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Following my medical training, I completed specialist training in the Oxford Deanery and then worked as a full-time general practitioner at Thame Health Centre. I qualified as a GP trainer, contributed to practice development, and began to develop an academic interest. I was a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth Fund of New York in 1991, one of the first general practitioners to hold this award. I subsequently completed a higher degree and then moved to the Oxford University Department of Primary Health Care funded through the award of an NHS R&D Senior Clinical Scientist Award. I joined Exeter College in 2007. In addition to my research and teaching, I still work as an associate general practitioner at St Bartholomew’s Medical Centre, Oxford and am Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme, which funds a wide range of clinical studies intended to produce research information about the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments.


My research interests are focused on improving the care of people with chronic and long-term health conditions. I am particularly interested in improving health care for people with diabetes. Much of my work has centred on improving the self-management of diabetes in general practice including researching where blood glucose monitoring is helpful, supporting people in making best use of their medicines, and developing and testing digital health systems, for example using mobile phones to collect data from personal monitoring devices and providing tailored feedback to help improve lifestyle and better use of medicines. Our group uses a wide range of research methods, qualitative research, analyzing electronic health records, and clinical trials to produce evidence. We are fortunate to work closely with the Department of Biomedical Engineering to carry out many of these studies.


I mainly teach clinical medical students, leading seminars about diabetes and evidence based medicine as part of the teaching team. At Exeter, I contribute to providing additional teaching sessions for students in their fourth and sixth (clinical) years. I also supervise DPhil and MSc students and mentor academic medical trainees.

Selected publications

Chi Y, Velardo C, Allen J, Robinson S, Riga E, Judge D, Tarassenko L, Farmer AJ. System Architecture for “Support Through Mobile Messaging and Digital Health Technology for Diabetes” (SuMMiT-D): Design and Performance in Pilot and Randomized Controlled Feasibility Studies. JMIR Form Res. 2021 Mar 26;5(3):e18460. Erratum in: JMIR Form Res. 2021 Apr 9;5(4):e29451.

Zhang X, Yang Z, Zhang M, Zhu Y, Zhao Z, Huang Z, Li C, Zhou M, Farmer AJ, Tang J, Wang L. Independent effects of 2hPG, FPG and HbA1c on cardiovascular risk: analysis of a nationally representative sample from China. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2021 Jan 21:108672.

Prinjha S, Miah N, Ali E, Farmer A. Including ‘seldom heard’ views in research: opportunities, challenges and recommendations from focus groups with British South Asian people with type 2 diabetes. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2020 Jun 15;20(1):157.

Armitage LC, Chi Y, Santos M, Lawson BK, Areia C, Velardo C, Watkinson PJ, Tarassenko L, Costa ML, Farmer AJ. Monitoring activity of hip injury patients (MoHIP): a sub-study of the World Hip Trauma Evaluation observational cohort study. Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2020 May 22;6:70.

Bartlett YK, Farmer A, Rea R, French DP. Use of Brief Messages Based on Behavior Change Techniques to Encourage Medication Adherence in People With Type 2 Diabetes: Developmental Studies. J Med Internet Res. 2020 May 13;22(5):e15989.

Bobrow K, Farmer AJ, Springer D, et al.  Mobile phone text messages to support treatment adherence in adults with high blood pressure (StAR): A single-blind randomized trial. Circulation. 2016; 9;133:592-600.

Hardinge M, Rutter H, Velardo C, Shah SA, Williams V, Tarassenko T, and Farmer A. Using a mobile health application to support self-management in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a six-month cohort study. BMC Med.Inform.Decis.Mak. 2015: June 1-10.

Farmer AJ, Perera R, Ward A, Heneghan C, Oke J, Barnett AH, Davidson MB, Guerci B, Coates V, Schwedes U, O’Malley S. Meta-analysis of individual patient data in randomised trials of self monitoring of blood glucose in people with non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes. BMJ. 2012;344:e486.

Holman RR, Farmer AJ, Davies MJ, Levy JC, Darbyshire JL, Keenan JF, Paul SK; 4-T Study Group. Three-year efficacy of complex insulin regimens in type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med 2009; 361:1736-47.

Campbell C, Murray E, Darbyshire J, Emery J, Farmer A, Griffiths F, Guthrie B, Lester H, Wilson P, Kinmonth AL. Designing and evaluating complex interventions to improve health care. BMJ 2007; 334: 455-9.

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