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Debbie SnellDirector of Clinical Trials Canterbury Orthopaedic and Bone Research Association (COBRA)

Research Associate Professor

MSc(Cant) PhD (Otago)


Based at the Burwood Hospital Campus, Deborah co-ordinates clinical trials and oversees data collection by the COBRA team, for people undergoing hip and knee replacements in Canterbury.

She is a registered clinical psychologist and has worked in the area of neuropsychological rehabilitation for many years. She leads the Concussion Clinic at the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service at Burwood Hospital and locums for the QRS Concussion Service in Auckland once a month.

Deborah enjoys collaboration with research colleagues around New Zealand and internationally and is involved in researching outcomes after traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and osteoarthritis. She is the treasurer for both the NZ Rehabilitation Association and the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists (Canterbury Branch).

She is focused on ensuring clinical relevance is maintained in her research activities and enjoys the dual role of working both as a practising clinician and as a health researcher.

Research interests

  • Injury rehabilitation (e.g., traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, musculoskeletal injuries)
  • Health and surgical outcomes for people living with chronic conditions
  • Patient reported outcomes
  • Psychological models of health and wellness


Graham, F., Williman, J., Desha, L., Snell, D., Jones, B., Ingham, T., Latu, A. T. F., Ranta, A., Walker, E., Makasini, S., & Ziviani, J. (2024). Realist process evaluation of occupational performance coaching: Protocol. BMJ Open, 14, e075727. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-075727 Journal - Research Other

Miller, R. M., Dunn, J. A., O'Beirne, G. A., Whitney, S. L., & Snell, D. L. (2024). Relationships between vestibular issues, noise sensitivity, anxiety and prolonged recovery from mild traumatic brain injury among adults: A scoping review. Brain Injury, 2337905. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2024.2337905 Journal - Research Other

Snell, D., Faulkner, J., Williman, J., Silverberg, N., Theadom, A., Surgenor, L., … Siegert, R. (2024). The impact of fear avoidance on return to work outcomes after mild traumatic brain injury. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 105(4), (pp. e108). doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2024.02.306 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Faulkner, J. W., Whiting, D., Theadom, A., Snell, D. L., Roche, M., & Barker-Collo, S. (2024). Valued living after mild traumatic brain injury: Characteristics and relationship with outcomes. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2024.2328876 Journal - Research Article

Graham, F. P., Williman, J. A., Desha, L. N., Snell, D., Jones, B., Ingham, T. R., Latu, A., Maggo, J. K., Ranta, A., & Ziviani, J. (2024). Occupational performance coaching for children with neurodisability: A randomized controlled trial protocol. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy / Revue canadienne d’ergothérapie, 91(1), 4-16. doi: 10.1177/00084174231160976 Journal - Research Other

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