Dr Anna Pettican

School of Health and Social Care
Dr Anna Pettican



I am an Occupational Therapist with practice and research interests in using physical activity for therapeutic means and ends. I also have an interest in occupational and social justice, health inequities and using participatory methods to work with marginalised groups to address inequalities in participation and knowledge production. I combine my academic work with working as an Occupational Therapist at Sport for Confidence CIC, a social enterprise that addresses access and performance problems with anyone who face barriers to participation, by placing health professionals and specialist sports coaches into leisure centres to make them more accessible and inclusive. In this role I co-lead a national system partnership with Sport England, which incorporates the Moving Occupational Therapists programme. I also currently co-lead (with my physiotherapy colleague, Dr Adrian Mallows) the Essex hub for the Council for Allied Health Professions Research. Since 2019 I have been a member of the Allied Health Professionals (AHP) Public Health Expert Advisory Group convened by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (previously Public Health England), which has a particular remit for enacting the current UK AHP Public Health strategic framework across practice, research and education. I am a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, the World Federation of Occupational Therapists and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am also a reviewer for the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.


  • PhD Occupational Therapy University of Essex,

  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice University of Essex,

  • MSc Occupational Therapy Brunel University London,

  • BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy Coventry University,


University of Essex

  • Post-doctoral Researcher (Senior Research Officer), School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex (1/8/2019 - 31/12/2021)

  • Lecturer in Occupational Therapy (Career break July 2017-Nov 2018), School of Health and Social Care, University of Essex (2/11/2009 - 31/7/2019)

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Using Evidence in Health Care Practice (HS858)

  • The thinking therapist (HS896)

Previous supervision

Ellen Serwaa Adomako
Ellen Serwaa Adomako
Thesis title: Exploring the Staff and Service User Perspectives on the Impact of the Physical and Social Environment on Service Users’ Engagement in Therapeutic Activities in an Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit
Degree subject: Occupational Therapy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 10/2/2022


Journal articles (6)

Pettican, A., Speed, E., Bryant, W., Kilbride, C. and Beresford, P., (2022). Levelling the playing field: Exploring inequalities and exclusions with a community‐based football league for people with experience of mental distress. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 69 (3), 290-300

Pettican, A., Speed, E., Kilbride, C., Bryant, W. and Beresford, P., (2021). An occupational justice perspective on playing football and living with mental distress. Journal of Occupational Science. 28 (1), 159-172

Pettican, A. and Prior, S., (2011). ‘It's a New Way of Life’: An Exploration of the Occupational Transition of Retirement. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 74 (1), 12-19

Pettican, AR. and Bostock, JL., (2009). UK research governance developments: Opportunities for therapy research?. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation. 16 (5), 289-297

Pettican, A., (2009). Mental health outcomes compendium. Mental Health Occupational Therapy. 14 (2), 70-71

Pettican, A. and Bryant, W., (2007). Sustaining a Focus on Occupation in Community Mental Health Practice. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 70 (4), 140-146

Book chapters (1)

Bryant, W., Pettican, AR. and Coetzee, S., (2016). Designing Participatory Action Research To Relocate Margins, Borders and Centres. In: Occupational Therapies Without Borders Integrating Justice with Practice. Editors: Sakellariou, D. and Pollard, N., . Elsevier. 73- 73. 070205920X. 9780702059209

Grants and funding


Together We Grow: The impact of gardening on physical, psychological and social outcomes

University of Essex (ESRC IAA)


Evaluation_Local Delivery Pilot for Sport England

Sport England

+44 (0) 1206 872598


2S2.3.13, Colchester Campus

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