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Ewa M Roos

Ewa M Roos

Professor of Muscle and Joint Health, University of Southern Denmark

PhD (1999) and Associate Professor (2003) Lund University, Sweden
Professor and Head of Research, Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy and Center for Muscle and Joint Health, Department of Sports and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark (2007--); Honorary Professorial Fellow, Melbourne University, Melbourne, Australia (2010-20). Adjunct Professor, LaTrobe University, Melbourne Australia (2015-18).

Professor Roos has a passion for advancing the frontiers of knowledge in muscle and joint health to improve the quality of life of those with musculoskeletal disease and to improve health care delivery for these conditions. Her focus is on patient involvement, non-surgical and surgical treatments and clinical care pathways.

A decade ago Professor Roos and colleagues started to investigate the evidence underpinning the outcomes from arthroscopic knee surgery. When they found very little evidence to support the ever-increasing frequency of these surgical procedures, they started investigation of the efficacy of arthroscopic surgery compared with sham surgery or structured exercises through a series of high quality randomised controlled trials performed in collaboration with Danish and Norwegian orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists. To the surprise of many and the concern of some, the results of these and other research projects have found that arthroscopic surgery for the degenerative knee is no better than sham surgery or non-surgical treatments for improving pain and loss of function.

Professor Roos is an internationally leading researcher and change agent in the field of musculoskeletal health. She has been able to both produce high-impact clinical research and translate that research into clinical tools that are easily and effectively implemented in hospitals, primary care clinics and even community settings in municipalities. She has also served as an expert on clinical guideline committees for osteoarthritis (Sweden and Norway 2003, Sweden 2012, 2017--, Osteoarthritis Research Society International 2014, China 2017), knee osteoarthritis (Denmark 2012) and meniscus pathology (Denmark 2015), thereby impacting the delivery of clinical care in the Nordic countries and worldwide.

One of the principal outcomes from her research has been the development of the Good Life with osteoArthritis in Denmark (GLA:D®) project for people with knee and hip pain. The GLA:D® project is an outstanding example of how to successfully implement evidence-based clinical guidelines in primary health care practice and municipalities. Its underlying principles focus on patient education, patient empowerment, exercises and self-management. Since 2013, more than 1000 clinicians nationwide have been trained in delivering GLA:D® care to about 30,000 patients, who report remarkable improvements in health in terms of less pain, less disability, consumption of less pain medication, increase in physical activity, reduced sick leave and return to work (www.glaid.dk). The GLA:D® project now serves as a template for establishing similar initiatives in other countries including Canada (2015), Australia (2016) and China (2017).

Professor Roos’ research unit at University of Southern Denmark now has 20 members, attracting international recognition for its involvement in evidence-based medicine, development of patient-reported outcome measures and pioneering research in the field of joint injury, osteoarthritis and the role of surgery and exercise in treatment.

Professor Roos plays an active role in breaking down the barriers between disciplines and forging interdisciplinary teams to collaborate on addressing key research questions of common interest. She is open-minded and inclusive, welcoming the opportunity to work with other disciplines and professional groups - a trait not always found in academia – to ensure the highest standards and the best possible outcomes for people suffering from musculoskeletal disease. To this end, she has been integral to the creation of the new Center for Health in Muscles and Joints at the University of Southern Denmark, which aims to become the leading institution in Denmark for information exchange, interdisciplinary research and innovation in the domain of musculoskeletal health.

Professor Roos has published many articles in lay language targeting patients with osteoarthritis, often in collaboration with the Swedish and Danish Rheumatism Associations and she has made hundreds of appearances in printed and electronic media and TV. She takes every opportunity to increase political awareness of the impact of muscle and joint disease for the individual and the society and the proven benefits of physical activity for those with these conditions in Denmark and internationally, to raise its visibility through public debate, and to advocate for its recognition as a public health priority to offer treatment of muscle and joint disease equal to that of other chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes.

In 2014, her contribution to public health was recognised when she won the OARSI (Osteoarthritis Research Society International) Clinical Research Award for her “outstanding work in exercise as prevention and treatment of joint pain, joint injury and osteoarthritis”. This is the first time this highly competitive award was given to someone other than a medical doctor and to a Danish researcher. In addition, in 2014, she was awarded the Queen Ingrid of Denmark’s prize for outstanding arthritis research by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the Danish Rheumatism Association (Gigtforeningen).

Professor Roos is the author of 205 peer-reviewed publications. She has published in high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet. Her work has been cited in total 10952 times with 1 paper cited more than 1100 times and 23 additional papers cited more than 100 times. Her h-index is 54 (January 2018). She has supervised 21 PhD theses to completion with her students having professional backgrounds in medicine, physiotherapy, nursing and sports. Four of her PhD students have received awards and/or prestigious post-doctoral funding from the Swedish or Danish Medical Research Councils.

Her success in attracting project funding is testament to the value that funders place on her research. In total, she has attained over 27 million SEK, 10 million DKK, 0.6 million AUD, 0.8 million CAD, 0.9 million USD and 4.2 million Euro as applicant or co-applicant since 2005

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