CL in General Practice
Dr Kamal Mahtani (2014)
Pathway to a Clinical Lecturership
I first started my academic career as a molecular biologist interested in translational research. I did an undergraduate degree at Kings College London followed by a PhD at Imperial College London in the field of Rheumatology. However, after starting my medical degree at University College London, I realised that I enjoyed being a generalist clinician and sought to see ways I could develop a career in academic general practice. I spent part of my final year at UCL in Oxford, at the Department of Primary Care, and decided I wanted to return. I was appointed an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in General Practice and on completion I applied for, and successfully received, an NIHR Clinical Lecturer (CL) post.
What does the work involve?
The NIHR CL posts are highly prestigious fellowships and an amazing opportunity to develop your post-doctoral training as an academic while protecting your clinical time. This award has allowed me to build up skills in research and teaching as well as a portfolio of work to demonstrate outputs for further academic fellowships and grants.
Currently I spend half my time as a GP and the other half in research and teaching. However, the flexibility of the award means that at times I can spend more time on my academic development through courses, more teaching or a continuous period of time developing an application for a grant. As a result I have developed my teaching role within the university and am now lead on Evidence-Based Medicine teaching for the Graduate Entry medical students. As an example of my research development I have been able to secure external funding as a principle investigator for some of my research, including an award from the RCGP Scientific Funding Board.
There are few disadvantages to the programme. However, like in all clinical academic posts, there is the lifelong challenge of getting the balance right between your clinical and academic time. That said it has reinforced my commitment to an academic career in general practice.
When you have ambitions to become an academic GP, why not come to one of the best academic institutions in the world? My experience coming to Oxford as a medical student was so positive that I actively sought to find out more about the NIHR ACF programme and decided to apply for it. Being in such an academic institution has been inspiring.
Since joining the programme I have also taken advantage of some of the excellent advice, training, networking and career opportunities that OUCAGS have offered. One example has been to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research through the Department of Continuing Education.