Two researchers from Hywel Dda University Health Board have been successful in their applications to the Health and Care Research Wales NHS Research Time Award Funding Scheme.
Dr Helen Munro, Consultant for Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and Dr Helen Tench, Clinical Research Team Leader based at Bronglais Hospital, will also benefit from becoming a member of the Health and Care Research Wales Faculty, affording them enhanced support throughout the award, to become Lead or Co-investigators on grants won through open, peer-reviewed competition.
The scheme has a total value of £450,000 and makes an important contribution to supporting research capacity and capability development in NHS Wales by providing researchers with protected time, training and development to support them in pursuing their research ambitions.
Dr Helen Munro’s research project will grow and develop primary research projects within west Wales which align with the Welsh Government’s Quality Statement for women’s and girls’ health.
Helen Tench’s research project, in collaboration with Aberystwyth University, aims to use small molecules involved in the biochemical reactions that occur in cells and tissues to create a new stroke severity and recovery assessment tool.
Dr Helen Munro said: “Winning the Research Time Award is an incredible honour and opportunity. I am currently in the early stages of my research career and am passionate about developing opportunities in women’s health research, here in west Wales.
“Despite accounting for 51% of the population, medicine and healthcare services have not met the needs of women to date, resulting in significant disparities in care between men and women, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Inequalities in health provision cost women their health and wellbeing and I am keen to use my clinical experience, strategic networks, and expert knowledge in women’s health to grow and develop primary research projects within west Wales supporting better care for the women of Wales.”
Dr Helen Tench said: “The Research Time Award will enable me to lead as the Chief Investigator on a stroke study in collaboration with research colleagues at Aberystwyth University.
“The study aims to use small molecules involved in the biochemical reactions that occur in cells and tissues, called metabolites, to create a new stroke severity and recovery assessment tool. It is hoped that this tool coupled with current patient assessments may afford clinicians and other health care providers enhanced insights into the patient’s stroke severity and potential for recovery.
“This additional information can then be used during treatment planning and resource provision, for example, for patients who are assessed to have high recovery potential, more aggressive rehabilitation may be appropriate, while if the patient has a lower recovery potential, treatment may focus more on managing symptoms and improving quality of life and ensuing good social care provision.
“Overall, the study aims to provide stroke care providers with more information on a stroke patient's stroke severity and recovery potential to help improve the quality of care they receive and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.”
Professor Monica Busse, Director, Health and Care Research Wales Faculty, said, “This cohort are the first to receive awards since the creation of the Health and Care Research Wales Faculty. Through Faculty membership they will be able to access the support of a researcher community as well as learning and development opportunities intended to fast-track their progression along their individual research career pathways.
We very much look forward to seeing them develop their research experience and skills across a range of priority areas and the positive contributions they can make to health and social care in Wales.”
About Health and Care Research Wales:
Health and Care Research Wales is the delivery arm and external brand of the Welsh Government’s Health and Social Services Research & Development Division. Health and Care Research Wales works in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public to fund, support and increase research that can transform lives, promotes economic growth and advance science.
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