NHIP Academy support Consultant to advance research into dementia internationally
Wednesday November 1, 2023
Dr Stella-Maria Paddick, Associate Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University and Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a Clinical Academic Research Partnership (CARP) fellowship by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to advance her research into cognitive impairment and dementia.
CARP awards are traditionally given to NHS consultants and are designed to provide research-qualified health professionals with the opportunity to form a research partnership with established biomedical and applied health researchers. The award provides successful applicants with funding towards their salary to support protected research time, as well as associated costs to undertake the project.
Dr Paddick has been involved in global ageing research since 2010 and has previously worked to develop dementia and delirium screening tools for low-literacy populations in Nigeria and Tanzania.
However, there is a lack of research and resources to detect cognitive impairment at an early stage, or in people with higher levels of education. This means that people in Africa often cannot be included in worldwide studies of dementia prevention and/or interventional studies. This research will benefit older people living in Africa who are at risk of dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia worldwide.
In a bid to combat these issues, Dr Paddick will utilise this CARP award by securing research time to build on her previous work. She will work with collaborators in Tanzania, and subsequently in several other African countries, to develop sensitive cognitive tests or measures of early Alzheimer’s disease which are appropriate for use in diverse settings in sub-Saharan Africa.
The overall goal is to publish a set of effective tests which other researchers can easily use. This will allow older people in Africa to be able to take part in global dementia prevention studies, so that they have sound information on how to reduce their risk. The results of this research may later also benefit researchers who work with minority populations in the UK.
Dr Paddick received the CARP award following a competitive application process, which was supported by Newcastle Health Innovation Partners (NHIP) Academy, the training and career development structure for NHIP, the Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) for our area.
She said: “I am thrilled to receive this CARP award to allow me to focus on this project and do it to the best of my ability, whilst maintaining my NHS role.
“It is so important to me that I can be a part of this Community-led study that addresses some clear and unmet needs. The tests that we develop will hopefully mean that older people in sub-Saharan Africa can be a part of future dementia prevention and intervention studies and we also hope the results will be adaptable to other populations in the Global South.
“NHIP Academy provided me with the guidance and support I needed to achieve this award and for that I am incredibly grateful. I also highly appreciate that my NHS trust is allowing me this time to dedicate to my research.”
Dr Amy Brown, NHIP Academy Manager, said:
“We are honoured to have supported Stella throughout her application process and we are thrilled with the outcome of her award.
“She is incredibly passionate about her research and it is inspiring to see her progress her work into dementia.
“NHIP Academy unlocks career development opportunities for the next generation of health and care researchers and Stella is an excellent example of how we can support those on their academic career pathway.”
Andy Beeby, Medical Director for Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Dr Stella-Maria Paddick’s CARP fellowship is a testament to her dedication and expertise in the field of cognitive impairment and dementia research.
“We are proud to have such a talented and passionate consultant as part of our team at Gateshead Health. This recognition not only highlights her exceptional work but also reinforces our commitment to supporting our staff in their pursuit of research excellence. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of Dr Paddick’s research and the positive impact it will have on older people in Africa and beyond.”