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about open arms

OPEN ARMS, the Oxford Patient Engagement Network for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Conditions, brings together patients, family members, carers and members of the public with medical researchers from the University of Oxford to help them develop, carry out and communicate their research.

Medical researchers in OPEN ARMS are based at Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), in the Old Road Campus, Headington, Oxford. Engagement opportunities are held in-person at Old Road Campus or online and are often hybrid.

You can join OPEN ARMS by signing up to our mailing list, where you will learn about paid and voluntary engagement activities at NDORMS in Oxford. If you have any questions, please email

Why get involved?

To make a difference - help develop treatments that improve the lives of patients with musculoskeletal and inflammatory joint, gut, and skin conditions in the UK.

To make sure that research benefits patients and the public. Researchers need to hear about your experience of living with a condition and having treatment for it.

What can I get involved with?

Engagement opportunities can include:

  • Contributing to a focus group identifying research priorities for a specific condition
  • Being a member of a project advisory panel or steering group
  • Commenting on and developing patient information leaflets and other materials

Who should get involved?

Adults with bone, muscle and joint problems, arthritis, vasculitis, or inflammatory gut or skin disorders. Family members, carers and members of the public are also welcome. People with, or who have experience with, the impact of multiple or complex inflammatory disorders are encouraged to participate.

No specialist knowledge needed, just enthusiasm to share your experiences and life skills.


The Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) is a medical department within the University of Oxford. It is the largest European academic department in its field, running a programme of research and teaching. The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and the Botnar Institute for Musculoskeletal Sciences are both part of NDORMS.

NDORMS is based at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) hospital, part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre is the largest specialist academic musculoskeletal hospital in the UK. Sharing the site with the NOC puts NDORMS in a unique position to foster the collaboration between scientists and clinicians, which is essential to success in medical research.

Our mission is to discover the causes of musculoskeletal and inflammatory conditions to deliver excellent and innovative care that improves people’s quality of life. Teams in the department are drawn from a range of different people and roles in health sciences including orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists, rheumatologists, clinical scientists, bone oncologists, laboratory scientists, epidemiologists, research nurses, engineers and statisticians.

Introducing NDORMS Research Institutes

Medical Research: Case Studies

NDORMS has produced some short videos to explain our approach to understanding and finding treatments for common inflammatory conditions:

You can also read some case studies of how public and patient involvement has influenced research into musculoskeletal conditions: