Influencing professional practice in psychiatry and beyond

Dr  Rina Dutta was awarded a Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2014 by the Health Foundation in partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences

I aim to lead an academic team in the UK that uses innovative, cross-disciplinary methodologies to study suicidal behaviour.  I aspire to shape the integration of research, training and services within Psychological Medicine: an important growth area for the NHS.

I applied for a Clinician Scientist Fellowship because it is a personalised fellowship scheme.  It offered a unique opportunity not only for my 5-year research programme – Electronic health records to predict HOspitalised Suicide attempts: Targeting Information Technology solutions (e-HOST-IT)   – to be funded, but for me to benefit from a bespoke training in Leadership skills.  The Academy also runs an exciting programme of events, which allows me to meet with peer researchers and senior academic leaders to discuss research and potential collaborations.

I also welcomed the opportunity to be matched with a mentor from the Academy of Medical Sciences.  I was keen to have a mentor from outside my specialty and found a Fellow who provides informed counsel on all areas of my professional development, so that I can realise my ambition to lead high quality medical research, at the interface between mental and physical health. The process of identifying a mentor was straightforward to navigate, largely because of the supportive and genuinely interested staff at the Academy, who rapidly responded to email queries.

Since receiving the award I have been fortunate to attend a Fellows’ Seminar and Discussion Dinner led by Professor Keith Hawton which I found incredibly inspiring.  I have also had a unique media training experience at the Millbank Studios which was well thought through, planned and delivered superbly.  This could not have been more timely, as within a few weeks, King’s College London asked me to appear on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour with Jenni Murray, which provided me with an excellent opportunity for public engagement and mental health awareness, which I am passionate about.

In June 2012, I founded and have since led the SUicide, self-harM and Mortality InTerest group (SUMMIT) at King’s Health Partners which brings together academics, clinicians, patients and other stakeholders interested in developing research and better practice in these under-researched areas at King’s College London.  The CSF will enable me to continue expanding this venture.  Clinically, I shall continue to develop the National Healthcare Professionals’ Affective Disorders Clinic at the Maudsley Hospital for which I am lead Consultant. Ultimately this Fellowship is the stepping stone for me to build research capacity in e-Health Informatics nationally, influencing professional practice in Psychiatry and beyond.

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