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APEx SPCR Spotlight
Charlotte Reburn, SPCR PhD Student
Research interests: Chronic physical conditions, health
Fellowship focus: PhD looking at virtual shared
consultations for chronic conditions
Passionate about… Musical theatre © APEx

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and research and career to this point?

I studied my BSc in Medical Sciences at Exeter, which involved looking at lots of different areas of health research and biomedical science. During this degree, I completed a Professional Training Year in Prof. Alison Curnow’s lab in Penryn, looking into the application of photodynamic therapy on human skin cancer and human glioma cells, which was a great experience. In my final year, I did my final research project with Dr Jane Smith in Primary Care, who’s now my PhD supervisor. My project looked into the process evaluation of a large ongoing study to improve asthma management in primary care, and I really enjoyed the project. I then moved back to Cornwall to complete an MSc in Environment and Human Health, which I loved.

I’m now fortunate enough to be conducting my PhD with Dr Jane Smith in Primary Care, and my fellowship is funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. I’m looking into the mechanisms of action that take place during virtual shared medical appointments for the management of chronic physical conditions. This could include type 1 and type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, or asthma, to name a few. I’m also aiming to investigate any changes in health inequalities that may come about from using this type of consultation.

What are you aiming to do through your fellowship?

During my PhD, I’m aiming to start with a systematic review of the literature, to see what evidence is out there on this topic already. I’m then hoping to conduct some analysis to look into the mechanisms that take place during virtual shared medical appointments that lead to their success (or failure!). After this, I’m aiming to conduct interviews with patients and healthcare providers to find out about their points of view on the advantages, disadvantages, barriers, and facilitators to this type of consultation.

What are you looking forward to most in starting your fellowship?

I’m really looking forward to doing research on such a new and emerging topic, and especially talking to healthcare providers and patients to hear their thoughts on this new method of consultation. The health inequality side of this topic is one I that I think is vitally important, as this method of consultation will only be beneficial if it is accessible to everyone that it’s offered to.

Tell us something about yourself that may be less well known

I am a huge musical theatre fan, and if I have my headphones in, chances are I’m listening to an Original Cast Recording! My favourites are Hamilton, West Side Story and Legally Blonde – an eclectic mix!

More information

Thank you to University of Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx) for their permission to repost Charlotte's blog, you can read this and other APEx Blogs on their website.