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Prestigious research scholarship awards for UHNM staff


      Dr Dargoi Satchi                              Claire Rae 


A doctor and an allied health professional at University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) have been given prestigious research scholarship awards by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network West Midlands (NIHR CRN WM). Dr Dargoi Satchi, Consultant Cardiologist at UHNM, has received an NIHR research scholarship and Claire Rae, Advanced Speech and Language Therapist, has been given the NIHR personal development award. The two-year funding programmes will ensure each is able to develop their knowledge and understanding of research processes and prepare research proposals, resulting in improved care for patients locally and nationally.

Dr Dargoi Satchi, Consultant Cardiologist, said: “I have always been interested in improving patient care with multiple improvement initiatives and I am so pleased and honoured to get this award.

“I came to academia later in my career and it is lovely to now have dedicated time to obtain grant funding to evaluate my ideas within a research framework. The grant also gives me the opportunity to continue working with the research and innovation team at UHNM, who have been so encouraging and supportive of my previous work. I will be able to make new relationships within the Keele University clinical trials unit and with other NIHR scholars in the West Midlands.

“I hope to take up my grant in October and to use any monies obtained to continue to improve the lives of patients.”

Claire Rae is based on the trust’s acute rehabilitation and trauma unit (ARTU). The award will enable her to develop as a future investigator, build a portfolio of research and prepare research proposals.

Claire said: “On ARTU we have a unique cohort of patients and this has given us the opportunity to become really specialist at what we do.  For example, we frequently treat patients who are in post-traumatic amnesia - a temporary state following a traumatic brain injury in which a person is disoriented, struggling to make new memories and with other cognitive problems like attention difficulties.  In this phase we have established ways of assessing progress and finding the right point for the patient to benefit from different therapies and rehabilitation, but some of our patients also have a new language difficulty as a result of their brain injury. I want to find out what other speech and language therapists do across the country and what is considered best practice as there is very little evidence around this at the moment. Then I’ll start to look at the best ways to help patients with language problems as well as post-traumatic amnesia.

“Our work on ARTU means we are able to notice gaps in the evidence base for treating some of our patients and I want to be able to find, support and eventually produce evidence which will support or change the ways we work with patients and families on ARTU - and make their experience better.  I think bringing this additional research skill and enthusiasm to the team will help us to be confident in bringing the most up-to-date and evidence-based treatments to our patients.

“I was given a big final push towards doing this following an experience with a patient who was discharged from ARTU last summer.  He had a particular issue which was having a big impact on him so I reviewed the available research (there was very little) and spoke to speech and language therapists across the country in similar roles to me. We then came up with a treatment plan based on what we found.  The approach we took was very effective for him and turned into a care routine which, as long as it was maintained, prevented the issue reoccurring.”

Dr Kamaraj Karunanthi, Director of Research and Innovation at UHNM, said: “Research-active hospitals have been shown to have better patient outcomes not just for the patients involved in research studies but also more generally across the organisation. UHNM supports people in research to gain more experience by this research scholar programme.  

“The research and innovation team would like to congratulate Dargoi and Claire on this award and we look forward to working with them and providing advice and support over the next two years.

“This is fantastic news for UHNM and patients in general, as developing and embedding a research culture benefits both patients and professionals. This will lead to more evidence-based practice, better access for patients to research opportunities, improved treatment options and patient outcomes.”

Jane Willcocks, Learning and Workforce Development Project Facilitator, Improvement and Innovation Champion at NIHR WM, said: “The research and scholarship programme was launched in 2018 and we have now funded 63 scholars across 29 speciality and subspecialty areas in the West Midlands. Many of them have become chief invesigators or co-investigators on studies and have secured grant success.

“The programme is highly competitive and has been extremely successful. 20 of our scholars funded in 2018/19 have generated approximately 9.5 million in grant and project income to develop new areas of research and improve outcomes for patients.”

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