Research Profile

Declan O'Sullivan


Declan is the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation module coordinator for the new MSc Physiotherapy in UCC. He graduated from the University of Middlesex in 1998 with a BSc in Sports Injury Rehabilitation and Sport Science. In 2001 he attained a 1st class honours BSc in Physiotherapy from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Belfast. Following on from here Declan took up a post as a staff grade Physiotherapist in Cork University Hospital where he completed numerous rotations within the disciplines of Orthopaedics, Respiratory, Musculoskeletal physiotherapy, and finally as acting Senior Physiotherapist in “Care of the Elderly” until his departure in 2006. Building on this Declan has accomplished over 20 years of experience as a Clinical Specialist working as a private practitioner here in Cork treating musculoskeletal injuries within the general and sporting populations. In 2003 Declan took up the role of Chartered Physiotherapist to the Cork Senior Hurling, U21, and Minor hurling teams which he continued to perform until 2015 when he commenced his role as the Performance Manager with responsibility for Strength & Conditioning and Physiotherapy services for the senior hurling team. Academically Declan has continued to demonstrate his desire to deepen his knowledge further. In 2006 he received a higher diploma in Sport & Exercise Medicine from the University of Ulster and in 2011 he achieved a 1st Class Honors MSc in Strength & Conditioning from the prestigious Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia. Declan has taught across many domestic undergraduate and postgraduate educational programs within the field of Physiotherapy, Sports Medicine, and Sport Science. Declan commenced his Ph.D. in June 2019 on the role of Social Prescribing in chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions. His principal advisor is Dr. Joseph McVeigh, Head of the Discipline of Physiotherapy, School of Clinical Therapies, Brookefield, UCC. 

Research Interests

I am currently in year 2 of my Ph.D- The effectiveness of social prescribing in the management of long-term musculoskeletal conditions in community dwelling adults. I have established a multidisciplinary team of experts including international expertise to support my Ph.D. studies. My supervisory team consists of Professor Lindsay Bearne, St Georges University of London, Dr. Janas Harrington, School of Public Health UCC, and Dr. Joseph McVeigh Discipline of Physiotherapy UCC. For my first study, I am also working with Professor Jefferson Cardoso, University of Londrina, Brazil. My research will consist of four linked studies:
1.            The effectiveness of social prescribing interventions in the management of long-term conditions in community-based adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis
2.            Barriers and facilitators to social prescription from the perspective of General Practitioners (GPs) and patients will be explored using one-to-one interviews and focus groups, respectively
3.            Based on the outcome of the systematic review and the qualitative work with GPs and patients a Social Prescription framework for long-term musculoskeletal conditions will be developed
4.            Design and evaluate a feasibility study of an exercise intervention implemented via a social prescription framework for people with long-term musculoskeletal conditions.  

Social Prescribing, Tendon research, Lower limb  Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation Research


Peer Reviewed Journals

(2021)'Effect of Functional Rehabilitation on Performance of the Star Excursion Balance Test Among Recreational Athletes With Chronic Ankle Instability: A Systematic Review'
Ahern L;Nicholson O;O'Sullivan D;McVeigh JG; (2021) 'Effect of Functional Rehabilitation on Performance of the Star Excursion Balance Test Among Recreational Athletes With Chronic Ankle Instability: A Systematic Review'. Archives Of Rehabilitation Research And Clinical Translation, 3 (3) [DOI] [Details]
(2018)''The Fifty-Year-Old Shoulder': Anatomy of a complex problem'
O'Sullivan D. (2018) ''The Fifty-Year-Old Shoulder': Anatomy of a complex problem'. Physiotherapy Practice and Research, 39 (2):85-90 [DOI] [Details]
(2018)'The Work-Rate of Elite Hurling Match-Play'
Collins DK;McRobert A;Morton JP;O'Sullivan D;Doran DA; (2018) 'The Work-Rate of Elite Hurling Match-Play'. Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research, 32 (3) [DOI] [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2011MSc Distinction Edith Cowan University
20011st Class Honors University of Ulster

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
CORU Statutory Body Member01-JAN-20 / 31-DEC-22
Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists Member01-JAN-22 / 31-DEC-22


 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Athena Swan Committee Committee member2022 / 2023
Post Graduate Student Academic Affairs Committee Chairperson2022 / 2025
College of Medicine & Health Learning & Teaching Showcase Member2022 / 2022
MSc Physiotherapy CORU Accreditation Committee Member2018 / 2020


 EmployerPositionFrom / To
University College Cork External Lecturer01-JAN-06 / 01-JAN-09
Private Clinician Chartered Physiotherapist in Private Practice01-SEP-06 / 31-DEC-22
Health Service Executive Physiotherapist01-OCT-01 / 01-SEP-06
Tallaght Institute of Technology External Lecture01-SEP-10 / 30-JUN-12
University of Limerick External Lecturer01-SEP-17 / 30-JUN-18
University College Cork External Lecturer01-JAN-10 / 01-JAN-15


2022University College Cork Certificate Learning & teachingLearning & Teaching
2006University of Ulster Higher Diploma Sport & Exercise MedicineSport & Exercise Medicine
2011Edith Cowan University (Perth) MSc Strength & ConditioningExercise Science
2001University of Ulster BSc PhysiotherapyPhysiotherapy
1998University of Middlesex BSc Sport Injury RehabilitationSport Injury & Sport Science

Journal Activities

 JournalRoleTo / From
Archives Of Rehabilitation Research And Clinical Translation Peer Reviewer-

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

My approach to learning and teaching is guided by the same values that underpin my practice as a clinician and indeed are reflected in UCC’s core values, respect for others, compassion, fairness, professionalism, ethical and evidence-based practice and most importantly putting the student at the centre of all I do. As an educator, I see my role as facilitating young people to become autonomous, independent reflective practitioners with highly developed clinical reasoning skills. In order to facilitate student learning, I try to encourage independent active learning, encouraging students to problem solve and develop solutions to ‘real life’ clinical problems. An important aspect of my approach to learning and teaching is the constructive alignment of effective assessment practices with learning outcomes, used for learning as well as to evaluate it.

Models of Clinical Reasoning, Musculoskeletal Medicine, Chronic Pain, Constructive Alignment of Assessment Methods

Research Information

Internal Collaborators

Dr Janas Harrington University College CorkIRELAND

External Collaborators

 NameOrganisation / InstituteCountry
Professor Jefferson R Cardoso Laboratory of Biomechanics and Clinical Epidemiology, PAIFIT Research Group, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Londrina, BrazilBRAZIL
Professor Lindsay Bearne Kingston University & St. George’s, LondonUNITED KINGDOM

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School of Clinical Therapies

Scoil na dTeiripí Cliniciúla

T12 EK59