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Sarah Tearne

BA (Hons)

Clinical Trial Manager

I am currently a trial manager within the Health Behaviours and Infections themes within the Clinical Trials Unit at University of Oxford. I am currently managing CONDUCT which is a randomised control trial looking at whether urine collection devices can reduce contamination in urine samples which should allow culture results to pick up whether there is a true infection or not. I am also working on RIVET which is a pilot study for a new influenza vaccine trial that will be running next winter. Finally, I am the trial manager for the Pre-loading trial which is looking at whether wearing nicotine patches prior to quitting in an attempt to cut down smoking before a quit attempt is effective. 

Previously I was the trial manager for the BWeL trial which was a randomised control trial investigating a brief intervention for weight loss and the results of which have recently been published in the Lancet. I previously worked on clinical trials in the area of smoking cessation at The University of Birmingham.

As trial manager it is also my job to train GPs, practice staff and research nurses on how to adhere to the BWeL protocol. I currently manage 112 GPs across 63 GP practices over 9 PCRN areas. We have two different models of recruitment that run across the various sites, each with its own unique way of running which requires separate ways of training clinicians, collecting data and communicating with the sites.

I enjoy the challenge of managing people and currently line-manage a mid-sized team. I have had the opportunity to develop my line management skills through the accredited level 3 certificate in First Line Management which I received this year. I enjoy guiding the development and supporting the learning of the team that I manage. I also have experience conducting some qualitative research and have presented my own research at UK Society for Behavioural Medicine conference for the last three years in a row. 


In the UK, 25% of adults are obese and the prevalence is projected to double over the next 50 years. It is a major cause of morbidity and chronic disease, particularly increasing the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Furthermore, the direct cost in England is estimated at £4.2 billion per year.

Despite the substantial health and financial implications, no NHS treatment service for obesity exists and general practitioners (GPs) rarely discuss weight management with patients or support behaviour change. Evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of brief, opportunistic interventions by GPs for tobacco control and problem drinking. No trial, however, has examined whether screening to identify overweight or obesity in adults and brief intervention are effective. Therefore we are conducting a randomised controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of a brief opportunistic intervention for weight management and the active engagement of GPs in supporting weight loss, in obese adults in primary care; the BWeL trial (Brief Intervention for Weight Loss).

The results of the trial could make the case for brief interventions for obese people consulting with their GP and introduce widespread simple treatments akin to the NHS Stop Smoking Service. If successful, the intervention could also be introduced in the Quality and Outcomes Framework and influence weight management practice worldwide.



  • A brief intervention for weight management in primary care: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Amanda Lewis, Kate Jolly, Peymane Adab, Amanda Daley, Amanda Farley, Susan Jebb, Deborah Lycett, Sarah Clarke, Anna Christian, Jing Jin, Ben Thompson and Paul Aveyard (2013): Trials 14.1 393.
  • A randomised trial of nicotine assisted reduction to stop in pharmacies – The Redpharm Study Taina Taskila, Susan MacAskill, Time Coleman, Jean-Francois Etter, Mahendra Patel, Sarah Clarke, Rachel Bridson and Paul Aveyard (2012), Bmc Public Health, 12
  • Screening and brief intervention for obesity in primary care: a parallel, two-arm, randomised trial - Paul Aveyard, Amanda Lewis, Sarah Tearne, Kathryn Hood, Anna Brown, Peymane Adab, Rachna Begh, Kate Jolly, Amanda Daley, Amanda Farley, Deborah Lycett, Alecia Nickless, Ly-Mee Yu, Lise Retat, Laura Webber, Laura Pimpin, Susan A Jebb (2016) The Lancet (388; 2492-2500)


  • Communication Workshop – Network event between Liverpool, Cambridge and Oxford Universities (November 2014) [Designed, coordinated and presented the workshop]
  • BWeL – A brief intervention for Weight loss - National PCRN annual meeting (October 2013) [Guest speaker]
  • Challenges to recruitment in Primary Care - PCRN Luton Forum (November 2013) [Guest speaker]
  • Issues arising from implementing a clinical trial of smoking reduction in pharmacies - NPRI-UKSBM Scientific Meeting (December 2012) [Poster]