Barbara Ansell National Network for Adolescent Rheumatology (BANNAR)


BANNAR started in 2013. Since 2020 the network has been ‘nested’ within Versus Arthritis.

BANNAR are a group of professionals from medical, nursing, allied health professional and third sector backgrounds working in adolescent and young adult (aged 10-24) rheumatology.

The network aims to:

  • Act as a UK-wide professional network in adolescent and young adult rheumatology research.
  • Empower young people with rheumatic disease (and their families/social networks) to contribute to relevant research and help develop future research priorities.
  • Develop adolescent and young adult rheumatology as an area of research.
  • By working collaboratively, we can do more together to promote best practice, share advice and feed into research and help to improve paediatric, adolescent, and young adult rheumatology services in the UK.

Submit your research

If you are conducting research and feel it fits BANNAR’s work, please complete our research submission form. (Word, 46.5 KB)

This helps link researchers with other BANNAR members to knowledge share and collaborate.

For further information on the BANNAR Research Portfolio please read our briefing guide.

Read more about our research projects:

BANNAR supporting AYA research

BANNAR is here to support research with a focus on adolescents and young adults with rheumatic conditions.

We are a national professional network involving both paediatric and adult practitioners.

Our members have knowledge, experience, and expertise from both clinical and research backgrounds, and we offer support in terms of writing letters of support, survey dissemination and circulation of recruitment posters.

If this is something you feel would benefit you and your research, please complete the Request for Support document. (Word, 24.4 KB)

More information

Learn more about the history of BANNAR and our ways of working.

If you would like to share your story of Barbara Ansell, or the team, please email

Follow us on social media

Keep updated by following @BANNARgroup on Twitter.

How to join BANNAR

To join BANNAR, please complete our membership form. This should only take 15 minutes to complete. 

Upcoming events

BANNAR members meetings

Our BANNAR members meetings take place once every quarter. These are usually held online using Microsoft Teams, with an annual face to face meeting.

The meetings are an opportunity for the members to discuss updates, research initiatives and projects.

Every meeting will have a section where one of our members can present their research, or current working practice to get feedback from other members.

Next in person meeting

Date: Monday 17th June 2024
Time: 11am to 3pm
Location: The Royal Victoria Infirmary Newcastle
If you are interested in attending the event please click here to complete the attendance form
Please contact if you would like any further information

Your Rheum

In 2016, the national youth advisory panel to BANNAR was established, and members named the group ‘Your Rheum’.

Young people co-produced this animation to introduce the work of Your Rheum.

The Your Rheum website shares more information about the work of the group. Young people can join the group by emailing

Introducing Your Rheum

This short animation explains what Your Rheum is, how we work and the benefits of being a member.

The BANNAR leadership team

Flora McErlane – Chair

Flora McErlane is a Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologist at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.

Flora looks after children and young people with chronic rheumatological disease up to the age of 18. She leads the Paediatric Rheumatology Adolescent Service across the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) and is presently transitions lead for the NENC Child Health and Wellbeing Network.

Flora has a particular research interest in JIA, collaborating with consumer, clinical and research teams across the UK with the aim of improving quality of care and outcomes in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Flora is a clinician representative on the NIHR/CRN: Children / Versus Arthritis Paediatric Rheumatology Clinical Studies Group.

Recognising that providing the best clinical care for adolescents and young adults with rheumatic disease requires a good evidence base, and that adolescent rheumatology is a neglected research area, Flora has been a member of the BANNAR network since inception.

Coziana Ciurtin – co-vice chair

Coziana Ciurtin is Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in Adolescent and Adult Rheumatology at University College London Hospital in London. Coziana looks after adolescents and young people with rheumatic diseases from age 13, working across both the adolescent and adult rheumatology services. She is passionate about raising awareness of adult diseases that can also affect children and adolescents, such as juvenile Sjogren’s syndrome and working with patients and patient charities to identify research questions relevant to them. She leads a research group interested in understanding how puberty and sex can affect the risk of developing lupus in adolescence and investigating long-term outcomes and molecular signatures that can help us treat young people with rheumatic diseases better.

Coziana is a clinician representative on the NIHR/CRN: Children / Versus Arthritis Paediatric Rheumatology Clinical Studies Group, paediatric representative and member of the EULAR | EULAR Paediatric Rheumatology Committee. She joined BANNAR in 2018 and has been appointed Deputy Co-chair in 2022.

