Professor Peter B Sullivan
I am first and foremost a practising clinician and I lead a research group investigating nutritional issues in children with brain damage. I consider myself fortunate to belong to an ancient and noble profession and I am inspired by colleagues who demonstrate that professionalism through their clinical work, teaching and research.
As I have become more senior other responsibilities besides clinical practice and research have assumed a major part of my life. In particular, as the Director of Medical Education at OUHT I have overall responsibility for the provision of training to the 800 junior doctors at the Trust.
I demitted office as Head of the University of Oxford’s Department of Paediatrics in 2014 to take up the new post of Associate Dean for Post-Graduate Medicine. In this role I aim to bring the strength and influence of Oxford University to enhance the quality of training for junior doctors at the Trust.
Pathway to clinical academia
As a graduate entrant to medicine, I had a background in Physiology (BSc) and was always attracted to work in academic departments as a junior doctor.
Shortly after passing MRCP, I saw an advertisement in The Lancet for a Clinical Research Fellow to work at the MRC unit in Cambridge and The Gambia. As this project investigated the structure and function of the small intestine in children with persistent diarrhoea and malnutrition. It shaped not only my direction as a clinician (paediatric gastroenterology) but also a continuing academic interest in clinical nutrition.
On my return to London, I turned my attention to the neglected nutritional needs of children with cerebral palsy. This field has provided ample research opportunities up to the present time.
I have found that an inquisitive nature, determination, application and perseverance are key for developing a clinical academic career.