ACF in Core Psychiatry.
Dr Charlotte Allan (2009)
Pathway to an ACF
Whilst Charlotte was an undergraduate at Leeds University, she became interested in research through projects she had completed as part of the SSC programme. From an early stage Charlotte was interested in psychiatry, partly as a result of her fourth year attachment and also due to a module on Psychiatric Ethics she undertook as part of her intercalated BA. After graduating, Charlotte enrolled on the Academic Foundation Programme in psychiatry at Leeds, providing her with further opportunities to conduct research, and get involved in teaching. Applying for an ACF seemed the best way to combine her academic interests with speciality training in psychiatry.
What does the work involve?
In Oxford Charlotte has had training posts in Oxford in general adult and old age psychiatry. The proximity of her clinical base to the university department has helped her to develop research links. Charlotte’s research time is allocated as one day per week, and this year she has worked on a systematic review of APOE4 and dementia. Additionally, she is also starting to get involved in a diffusion tensor imaging study in late-life depression.
There are plenty of opportunities for research training organised through the Medical Sciences Division, as well as academic meetings and journal clubs organised within the psychiatry department. As well as training locally, Charlotte has been to conferences, for example the Academic Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, at which she presented a poster.
Having dedicated research time, together with links to a university department, definitely has made it easier for Charlotte to combine research with clinical work. A caveat is, however, that one day per week gives limited time for research, and does limit what it is possible to do. Despite this, the ACF scheme certainly makes it easier to link with research groups, and to get involved in research. The support of OUCAGS in terms of funding and practical support is an added bonus. She would definitely recommend the ACF scheme, but feels it is worth remembering that the ACF programme is not the only way for trainees to do research.
Charlotte took up a Clinical Lecturer post, see her new profile.