Sheunesu Mukaro – co-vice chair

Sheunesu qualified as a nurse in 2020, and gained her first ever nursing job in rheumatology at Manchester Royal Infirmary in the same year. Her keen interest in the care of the chronically ill youth carried with her into her development as a rheumatology specialist nurse, subsequently promoting her to become the transition lead for adult rheumatology at the MRI in 2021.

Sheunesu jumped at the opportunity to become a member of BANNAR both to widen the multi-disciplinary approach that the organisation boasts, but to also allow herself to provide more support for the young adults she cares for in her workplace. As of 2022, Sheunesu sits as the co-deputy chair and looks forward to broadening her skills in working with young adults in a rheumatology setting.

Victoria Harbottle – Your Rheum Project Lead

Vic has worked as a paediatric physiotherapist at the Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH) in Newcastle upon Tyne since 2014. She worked for several years within the paediatric rheumatology service, but now works with children with non-inflammatory musculoskeletal services.

Vic’s academic work focuses on the use of transdiagnostic health and wellbeing indicators for children and young people, and in particular those indicators that take the perspective of young people and families.

She is passionate about the role of allied health professionals (AHPs) in clinical academia and is AHP representative to the NIHR/CRN: Children / Versus Arthritis Paediatric Rheumtology Clinical studies Group and a member of the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists national MSK committee.

Vic is also interested in ensuring children and young people have a voice in both health service development and research, and helps to support the newly formed Youth Forum at GNCH.

Useful resources

Adolescent and young adult rheumatology

  • Adolescent and Young Adult Rheumatology in Clinical Practice. McDonagh JE, Tattersall R (eds), Springer Nature ISBN 978-3-319-95518-6, 2019

A textbook edited by BANNAR members and includes authors from the BANNAR and Your Rheum membership. It highlights the specific issues facing young people with rheumatic disease and the professionals involved in their care.

A useful evidence based toolkit to evaluate rheumatology services for adolescents and young adults arising from research conducted by BANNAR members.

Adolescent health

An excellent online resource, freely available to all NHS staff working with young people aged 12-18 years of age.

A resource curated by the Association for Young People’s Health, collating data relevant to the 10-25 year old age group.

Generic health websites for young people

A UK based charity providing free, confidential support for young people under 25.

Communication with young people

Examples of freely available apps for health professionals detailing the trigger questions encompassed by the HEEADSSS approach to psychosocial screening in consultations with young people.

These video learning resources are for health professionals and focus on how to use HEEADSSS conversations to engage with young people and do holistic health and wellbeing assessments.

What to consider when working with young people?

This guidance covers how to involve young people in research from the Your Rheum team.


A free app for people aged 13 to 25, to help young people with arthritis to manage their symptoms, talk confidently to their healthcare professionals and connect with other young people facing the same challenges.

  • MyTransition app

The MyTransition App is a tool developed by the McMaster university in Canada to help young people feel ready to transfer to adult health care system.

Developmentally appropriate health care

The toolkit is designed to support everyone working in the NHS, from clinicians to chief executives, to promote the health of young people and help make healthcare work for this age group at the consultation, team and organisation level.

Further Education, Training and Work Readiness

The Musculoskeletal (MSK) Health Toolkit for employers and further education institutions: How to support adolescents and young adults to a better future.

Developmentally appropriate care top tips

A top tips document developed by BANNAR and the British Society for Rheumatology to support the entire rheumatology multidisciplinary team in caring for adolescents and young adults.

Youth friendly health services

A set of criteria to guide evaluation and future development of youth friendly health services.

Guidance from the RCPCH Young Person’s Health Special Interest group and other colleges produced during the COVID pandemic for health professionals during virtual consultations with young people.

A Royal College of Physicians toolkit to guide acute care for adolescents and young adults in adult care settings.

Youth involvement

The RCPCH involvement initiative to ensure the voice of children and young people (of all ages), parents and carers are heard and their views sought and shared in order to influence and shape policy and practice.

An online book to support healthcare professionals with their assessment of young people presenting MSK conditions.

A free, evidence based online tool and information resource about paediatric musculoskeletal medicine for health professionals.