'Boxing clever' as new Medical Institute helps develop the expertise of doctors

Published: 17 March 2008 at 16:23

New education, training and research facility will focus on bioengineering, cancer control, mental health and optometry.

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A new Postgraduate Medical Institute for regional medical staff, based at Anglia Ruskin University’s Rivermead campus in Chelmsford, has been showcased and officially launched by Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education and Harlow MP, Bill Rammell.

Newly crowned Cruiserweight World Boxing Champion David Haye was there at the launch to acknowledge the work that the country’s leading medical professionals do to help top sportsmen and women in their careers.

The Institute, led by medical academics in partnership with eleven NHS trusts from around the East of England, will provide a regional nucleus for postgraduate education and training, alongside medical research and development. It will build on existing medical research activity at the University, create a focus for investment from the NHS and the private sector, provide opportunities for training and R&D partnerships with industry and allow NHS Trusts to develop their senior staff locally.

Speaking about the potential of the Institute, Consultant Anesthetist and Project Leader for the Postgraduate Medical Institute, Dr Aimen Hassani said:

"I believe that this Institute for doctors and other healthcare professionals will bring a significant leap into the future of Medical and Health Sciences advances in Essex. In addition, it will stimulate collaborative work between our partner NHS Trusts, Anglia Ruskin University, private healthcare providers and the industry."

"We intend to promote a new multi-disciplinary and multi-centre approach to education, research and development, that will bring better outcomes to health improvement programmes for our nation."

"Clearly in Essex we compete for staff with London-based Trusts where the R&D infrastructure is so much better developed. This Institute will help us to attract high calibre UK consultants to the region."

He added,

"Sports and health run hand in hand and we are grateful to David Haye who joined us for the opening to endorse this important work. David's energy, dedication, and perseverance took him through his amazing achievements and his qualities are an inspiration to us all."

The recent changes in medical training and education make it important that multiple routes exist for doctors to specialise and achieve promotion.

The new Institute will support postgraduate training in medicine by organising relevant courses, symposiums and conferences for a wide range of professional activities. The Institute will be housed in existing facilities initially but will ultimately have its own dedicated building.

In a competitive academic environment, the Institute intends to develop a targeted approach to its research programmes. These include research into Bioengineering, cancer control, mental health and Optometry.  

Bioengineering focuses on research into biomechanics and prosthetic implants and includes stress analysis research leading to improved aspects of implant surgery and hospital care, and the development of a system for early identification of wear and joint replacement loosening in prosthetic implants. 

Cancer control research brings together research on cellular aspects of cancer cells focused on the analysis of tumour development mechanisms. The University is currently investigating the potential triggers that enable breast cancers to develop and metastasize and trying to identify the potential biomarkers of breast cancer, breast cancer matastasis and breast cancer response to chemotherapy.

Mental health research is relatively recently established at Anglia Ruskin University. A shared professorial appointment with South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has enabled a range of research projects to be progressed and a number of members of staff at the Trust to work towards gaining a PhD.

The University is widely acknowledged for its research work in Optometry with its myopia research group part of an international research consortium including partners in the USA, UK and Australia funded by the Government of Australia. The group has identified important factors that influence myopic progression and its findings have led to the design of a new type of contact lens which has been patented in a number of countries.

Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council commented:

"The county of Essex is proud of its medical excellence and I am delighted that this will now be even further underpinned by such an important development which will enable us to better capitalise on the expertise in our Trusts and attract additional funding for our work from both public and private sources."

Partners involved in the establishment of the Postgraduate Medical Institute include Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, North East Essex Primary Care Trust, Essex Nuffield Hospital, Brentwood, North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, Ramsay Health Care UK, Bedford, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

For further information about the Postgraduate Medical Institute, contact 0845 271 3333, visit www.anglia.ac.uk or email aimen.hassani@anglia.ac.uk