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Research - a force to be reckoned with at the Trust

28 June 2019

We can talk about the amazing Mediterranean banquet University of West London provided. We can talk about the fantastic weather in Ealing. But these things are, ultimately, secondary to how well our annual Research Conference went.

There are exciting things happening at the Research and Development department, particularly over the past 12 months where some intriguing studies were released on important topics like dementia and physical healthcare. Today’s Research Conference (Friday 28 June) highlighted these and also emphasised the importance of retaining staff at the Trust, in order to maximise our research capacity and provide better patient care.

The Conference saw some great presentations, which included:

The first keynote speaker was Dr Jayati Das-Munshi, Clinical Scientist Fellow, who explored the physical health inequalities among those with severe mental illness, depending on various ethnic groups. She was looking into the population of South London, as she did her work with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Our very own Consultant Psychiatrist and Research Lead for Mood & Psychotics, Dr Sofia Pappa delivered two presentations in one; the first being about prescribing medication for patients diagnosed with both psychosis (such as schizophrenia) and physical health conditions like metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Dr Pappa’s second presentation focused on sexual dysfunction among those with serious mental illness. Among mental health professionals who assess their patients, talking about their sex life is often a taboo subject – something which Dr Sofia shown how this attitude can change, alluding to the messages from James Lund Alliance.

Frederique Lamontagne-Godwin, a PhD student at University of West London, shared something rather ground-breaking. She has been looking into how women with severe mental illness aren’t going for ‘smear tests’. Among those without a mental illness, there is a stigma surrounding these crucial assessments. So what Frederique has come up with, along with the likes of ourselves, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, is a poignant resource for women with severe mental illness to inform them about the cervical screening process, in a way that it is understandable and accessible, easing them into this journey deemed daunting in the eyes of many. More about this will be shared on our web channels very soon, so watch this space.

Our keynote speaker was Professor Paola Dazzan of King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) who covered puerperal psychosis, and how biology and the environment interact with brain vulnerability.

David Newton, Chief Information Officer at CRIStal Health Ltd, discussed whether we can use real world mental health data to accelerate the development of treatments, intervention and service improvements.

North East London Foundation Trust’s Dr Janet Carter, also an Associate Professor at University College London, spoke about the CRIS technology and how using it can help audit young onset dementia.

As we are now focusing on integrated mental and physical healthcare, Dr Maria Ilia from Imperial College Health Partners went through Whole Systems Integrated Care (WSIC) and how practitioners can take advantage of it, in terms of information sharing.

We must also not disregard the fantastic workshops that happened in the morning. Huge thank you to Dr Samantha Scholtz, our Director of Research, who explored how research answers clinical questions; Research Associate Dr Lindsay Dewa who went through how researchers can involve service users; and also to our Cognitive Impairment and Dementia (CIDS) and Forensics teams for their own successful workshops.

More of the same next year? We think so!