Dr Caroline Ovadia
Head of School:
Professor Lucilla Poston
The King's College London Department of Women and Children’s Health, as part of the School of Life Course and Population Sciences, has an extensive programme of translational research groups spanning all aspects of the life course. Our research groups include (1) Developmental and Reproductive Biology in Health and Disease, (2) Global Health, (3) Maternal Health Policy, Systems and Implementation, (4) Maternal Hypertension, (5) Maternal Metabolic Disorders, (6) Reproductive Physiology, (7) Preterm & term birth, (8) Reproductive medicine, (9) Paediatric Allergy, (10) Paediatric Respiratory Physiology and (11) Children’s Sleep Medicine. This is underpinned by a portfolio of perinatal clinical trials, and strengths in epidemiology, biostatistics, laboratory-based research and Implementation Science. The Department of Women and Children’s Health, in collaboration with the KCL Centre for the Developing Brain, is embarking on a programme of life course research focused on the determinants and consequences of pre-conception health, in-utero fetal programming and pregnancy complications on the immediate and long term physical and mental health of the mother and child.
The Departmental Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) and Academic Clinical Lecturer (CL) research-training programmes draw upon a breadth of opportunities available within the Department, spanning laboratory-based projects, translational and clinical programmes. Integrated Academic Trainees have the opportunity to align their academic interests to the internationally renowned clinical service and training opportunities within Guy’s & St Thomas’ (GSTT) NHS Foundation Trust and King's College Hospital (KCH) NHS Foundation Trust. This will facilitate the development of their academic portfolio in established translational research environments.
A key strength of the Department is the availability of highly translational programmes of research in both Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital. Close proximity to the clinical services underpins the success of these programmes. There is also increasing collaboration with other Departments and Divisions in King’s College London, both within and beyond the School. These collaborations are pivotal in developing research programmes that recognise the contribution of pregnancy and early fetal development to long term physical and mental health and wellbeing. For clinical trainees, these exposures provide a comprehensive view and experience, fundamental for their career development (and include participation in the IAT Research Methods Course).
Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs)
ACFs are appointed within the ST1-3 South London Deanery programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The clinical placements will be allocated to Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust or King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust dependant on the academic alignment of the post holder and ACF supervisor. In total, ACFs spend 9 months of their three-year Fellowship with protected research time; this is typically taken either as three-month separate blocks or in a single nine-month research block. This supports clinical development within a surgical and skills-based clinical specialty with on call commitment, whilst enabling protected research time outside the demands of a busy clinical environment.
The ACF is supported by both an academic supervisor and a clinical supervisor. The academic supervisor is focused on the academic and research development of the trainee whilst the clinical supervisor ensures continued clinical development and progression. At present in the Department, the clinical supervisor role is allocated to a senior clinical academic / consultant, who is familiar with both the clinical and academic requirements for career progression. This is reflected by successful progression of recent ACFs, both within their academic and clinical careers.
ACFs are actively supported to develop skills in research methodology, data analysis and scientific writing. They are encouraged to enrol for existing research development and methodology courses within KCL. The research infrastructure within the Department also provides supports in these key skills. ACFs are also actively provided support to develop a competitive research training fellowship for a PhD. We have an established track record of pre-doctoral ACFs who have successfully secured funding for doctoral training. Post-doctoral ACFs are also provided the necessary infrastructure to ensure continued academic development and output in their key area of interest. Attendance at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the RCOG (Blair Bell Society) is actively supported.
Academic Clinical Lecturers (CLs)
CL posts are offered to support standard run-through clinical training within Obstetrics and Gynaecology and may also be offered with Sub-Specialty Training in Maternal & Fetal Medicine (for which GSTT is an RCOG-accredited training programme). Between GSTT and KCH, the majority of ATSM modules are offered and delivered to a high-standard; successful CLs will be encouraged to undertake relevant ATSMs, with clinical sessions appropriately allocated to support these; in addition to their Academic and Clinical Supervisors, Lecturers undertaking ATSMs will have one or two supervisors per module, and similarly subspecialty trainees will receive leads from both obstetric physicians and fetal medicine specialists.
CLs are appointed on the basis of successful completion of doctoral training with an established track record in academic training with demonstrable potential of a clinical academic career. Post holders are paired with one of the Departmental Research Groups of interest with whom they develop a research programme that aligns with their academic interests and strengths. CLs are expected to develop funding proposals during their training; these are often interdisciplinary, drawing on the strengths available within the School and also in King’s Health Partners. External mentorship is also supported.