Melanie Rimmer MSc BSc


University of Sheffield
School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)
Regent Court
30 Regent Street
S1 4DA

Office:  Room 3004, Regent Court, 3rd floor

Tel: +44(0)114 222 4341

Fax: +44(0)114 222 0749


twitter: @Melanie_Rimmer

ORCiD: 0000-0003-1437-6538


My background combines technology, health research and psychology.


My personal blog was named by the Observer newspaper as one of the fifty most powerful blogs in the world, and my articles were regularly reported in national media including New Scientist, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Scotsman.  I have developed websites for research projects at ScHARR.  I worked as a military software engineer developing sonar systems for submarines.  My first degree was in Computer Science and I specialised in machine learning including neural nets, expert systems and robotics.

I maintain the Public Health Section's blog,

I manage the Public Health Section Twitter feed @ScHARRpubhealth

Health Research

I joined the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield in 2012.  I have been involved in projects including:

  • WiLD (Weight Loss for people with Learning Disabilities): Commercial weight management for people with intellectual disabilities
  • A systematic review of non-pharmacological treatments for stuttering in children and adults
  • Demand Management, an evidence-based logic model describing factors which influence the GP referral process
  • Innovage, an EU-funded project to develop an intergenerational innovation which will reduce the number of people who reach old age with problematic obesity
  • Starting MoTOR, a pilot study of a wearable device to help overweight people with diabetes lose weight and manage their blood glucose
  • Project Realise, a web-based broker for assistive technology

I previously worked as a music therapist for adults with learning disabilities, where I designed and built electronic devices to enable profoundly disabled people to participate in music making alongside non-disabled people.  I have also worked as a Research Assistant in Calderstones NHS Trust, a large residential hospital for people with learning disabilities carrying out research into diverse areas including Alzheimer's Disease, constipation and wound care.


I am an Associate Lecturer with the Open University, teaching undergraduate modules in psychology and childhood studies.  I have a Masters degree in Psychological Research Methods and a Bachelors degree in Psychology.

Research Interests 

My research interests include:

  • Emergency and Urgent Care
  • Equitable access to good health
  • Older adults
  • People with learning disabilities
  • Obesity, physical activity and sedentariness

Teaching Interests

I teach courses in child psychology and youth and childhood studies for the OU. I teach on the Social Determinants of Health Inequalities module on the Master of Public Health within ScHARR and perform the role of Dissertation Co-ordinator within the School.  I have taught undergraduates in prison, and I have mentored new lecturers.  I have considerable experience in distance learning and the uses of communications technology to deliver university courses.

Professional Activities

Part of both the Public Health Section and the Health Services Research Section of ScHARR. Honorary member of the Medical Care Research Unit

Member of The Society for Social Medicine's Early Career Researcher subcommittee

Sits on ScHARR's Staff Development Committee

Director of Heeley City Farm, a community-based and led training, employment and youth enterprise in Sheffield

Reviewer for the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities and the Journal for Intellectual Disability Research. 

Current Projects

  • PaRAED Study: Patient Reasons for Attendance at Emergency Departments
  • NIHR SPHR Ageing Well: Age-related inequalities in receipt of public health and healthcare interventions in older people: a systematic review

Key Publications   

Forrest, L.F., Adams, J., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Buckner, S., Payne, N., Rimmer, M., Salway, S., Sowden, S., Walters, K. and White, M., 2016. Age-related references in national public health, technology appraisal and clinical guidelines and guidance: documentary analysis. Age and Ageing.

Cadar D, Ronzi S, Oliver K, Boniface S, Demou E, Denison H, Gibney S, Lacey R, Pinto Pereira S, Rimmer M, Capewell S. (2016) Academic careers: what do early career researchers think? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 0:1–2. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-207438

Croot L, Rimmer M, Dowse E, Harris J, Hatton C, Hillier S, Lavin J, O'Cathain A, Salway S (2016) Modifying mainstream weight management interventions for use with people with intellectual disabilities: a user centred approach, Obesity Facts 2016;9 (suppl 1): 1-368

Parker S, Rimmer M, Reed H, Heller B, Leitao R, Gerrish K, Mawson S and Grindell C. (2015) Innovage: Developing an intergenerational social innovation to encourage physical activity. The Gerontologist Vol. 55, pp. 278-278

Blank L, Baxter S, Woods HB, Goyder E, Lee A, Payne N, Rimmer M. (2015) What is the evidence on interventions to manage referral from primary to specialist non-emergency care? A systematic review and logic model synthesis NIHR Journals Library, Southampton UK 3:24

Lindsay Blank, Susan Baxter, Helen Buckley Woods, Elizabeth Goyder, Andrew Lee, Nick Payne, Melanie Rimmer (2014) Referral interventions from primary to specialist care: a systematic review of international evidence, British Journal of General Practice Dec 2014,64(629)e765-e774

Baxter S, Blank L, Buckley Woods H, Payne N, Rimmer M, Goyder E (2014) Using logic model methods in systematic review synthesis: describing complex pathways in referral management interventions, BMC Medical Research Methodology 2014, 14:62

Kitt L, Flynn M, Rimmer M (1996)  Advocating for health: personal health record.  London, National Development Team

Thomas D, Rucker L, Rimmer M  (1997)  Quality Outcomes at Chestnut Drive, Manchester, National Development Team