Dr Umar Chaudhry, Academic Clinical Fellow in General Practice
Dr Umar Chaudhry.
Why were you interested in applying for an academic clinical fellowship (ACF) in general practice?
Having been brought up in London, and as a graduate of Imperial College London, it’s amazing to witness the hugely diverse nature of the population within this city and the healthcare needs that are placed upon it. Primary care is quite unique within the healthcare system, in that clinicians are having a significant number of patient contact on a daily basis, with everyone striving to improve the mental and physical well-being of patients at both an individual and a more regional population health level.
As an ACF, I am able to combine my training as a GP with continued interests in population health research and clinical education. Both aspects corroborate one another; undertaking research allows me to develop the skills required for evidence-based practice and teaching is a fundamental component of training future professionals. By embarking on this fellowship, I am able to use the flexible time to greatly enhance these skills and consider other opportunities, which include postgraduate qualifications, participation in medical leadership and collaboration with leading academics.
What experience did you have before applying for an ACF?
During medical school, along with undertaking funded research projects, I especially enjoyed completing an intercalated BSc in cardiovascular sciences. The basic science project itself was particularly exciting, and led to a publication and several international poster and oral presentations. Through this opportunity, I was able to further enhance my research skills by publishing case reports and completing a number of systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Alongside this, at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level, I maintained a strong interest in quality improvement, medical leadership and clinical education, all of which had provided a platform for the ACF application.
How did you find an academic supervisor?
This is was quite easy, especially at St George’s! Everyone here is extremely welcoming, and there are plenty of opportunities to get yourself involved with. I knew that I wanted to gain both research and teaching experiences before starting the ACF at the university, and these were discussed with potential supervisors. The supervisors were all extremely supportive of this, and provided strategies to help further my own interests and highlight any other unique opportunities.
What research and other opportunities are you involved with during your ACF at St George’s?
As an ST3 academic clinical fellow in GP, the main research project I am currently focusing on is a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the effects of certain community interventions on physical activity. This is being undertaken under the supervision of Professor Tess Harris and Professor Derek Cook within the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), who has previously led on a number of large clinical trials, namely PACE-UP and PACE-Lift. The project shall also aim to incorporate a number of recent technological advances that may be utilised to improve patients’ physical activity within a community setting. Having published a PROSPERO protocol, the project is currently progressing well, with the methodology being presented at the at the Society of Academic Primary Care (SAPC) SE Regional Meeting.
Having previously undertaken an innovative training post (ITP) in medical education, I am now completing a Masters’ in clinical education with the University of Edinburgh. By completing the PgCert and PgDip and gaining HEA fellowship, I am now undertaking the dissertation project component of the MSc, investigating the learning needs of London-based GP trainees in conducting telephone consultations. This is in collaboration with Dr Judith Ibison and Dr Imran Rafi at the Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education (IMBE) and Professor Tess Harris (PHRI). By using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, we aim to evaluate the current experiences of GP trainees in utilising this ever-growing technological aspect of primary care.
Alongside these exciting projects at St George’s, I am also a tutor for Case Analysis Project (CAP), led by Professor Harris, and have undergone relevant training to participate in practical examinations. I have also looked to further my experiences in healthcare management and leadership, alongside the day-to-day requirements of general practice.
What would your advice be for anyone considering applying for an ACF at St George's?
I would absolutely go for it. It is important to use your prior experiences and transferable skills to involve yourself within a field that you are genuinely fascinated by. Along with the friendly and dynamic environment, the supervisors here are leading professionals in their fields, and are very accommodating to everyone’s needs and interests.