Tracey Smythe

BSc Physiotherapy MPH PhD

Associate Professor


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

I am a physiotherapist with clinical experience developing, co-ordinating and delivering rehabilitation interventions and health worker training interventions in Australia, Brazil, countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK. I specialised in paediatric care, and my main work is with children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.

I am an Associate Professor with the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at LSHTM, where my focus has been on the development of interventions to improve the quality of life of carers of children with multiple complex impairments, and in the design and analysis of before-after trials, cohort studies and cross sectional studies. I have a particular interest in fostering research capacity in clinical settings in lower resourced settings. I currently lead the development of a health worker training intervention on disability, part of a wider NIHR grant that aims to improve healthcare access for people with disabilities in Uganda.

My physiotherapy degree is from the University of Queensland, Australia and my MPH and PhD are from LSHTM. My doctoral research provided evidence to improve services for clubfoot in Africa with Zimbabwe as a case study.

I was co-lead of the MARCH Centre C-theme (child theme) from 2019 - 2021 and held an honorary physiotherapist position with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from 2020 - 2022. I am an Associate Professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
Department of Population Health


Centre for Evaluation
Centre for Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)


I co-organise the Practical Epidemiology module on the MSc Epidemiology by Distance Learning (EPM103), with a focus on identifying programme development needs.

I teach on the MSc Study Unit on "Global Disability and Health". I also lecture on Disability on the Diploma of Tropical Nursing and the Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.

I contribute to the Public Health in Development MSc course as a personal tutor. I supervise MSc students who undertake their summer projects in topics of disability and global health.


My research interest is in disability and Public Health, with a particular focus on the development of innovative interventions for children with disabilities, and their families, in resource constrained settings.

I am the work package leader, within a larger NIHR grant for a randomised trial, to develop training for health workers on disability in Uganda.

I am involved in assessing the impact of physical impairment on the quality of life of children and their carers, in addition to the development of scalable interventions. I lead the child development component within ICED and further information about our projects can be found at

My previous work includes a pilot and feasibility study of a parent group intervention for children with congenital zika syndrome in Brazil and Colombia, supporting an early intervention programme in Rwanda, and building partnership, capability and stakeholder engagement with Stellenbosch University to strengthen health systems in South Africa to achieve universal health coverage for people with stroke.

I support partners through the Global Clubfoot Initiative and am actively involved with the RCUK GCRF group

Research Area
Child health
Complex interventions
Health inequalities
Health services research
Health systems
Public health
Behaviour change
Capacity strengthening
Implementation research
Disease and Health Conditions
Mental health
Neurological disease
Latin America & Caribbean (all income levels)
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Congenital Zika Syndrome-Assessing the Need for a Family Support Programme in Brazil.
Duttine A; Smythe T; Ribiero Calheiro de Sá M; Ferrite S; Zuurmond M; Moreira ME; Collins A; Milner K; Kuper H
International journal of environmental research and public health
Remote monitoring of clubfoot treatment with digital photographs in low resource settings: Is it accurate?
Smythe T; Nogaro M-C; Clifton LJ; Mudariki D; Theologis T; Lavy C
PloS one
The development of a training course for clubfoot treatment in Africa: learning points for course development.
Smythe T; Le G; Owen R; Ayana B; Hansen L; Lavy C
BMC medical education
The feasibility of a training course for clubfoot treatment in Africa: A mixed methods study.
Smythe T; Owen R; Le G; Uwizeye E; Hansen L; Lavy C
PloS one
Assessment of success of the Ponseti method of clubfoot management in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review.
Smythe T; Mudariki D; Kuper H; Lavy C; Foster A
BMC musculoskeletal disorders
See more Publications