Professor Linda J. Carroll
PhD, MA, BA
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Is a professor of epidemiology and a clinical health psychologist, with content expertise and a research focus on psychological and social aspects of musculoskeletal injuries such as whiplash injuries and other health conditions, including depression, coping and MS. She has over 150 publications in peer reviewed journals, one of which was listed as one of the 100 most cited cervical spine research papers ever published. She has also published a book and 16 book chapters and leads or contributes to a number of large transdisciplinary research teams. For example, Prof Carroll was PI and scientific editor of a $3 million dollar, transdisciplinary, international task force (The Bone and Joint 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders) whose mandate was to systematically search, critically review and integrate/synthesize the world literature on risk, prognosis, assessment and diagnosis, and management of neck pain and whiplash-associated disorders. The end goal of that project was to make evidence-informed recommendations for the control and management of neck pain and whiplash. This extensive group of publications and updates of these reviews formed the foundation for the development of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for management of minor traffic injuries (including whiplash-associated disorders). This was a large task force contracted by the Ministry of Government Services in Ontario; and the final report was submitted (proposed clinical practice guideline) to the governmental body in December 2014 and has been instrumental in the process of consulting with stakeholder groups and implementing these guidelines. These findings and recommendations will also be of interest to other provinces, since minor injuries such as whiplash are extremely expensive. Although submitted as a report, the individual papers comprising the report are being published in peer reviewed journals and so far, 16 papers from this have been published, others are accepted or are under review, and the papers are receiving substantial attention from clinicians and other stakeholders.
Her expertise has been sought on national and international initiatives, such as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Technical Expert Panel, reporting on the complications of mild traumatic brain injury in veterans and military personnel; and the Concussion Definition/Diagnosis Consortium, which was a joint effort by the CDC-Atlanta, the Department of Defence (USA) and the Brain Trauma Foundation (USA). Prof Carroll was an organizing member and member of the working group of the multidisciplinary International Whiplash Associated Disorder.
In her research program, she has used quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches. In this context, her research group has developed innovative strategic research methods to collect data relevant to policy and clinical decision making. One example was the development of a theoretically sound framework to integrating qualitative and quantitative research through complementarity; i.e., through understanding how data is constructed and reconstructed through the different “ways of knowing” and the different levels of meaning that can be ascribed to these findings, we can use a mixed-methods approach to gain a conceptually sound, holistic knowledge about health phenomena. In another example, Prof Carroll and her colleagues described the novel use of sharing circles for data collection with First Nations individuals. In addition to qualitative and mixed methods research, she has active in using quantitative methods to examine psychosocial aspects of a wide range of health conditions including acute and persistent musculoskeletal conditions like low back pain and whiplash, other health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, and mild traumatic brain injury.