Professor Claire Steves
Professor Jugdeep Dhesi
Dr Jonathan Birns
The Ageing and Health department at GSTT has a forward-looking academic strategy centred around building resilience in older people and supporting recovery. Our focus is on development of conditions such as sarcopenia, multimorbidity, frailty, delirium and dementia, with a clinical focus on multi-component interventions to improve short- and long-term outcomes. The strategy is aligned with NIHR themes and builds on strong collaboration across clinical and academic departments at King’s Health Partners (including KHP Clinical Trials Office), in particular King’s College London Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine (FoLSM). Our academic clinicians hold full or honorary appointments in KCL’s School of Lifecourse and Population Sciences within FoLSM, where three professors, three readers and ten senior clinical lecturers have been appointed recently. The department has been hugely successful in developing academic geriatricians, with all previous ACFs gaining PhD fellowships. Two recent academic allied health professionals, trained through KCL PhDs, have recently secured tenured academic posts. Other geriatricians have gained PhDs/MDs and gone on to be study PIs.
The combined departments received £20M research funding in the last 10 years, which sits in the context of over £126M going to Ageing Research within the FOLSM at KCL, on biology of ageing, through to development of multimorbidity within our South-East London populations. The national and international reputation for excellence in clinical geriatric medicine at GSTT is built on the development and implementation of innovative, evidence-based services including Perioperative medicine for Older People undergoing Surgery (POPS) and Geriatric Oncology Liaison (GOLD). Our eminence is illustrated by Prof Jugdeep Dhesi being the British Geriatrics Society President Elect. Our work with older adults experiencing health challenges is balanced by internationally recognised work by Professor Claire Steves and colleagues in understanding antecedents of frailty and long-term conditions and development of early preventative strategies to improve ageing resilience.
Our Academic trainees are supported to develop their research interests, through 1:1 mentorship and supervised by senior academics in geriatric medicine, with further mentorship from our wide range of existing academic collaborators within FoLSM, the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at King’s College London. With supervision they are supported to lead their project, obtaining research skills including ethical approval, methodology, project management, statistics, writing for publication, presentation and building a research team. This equips our trainees for future leadership roles in research. The clinical and academic split will prepare trainees with an established research portfolio for future positions as clinician academics in geriatric medicine.
Most of our academic trainees join the geriatric medicine higher specialist training programme in Southeast London. The programme is highly sought after, with top scores for clinical supervision and overall scoring in national GMC surveys. Furthermore, the TPD, Dr Jonathan Birns, has received an award for Director of the Best Healthcare Education and Training Programme in South London and a Certificate of Excellence for outstanding contribution towards SpR professional and personal development.
Working in our clinical departments at GSTT, KCH and affiliated hospitals offers richly integrated geriatric and acute medicine training, and unique opportunities in subspecialty training. These include perioperative medicine, onco-geriatrics, palliative care, general practice, old age psychiatry, dementia services, integrated care, and care home medicine. Trainees gain experience throughout the pathway of care working in the emergency department frailty unit, on medical, geriatric medicine and surgical wards, hospital, and community outpatient clinics and with integrated community and care home teams. KCH. The Specialist Training Programme Director and the Specialist Geriatric Training leads at both GSTT and KCH are hugely supportive of building academic geriatric medicine.
Link to some of our research: