Linda Li


Research Classification

Arthritis / Osteo-Arthritis
Rehabilitation Care and Services
Health Care Technologies

Research Interests

Patient help-seeking experiences
Shared decision-making
Patient self-management
Rehabilitation and lifestyle interventions in arthritis management
Health services research
Patient Engagement
Knowledge translation
Implementation Science
digital media

Relevant Degree Programs



Dr. Linda Li is Professor and Harold Robinson / Arthritis Society Chair in Arthritic Diseases at the Department of Physical Therapy, and Senior Scientist at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada. She also holds a Canada Research Chair in Patient-oriented Knowledge Translation. She earned a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto, and then completed a CIHR-funded post-doctoral fellowship in clinical epidemiology/knowledge translation at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

As a health services researcher, Linda’s research focuses in two areas: 1) understanding the help-seeking experience in people with early inflammatory arthritis, and 2) evaluating models of arthritis care. Her methodological skills include clinical epidemiology and mixed-methods design. She also collaborates with digital media experts to develop and evaluate online tools, such as decision aids for promoting shared-decision making and interactive programs for coaching people to be physically active. Her research is currently funded by CIHR, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and The Arthritis Society.

Research Methodology

Randomized controlled trial
Mixed quantitative & qualitative research design
community-based research


Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round
  1. Physical activity promotion using digital technology
  2. Shared-decision making
  3. Patient self-management
  4. Integrated knowledge translation - patient engagement in research

Visit the Arthritis, Joint Health & Knowledge Translation Research Program website for a current list of Dr Li's research projects:

I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).

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Postdoctoral Fellows

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Understanding the experiences of rural community-dwelling older adults in using a new DVD-delivered Otago Exercise Program in British Columbia (2014)

INTRODUCTION: The home-based Otago Exercise Program (OEP) has been shown to reduce the occurrence of falls in community-dwelling seniors. A new OEP DVD was recently developed to be delivered to people living in rural communities with minimal coaching by a physical therapist (PT). This thesis aimed to: 1) understand older adults’ experiences in using the DVD-delivered OEP, and 2) explore barriers and facilitators to implementing the DVD-delivered OEP from the participants’ perspectives. METHODS: Thirty-two rural community-dwelling older adults (≥75 years old) who participated in a six-month DVD-delivered OEP study were invited to participate in this qualitative study. Two small group interviews were initially conducted to explore the breadth of participants’ experiences with the program. These were followed by semi-structured individual interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of these experiences. An inductive constant comparison analysis involving coding of transcripts was performed. To ensure methodological rigour, field notes, journaling and an audit trail were maintained and peer-review took place.RESULTS: Five participants partook in group interviews and 16 in individual interviews. Three themes emerged. Theme 1, ‘The OEP DVD: Useful training tool but in need of more pep’, reflected participants’ experiences that the DVD provided important guidance at program onset, but was too slow and low-energy for longer-term use. Theme 2, ‘Providing greater control over one’s exercise regimen, but sometimes life gets in the way of staying active’, described participants’ appreciation of the program’s flexibility, but personal health concerns and everyday lives imposed challenges for adhering to the program. Theme 3, ‘Social creatures: Wanting greater human connection during exercise’, described how some participants desired further social interactions for enhancing motivation and sense of guidance. CONCLUSION: PTs prescribing the OEP should inform participants of the option to use the manual whenever they feel they have taken full advantage of the DVD and to perform the program with friends and family. The importance of exercise even when living with health problems should be raised at program onset, and methods of integrating the program with everyday activities should be promoted.

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Understanding rural rehabilitation practice : perspectives of occupational therapists and physical therapists in British Columbia (2011)

Background:Providing rehabilitation services to meet the needs of rural residents and address poor health outcomes requires overcoming the challenges of geography, limited referral options and a shortage of occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs). However, little is known about how rehabilitation professionals in rural areas enact their practice to meet and overcome these challenges. To address this gap and contribute to enhancing health for rural residents, this research constructed an understanding of rural rehabilitation practice from the perspectives of OTs and PTs in rural British Columbia (BC). Methods: This qualitative study employed a purposive sample of OTs and PTs in rural communities (population
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