First psychologist awarded health fellowship for anorexia research

26 February 2016

A clinical psychologist from Kent is the first psychologist in the country to be awarded a prestigious Department of Health Clinical Lectureship, which she will use to conduct research into anorexia.

The study, SPEAKS (Specialist Psychotherapy with Emotion for Anorexia in Kent and Sussex), will focus on trying to understand how to tackle some of the emotional difficulties associated with adult anorexia and offer help to the patient by regulating their feelings and increase their tolerance of emotion.  

Dr Anna Oldershaw, a clinical psychologist at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership (KMPT) is being funded by the National Institute of Health Research, NIHR, whose fellowships support ‘outstanding individuals to become health leaders of the future’.

Anna will be conducting the study at the KMPT Eating Disorder service and in conjunction with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The research for this new psychological approach to helping people with anorexia will be hosted by the Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University for the duration of the award, which will start next month (April 2016) and end in 2021.

Anna said: “I am so excited about winning the fellowship as I am very passionate about this work, which I started during my PhD and have been building on ever since.

“At the moment the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NICE, guidelines cannot identify one intervention as being clearly effective and best practice for adults with anorexia and we urgently need to find better ways to help. Part of the work will be to learn more from people with lived experience of anorexia about how we can best help them, and I will be having lots of conversations with current and former patients, families and therapists.”

Professor Tony Lavender, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Exchange) at Christ Church, said: “There has been a combined focus of effort and resources from the local Universities, Health Trusts and Research Design Services to support personal fellowship awards. These are a good way of undertaking health research, alongside progressing a clinical career and give the opportunity to work with academic and clinical colleagues. We very much look forward to working with Anna and sharing the learning as the project progresses.”

If anyone would like to volunteer to take part in this exciting research project they should contact Anna:

Notes to editor

The Programme:

The Health Education England (HEE) and NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme, provides personal research training awards for healthcare professionals (excluding doctors and dentists) who wish to develop careers that combine clinical research and research leadership with continued clinical practice and clinical development.

For a Clinical Lectureship, applicants require support from both an English NHS / healthcare organisation and an English higher education institution, and should propose to divide their time equally between their clinical and academic commitments. A Clinical Lectureship should enable the award holder to make a significant contribution to clinical practice whilst supporting their development as a potential clinical academic leader. The NIHR supports ‘outstanding individuals to become health leaders of the future’. 

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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:57:00