conditions function and evolve? Network analysis of the structure and dynamics of the Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation (BLF) online communities. J Med Internet Res 2018;20(7):e238.

Holender A, Sutton S, De Simoni A. Opinions on the use of technology to improve tablet taking in people over 65 on cardiovascular medications. J Int Med Res. 2018:300060518770578.

Jamison J, Sutton S, Mant J, De Simoni A. An online stroke forum as source of data for qualitative research: insights from a comparison with patients’ interviews. BMJ Open 2018; 8:e020133.

Jamison J, Ayerbe L, Di Tanna GL, Sutton S, Mant J, De Simoni A. Evaluating practical support stroke survivors get with medicines and unmet needs in primary care: A survey. BMJ Open 2018; 8:e019874.

Jamison J, Sutton S, Mant J, De Simoni A. Barriers and facilitators to adherence to secondary stroke prevention medications after stroke: Analysis of survivors’ and caregivers’ views from an online stroke forum. BMJ Open 2017;7:e016814.

De Simoni A, Horne R, Fleming L, Bush A, Griffiths CJ. What do adolescents with asthma really think about adherence to inhalers? Insights from a qualitative analysis of a UK online forum. BMJ Open. 2017;7(6):e015245.

Izuka NJ, Alexander M, Balassoriya-Smeekens C, Mant J, De Simoni A. How do stroke survivors and their carers use practitioners’ advice on secondary prevention medications? Qualitative study of an online forum. Family Practice. 2017;34(5):612-620.

De Simoni A, Griffiths CJ, Taylor SJ. Improving access to primary care: can online communities contribute? Br J Gen Pract. 2016;66(652):559.

De Simoni A, Shanks A, Balasooriya-Smeekens C, Mant J. Stroke survivors and their families receive information and support on an individual basis from an online forum: descriptive analysis of a population of 2348 patients and qualitative study of a sample of participants. BMJ Open 2016;6:e010501.

Balasooriya-Smeekens C, Bateman A, Mant J, De Simoni A. Barriers and facilitators to staying in work after stroke: insight from an online forum. BMJ Open 2016;6:e009974.

De Simoni A, Mant J, Sutton S. Adherence to medication in stroke survivors dependent on caregivers. Br J Gen Pract. 2015. 65 (640), e789-91.

De Simoni A, Shanks A, Mant J, Skelton J. Making sense of patients’ internet forums: a systematic method using discourse analysis. Br J Gen Pract. 2014. 64 (620), e178-e180.

De Simoni A, Hardeman W, Mant J, Farmer AJ, Kinmonth AL. Trials to Improve Blood Pressure Through Adherence to Antihypertensives in Stroke/TIA: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013. 2(4):e000251.


De Simoni A, Yu LMY (2006) “Preparation of organotypic hippocampal slice cultures: interface method”. Nature Protocols 1, 1439-1445.


De Simoni A, Griesinger CB, Edwards FA (2003) “Development of rat CA1 neurons in acute vs organotypic slices: role of experience in synaptic morphology and activity”. Journal of Physiology. 550(1) 135-47.