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Academic Clinical Fellow, Kyriaki Pieri, shares her experience of the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research.

Profile picture of Kyriaki Pieri

I enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research during my NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship training in Endocrinology and Diabetes. The Diploma is supported by the Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School (OUCAGS) in the Thames Valley Deanery. I am a clinician in training, combining clinical and academic work, currently at the Internal Medicine training stage.

My experience of the PGDip in Health Research

I found the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research modules really interesting and helpful for my clinical and academic training and practice. Learning about researching with rigorous and robust methodology has informed my research and made me more confident in the design of such studies. Learning to appraise research, especially when it comes to diagnostics and interventions, was crucial for my clinical practice in ensuring that practice is evidence-based. I became more confident in discussing what the evidence demonstrates with my patients and colleagues, which is important in ensuring mutual understanding. Moreover, I found the teaching of the practical aspects of carrying out clinical trials in terms of planning, relevant regulations and approvals needed, very helpful in terms of being able to organise the research plan in advance, anticipate potential issues and have mechanisms in place to overcome them should they arise, as well as what support is available to materialise a research question into a well-conducted study.

Learning during COVID-19

I am currently completing the Diploma, having all of the modules taught online so far, given the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. My experience was very positive and I found the teaching rewarding. There was a mixture of pre-recorded lectures and tasks combined with synchronous, live sessions where new material was taught or questions were addressed, as well as group work. Learning in such a way has allowed me to complete the lectures and tasks flexibly and the dynamic nature of the interactive live sessions has allowed me to learn from tutors, students, get involved in discussions, problem solve and network. The assignments were challenging, but interesting, and provided me with an opportunity to consolidate my learning and get formal feedback.

I would highly recommend this course. It has allowed me to learn in depth about the practice of evidence-based medicine and has given me confidence to apply fundamental skills that I have learned in my everyday practice in both clinical and academic domains. Knowledge and skills in carrying out robust research and practicing evidence-based medicine are valuable for every clinician and clinical academic in supporting their practice and being able to advise their patients and enable them to make informed decisions. This course has allowed me to become more knowledgeable and confident in applying these.

What's next?

I am looking forward to applying for a DPhil in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and completing my clinical training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Internal Medicine at the Thames Valley Deanery. I am hoping to utilise the knowledge and skills I have learned from the PGDip Health Research and Academic Clinical Fellowship for my DPhil application and research.


About author:

I have completed my MBChB (honours) Degree at the University of Leicester in 2017. I have completed my Academic Foundation Programme training at the East Midlands Deanery and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in 2017-2019. In 2019, I have been accepted for an NIHR funded Academic Clinical Fellowship in Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Thames Valley Deanery (supported by OUCAGS) and I am also training in Internal Medicine. This year, I have been doing my academic research and for my project I am using bioinformatics to investigate the effect of polygenic lipid risk scores in individuals with certain types of hyperlipidaemia.