Dr Anjella Balendra is an Academic Clinical Fellow in General Practice at St George's.

 Anjella Balendra

Why were you interested in applying for an ACF in General Practice?

"Having graduated from University College London Medical School, I was exposed to a cosmopolitan city with a diverse population and a variety of healthcare needs. It became apparent to me that General Practice requires a huge scope of medical expertise in multiple specialties, with proficient communication and diagnostic skills.

"I chose St George's, University of London as its Department of Academic Primary Care has roots in both population health sciences and medical education, which increases the breadth of research opportunities available. Embarking on an ACF has enabled me to contribute to the evidence base for primary care practice as well as embracing a variety of roles as an educator, in service development, and professional leadership."

What had you done before applying for the post?

"As an undergraduate I had extensive research experience through my intercalated BSc in Pharmacology as well as independent research projects undertaken with UCL's Centre for Health Informatics and Multi-professional Education (CHIME) and Academic Centre for Medical Education (ACME).

"At the time of application, I had presented quantitative and qualitative work at both national and international levels and published case reports, retrospective cohort studies and various abstracts in peer-reviewed journals. I had also been awarded multiple prizes, which included a Quality Management Merit Award and an Excellence in Leadership Merit Award from the London Deanery. As an advocate for shaping education and training for the future, I have been heavily involved with various committees at local, regional and national levels.

"Prior to the ACF, I had undertaken multiples positions of responsibility, which included being a North Central Thames Foundation School representative and part of the London Deanery Panel for Quality Assurance."

How did you find an academic supervisor?

"Most academics in primary care opt to follow one of two pathways: Public Health or Medical Education. I knew from the outset that I wanted equal exposure to both, and consequently I met with academic staff from the Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education (IMBE) and Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) at St George’s simultaneously to discuss their specialist interests and ascertain if these were aligned with my own.

"From this, I was able to approach two academic supervisors – one to supervise my research in my specialist interests of Women's Health and Genitourinary Medicine and another to supervise my work in Medical Education."

What other opportunities/courses have you been able to do as part of your ACF?

"I have undertaken the Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare and Biomedical Education (PGCert HBE) at St George's, University of London, which has correlated well with my teaching role within the medical school. At present, I lecture across all year groups and undertake small group and large group teaching on both the five year undergraduate and the four year graduate MBBS programmes. 

"From a research point of view, I have been studying infection in early pregnancy and completed a service evaluation pilot of chlamydia testing in pregnant women presenting to the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) at St George's Hospital NHS Trust. In this study, I was able to consider the impact of communicable diseases on population health, whilst simultaneously considering effective methods of disease prevention and health promotion.

"This work has since been accepted for a peer-reviewed publication in the British Medical Journal Sexually Transmitted Infections (BMJ STI), in addition to being presented as a plenary at the Society of Academic Primary Care Conference earlier this year. Finally, I am pursuing a Masters in Public Health at King’s College London."

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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2016 09:51