Lincoln Lecturer Becomes First Ever Paramedic to Win Prestigious Award
A lecturer and paramedic has become the first of his profession in the UK to be awarded a special academic fellowship. Dr Gregory Whitley, a lecturer in paramedic science at the University of Lincoln, and a paramedic research fellow for East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS), has been awarded the Health Education England (HEE)/National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Integrated Clinical and Practitioner Academic (ICA) Advanced Clinical and Practitioner Academic Fellowship (ACAF).
The programme provides research training awards for health and social care professionals, excluding doctors and dentists, who wish to develop careers that combine research and research leadership with continued practice and professional development.
Greg, a postdoctoral UK registered paramedic with over 12 years’ experience in the ambulance service, is the first paramedic in England to receive this award, and the first paramedic in England to receive any HEE/NIHR funded postdoctoral fellowship.
Speaking about the achievement, Greg said: “This award is not just a personal achievement, it also marks a significant step forward for the paramedic profession, demonstrating the commitment of paramedics to design and deliver high-quality research to improve the quality of care for the patients they serve.”
Greg is originally from Nottinghamshire and completed his PhD at the University of Lincoln in 2020 on the topic of pre-hospital pain management in children, funded by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands. He has subsequently completed a postdoctoral bridging award, delivered through the University of Nottingham and funded by HEE and the NIHR ARC East Midlands, which provided the resources to develop his successful ACAF application.
The ACAF award will fund a programme of research titled ‘Improving Pain mAnagement for childreN and young people attendeD by Ambulance (PANDA): A realist informed intervention development and feasibility study’.
The aim of this study is to explore the experiences of children and young people who have been treated by an ambulance for a painful condition, along with their parents and, or, carers and ambulance clinicians, and to develop and test a new method to improve pain management.
In addition to the PANDA study, the ACAF award will fund a bespoke programme of academic and professional training along with a research trip to Canada to learn from experts on the topic of pain management in children and young people.
The project will be hosted by EMAS in partnership with the University of Lincoln, with support from the University’s Community and Health Research Unit and the Lincoln Clinical Trials Unit. Greg will also be supported in his Fellowship by colleagues from the University of Nottingham, University of Hertfordshire and Monash University will support the fellowship, along with the NIHR ARC East Midlands.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti CBE, Director of NIHR ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “We congratulate Greg on this special achievement. Clinical academics are perfectly positioned to advance practice and improve care through research. They have the skill sets to take ideas and provide evidence to support or refute them to a wider audience, ultimately contributing to new knowledge about care and treatments to improve patient outcomes.”
The PANDA study will begin in September 2023 and is planned to complete in May 2027.