NHS leader recognised for contribution to research
13 November 2018

Speech and Language Therapist announced as Allied Health Professional Research Champion

Dr Diane Sellers, a Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), Speech and Language Therapist and research fellow, at Chailey Clinical Services, has been announced as the Allied Health Professional (AHP) Research Champion for Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

The AHP Research Champion scheme has been created by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR).

The NIHR aims to attract, develop and retain the best research professionals to conduct people based research, and a huge part of this, is realising the potential of AHPs.

Similarly, the CAHPR aims to develop AHP research at all levels, strengthen evidence of the professions’ value and impact, along with enabling the professions to speak with one voice on research issues, resulting in raising their profile and increasing their influence.

The champions will act locally and link with their counterparts nationally, acting as role models in the research activity of AHPs.

This role requires the champion to encourage more professionals to be aware of and involved in health and social care research, and the work of the NIHR for the benefit of patients.

There are AHP research champions based in each of the 15 NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks (CRNs), with our local CRN being Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

AHPs represent the third largest professional workforce in health and social care, and include Art Therapists, Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Paramedics, Radiographers and Speech and Language Therapists.

Dr Sellers said: "I am delighted to be appointed as the new NIHR CAHPR Research Champion for Kent Surrey and Sussex CRN. I applied for the role because of my experiences as a clinical academic speech and language therapist leading my own research within Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

"I am keen to engage with AHPs from SCFT and across Kent, Surrey and Sussex at all levels of research activity. AHPs can support with the recruitment of patients to NIHR portfolio studies. I also want to support home grown research activity with AHPs working with colleagues to address important clinical issues. I am passionate about supporting others as they embark on their own research journey. We improve patient care through research activity. It is essential that AHPs are part of this.”

Dr Donna Cowan, Consultant Clinical Scientist and Research and Innovation Direction for SCFT, congratulated Dr Sellers. She said: "It is a tribute to the quality of the research work that we have in place in SCFT that Diane has been successful in this application. I am sure she will continue to inspire and support others to take part in and develop research."

For more information, please visit: National Institute for Health Research - Research Champions