Anne Townsend

Affiliate Scientist, Bioethics, MA, PhD



  • Senior Research Associate, Liverpool and Lancaster Collaboration for Public Health Research, Division of Health Research, Health Innovation One, Lancaster University, UK

Research Interests

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Health Research Ethics

Dr. Anne Townsend is a Research Associate at the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia. She gained her BA in Sociology and Educational Studies in 1989 at the University of Lancaster, UK, an MA in Women’s Studies at the University of Exeter, UK in 1993, and was awarded a Medical Research Council PhD in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2005. She was a lecturer in Sociology in the UK between 1991-1999. While undertaking her PhD she was Senior Head Warden at the University of Glasgow (head of pastoral care for the student resident population).

Her association with the University of British Columbia began in 2006 as a Post-Doctoral fellow in the Health Policy and Training Program at the Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, which she completed in 2009. She has also taught an Introduction to Qualitative Methods and the Sociology of Health and Illness as an Instructor in the Department of Sociology. Her teaching also includes case-based learning/seminars in ethics to health care trainees.

Dr. Townsend is a qualitative researcher with academic activities in two main areas; the experience of chronic illness and health research ethics. Her work in chronic illness focuses on self-management and issues of identity, shared decision-making, medication use and concordance and consulting behaviour. Her work in ethics includes the ethics of qualitative research to inform an evidence base, the experience of being a health research subject and issues of relational autonomy in the patient/consumer-physician relationship. Her qualitative methodology expertise includes grounded theory, framework analysis and narrative approaches.

Selected Publications

1. Townsend A, Backman CL, Adam, P, LI, LC. Journal of Medical Internet Research Protocols Protocol E-Health ethics (Catalyst Grant protocol funded by CIHR) October 2013.

2. Townsend A, Cox SM. Volunteering for research: Accessing health services through the back door? Health Services research (BMC MedicalEthics) October 2013.

3. Townsend A, Leese J, Whitehead G, Kerr S. E-health: Friend or Foe to You and Your Doctor? Arthritis Research Centre of Canada’s Consumer Advisory Board Newsletter Fall 2013.

4. Townsend A, Backman CL, Adam, P, Li LC. Medication use in early RA. BMJ Open online February 2013.

5. Townsend A. What do you know about adherence? Arthritis Research Centre (ARC) Consumer Organisation Fall 2012.

6. McDonald H*, Dietrich T*, Townsend A, Adam P, Li L, Cox SM, Backman CL. Exploring occupational disruption after the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Care and Research. 64 (2) 197-205 2012.

7. Townsend, A. (2011). Working to manage chronic illness and daily life. Occupational Therapy Now (special issue, on self-management). 13.5,20-22.