Linda Li


Research Classification

Research Interests

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

Relevant Degree Programs



Dr. Linda Li is Professor and Harold Robinson/Arthritis Society Chair at the Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, and Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Patient-oriented Knowledge Translation. Dr. Li’s research centers on improving the care for people with arthritis and empowering patient self-care. Her work focuses on the integration of online, mobile, and wearable tools in health care. Examples include the use of interactive decision aids for improving communication between patients and health professionals, and the use of wearables and apps to promote physical activity in people with chronic bone and joint diseases. Dr. Li’s work in knowledge translation and implementation science has led to a new line of studies on the benefits of engaging patients and the public in the research process. Her work has been recognized by a Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association of Rheumatology Professionals (a division of American College of Rheumatology). In 2019, she was inducted as Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

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 - 2020)
A pilot randomized trial of a novel intervention to promote physical activity in people with knee osteoarthritis: protocol and baseline analysis from the TRACK-OA study (2016)

Objectives: (1) Develop a protocol for a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a novel physical activity (PA) counseling intervention to increase bouted moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time (bout ≥ 10 minutes at ≥ 3 Metabolic Equivalents [METs]) and decrease bouted sedentary time (bout > 20 minutes at ≤ 1.5 METs) for people with knee osteoarthritis (OA), and (2) conduct a secondary baseline analysis to assess the relationships between a measure of patient engagement and bouted MVPA time, as well as bouted sedentary time. Methods: A protocol for a pilot RCT was developed and published. Feasibility objectives related to study processes, resources, management, and effectiveness were set. Inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of knee OA or having experienced four weeks of knee symptoms during the last year, no inflammatory arthritis, and no contra-indications to being active. Patient engagement was measured with the Partners in Health Scale (PIH). MVPA and sedentary time were measured with the BodyMedia SenseWear Mini (SW). Knee OA status was assessed with the Knee injury and OA Outcome Score. Bivariate and stepwise regression analyses were performed to estimate the relationship between PIH and bouted MVPA/sedentary time. Results: Participants (female = 28, male = 6), were aged [mean (standard deviation [SD])] 55.5 (8.6) years, with a BMI of 27.2 (4.7) kg/m². The sample indicated a PIH of 24.4 (16.4), 53.9 (62.4) minutes of daily bouted MVPA, and 508.9 (178.9) minutes of bouted sedentary time. Regression analysis [b (standard error [SE]) where b indicates estimated regression coefficient] found log-transformed bouted MVPA was not associated with PIH, but was negatively associated with age, b = -0.042 (0.018; p
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Understanding the Experiences of Rural Community-Dwelling Older Adults in Using a New DVD-Delivered Otago Exercise Program on 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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Cumulative Occupational Physical Load as a Risk Factor for Knee Osteoarthritis in Mena and Women (2012)

Objective: To determine the association between cumulative occupational physical load (COPL) to the knee and the presence of symptomatic osteoarthritis (SOA) and magnetic resonance imaging–defined osteoarthritis (MRI-OA).Methods: Cross-sectional analyses of symptomatic and asymptomatic (n=327) individuals were performed. Inclusion criteria for the symptomatic participants were: 1) having pain, aching, or discomfort in or around the knee on most days of the month at any time in the past; 2) having any pain, aching, or discomfort in or around the knee in the past 12 months. Asymptomatic participants responded “no” to both knee pain questions. COPL was calculated using a self-reported level of activity (five levels) and participation in knee bending/kneeling tasks (three levels) for each occupation held. SOA was defined by the Kellgren Lawrence x-ray grade ≥2, plus the presence of knee pain, as defined by the study inclusion pain criteria. MRI-OA was defined using the criteria specified by Hunter and associates. Logistic regression analyses, adjusted with population weights, were used to examine the associations between COPL (reference group=the lowest COPL quarter) and the presence of SOA and MRI-OA, respectively, after controlling for age, female sex, body mass index, and two-way interactions.Results: Participants (women=167, men=160) were on average 58.5 (SD=11.0) years old with a BMI of 26.3 (SD=4.7). Of those, 102 (31.2%) participants had SOA. For SOA, a monotonic statistically significant relationship was found between COPL 4 (highest quarter; odds ratio (OR)=8.16; 95% CI=1.89, 35.27) and COPL 3 (OR=5.73; 95% CI=1.36, 24.12) versus COPL 1. For MRI-OA, monotonic and statistically significant associations were found in COPL 4 versus 1 (OR=9.54; 95% CI=2.65, 34.27); COPL 3 versus 1 (OR=9.04; 95% CI=2.65, 30.88); COPL 2 versus 1 (OR=7.18; 95% CI=2.17, 23.70). Conclusion: COPL is a significant risk factor for knee OA. Dose response relationships between COPL and both SOA and MRI-OA were found. This study provides new insight into the role of occupation in knee OA, although the results should be interpreted cautiously due to limitations associated with the cross-sectional study design.

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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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