Dr Riley Botelle
Academic Foundation Programme (2023)
PATHWAY TO AN AFP POSITION
I was fortunate in medical school to have the opportunity to work as a research assistant during my intercalated degree, and several subsequent roles and publication opportunities followed. I have always felt passionately about the structural conditions that impact people’s ability to access healthcare and have good outcomes from it, and compelled to address this at both individual and systemic levels. I quickly realised research and policymaking are necessary for systemic change.
WHAT DOES THE WORK INVOLVE?
The AFP allowed me time (during an otherwise very busy work schedule!) to continue working on old projects and make new connections in preparation for my research block. I had day-release during my final FY1 rotation, and then four months’ dedicated research time as my final FY2 rotation. This time also allowed me to contribute to medical school finals teaching, run workshops at conferences, and of course, do research!
The AFP is a fantastic opportunity to develop your research skills. However, it does take away from your clinical time, and that means that you need to take opportunities to ensure your clinical acumen and skills are appropriately developed as well.
I was keen for a project that I could tailor to my interests. I knew Oxford has a vibrant research community, and I wanted to be able to focus on what was important to me. I knew I was not interested in joining a laboratory project, and needed the flexibility to be creative with my outputs. Oxford has lots of opportunities for further training in research skills, as well as funding options for data collection and conferences.
I know now that I want to continue to do academic work alongside clinical - and that I definitely don’t want one without the other!