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The University of Manchester’s Alex Hodkinson received a Presidential Research Fellowship in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health recently, part of the University’s Brightest Minds initiative.

Brightest Minds aims to attract early-career academic talent recognising high quality research, teaching and the specialist knowledge needed to develop research programmes and methodologies. We spoke to Alex about the opportunities the award would bring and the impact it would have on current SPCR funded studies.

WHAT DOES THE AWARD GIVE YOU IN TERMS OF OPPORTUNITIES TO COLLABORATE AND WORK IN MORE DEPTH ON IMPORTANT PRIMARY CARE ISSUES?

The prestigious presidential award covers 3-years of my current postdoctoral research fellow salary, with £30,000 of additional funds over the three years to support attending major international conferences and important training courses that interlink with primary care research. For example, I will attend an advanced training course this year for Harnessing Electronic Health Records (EHR) for Research, which will better equipped me with the tools and techniques for assembling and interrogating large linked EHR datasets. The work in this fellowship will include members internally and across the primary care school networks. In particular, I will be involved on a major cross-school collaborative project linking thousands of patient record data with the Royal Collage of General Practitioners Research Surveillance Centre (RCGP RSC), which is a new addition to the primary care schools portfolio. We hope to be the first team of researchers to be able to link GP surveys with the RCGP RSC data, which we hope will also lead to new and exciting primary care  projects across the SPCR.

DOES YOUR PROPOSED WORK ALIGN WITH THAT OF THE EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS WORKING GROUP (ESWG)?

The work proposed in this fellowship is very closely aligned with the ESWG and the priority areas underpinning effective care for the NHS. The Director of ESWG, Carl Heneghan and Kamal Mahtani will be key collaborators with one of the proposed work packages, which aims to evaluate the safety of a major anti-psychotic drug using clinical study reports. Furthermore, the ESWG network offers  a number of collaborative opportunities with methodological projects, which I hope to be able to provide statistical advice and expertise.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE CENTRE FOR PRIMARY CARE?

I was promoted to research fellow in evidence synthesis two months ago. I am currently leading two major SPCR funded ESWG funded projects; i) A components-based network meta-analysis to assess the use of Self-management interventions to reduce urgent healthcare use in patients with Asthma, ii) an individual participant data meta-analysis to assess the use of wearable technology devices (i.e. Accelerometers and Pedometers) in patients with diabetes, obese and CV disease.

In addition to these projects, I work with Dr Maria Panagioti on a SPCR funded project that aims to assess burnout indicators in GPs using data at the RCGP RSC. This piece of work is unique as it will be the first project to link GP surveys with primary care data and work-life survey data. I am co-applicant and statistical advisor on a HS&DR funded project, and involved in co-supervising a PhD student, and currently support teaching on our systematic review-training course at the UoM, which we are looking to open up to the SPCR.

Below are some of the research outputs that I have been involved on whilst working in the SPCR:

Clarifications needed on study of association between physician burnout and patient safety

Maria Panagioti, Alexander Hodkinson, Aneez Esmail

Association between physician burnout and patient safety, professionalism, and patient satisfaction

Maria Panagioti, Keith Geraghty, Judith Johnson, Anli Zhou, Efharis Panagopoulou, Carolyn Chew-Graham, David Peters, Alexander Hodkinson, Ruth Riley, Aneez Esmail. 

Serious adverse effects reported in placebo randomised controlled trials of oral naltrexone: a systematic review and meta-analysis  

Monica Bolton, Alex Hodkinson, Shivani Boda, Alan Mould, Maria Panagioti, Sarah Rhodes, Lisa Riste, Harm van Marwijk

Alex was awarded the ‘NIHR SPCR seedcorn personal award’ in late 2018, following internal competition, to support plans for this presidential fellowship application.