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Dr Karen Pilkington

Associate Head (Research)

Karen Pilkington


As a qualified pharmacist and information scientist, I have experience in the health service and academia. My career began at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital where I established a specialist medicines information centre and held a senior clinical role. This was followed by reviewing prescribing in a health district, and then, with the introduction of evidence-based medicine in the mid-1990s, a newly created role as advisor on evidence-based practice.

I joined the University of Westminster as project manager for a Department of Health funded project evaluating the evidence on complementary therapies. This resulted in a series of publications leading to a PhD by publication and a national information resource on complementary medicine which was integrated into NHS Evidence. As Senior Research Fellow, my research continued to focus on evidence reviews and systematic review methodology and reporting. Specialist areas of interest are anxiety and depression, cancer, chronic conditions, complementary therapies, self-care and community-based interventions. I am a member of the Cochrane Complementary Medicine field advisory group, the Cochrane Information Retrieval Methods group, the PRISMA Harms Group and the editorial board of several international peer-reviewed journals.

I joined the University of Portsmouth in June 2016 as Senior Lecturer in Systematic Reviews and was appointed Associate Head (Research ) in 2017.

Research Interests

  • Systematic reviews and evidence synthesis
  • Systematic review methodology including search strategy development
  • Reporting of safety in systematic reviews
  • Systematic reviews of complex interventions 
  • Cochrane reviews of yoga for low back pain; Coriolus for colorectal cancer
  • Survey of yoga practice in the UK
  • Self care in long–term conditions
  • Complementary therapies 
  • Evaluation of life-style interventions

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