Leicestershire Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Doctoral Training Programme

Our fellows

Cohort 1 (2022 intake)

Frank Arsenyadis profileFrank Arsenyadis

I’m Frank, a Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Programme Fellow and Research Dietitian here at the University of Leicester and Leicester Biomedical Research Centre. My background is a mix of clinical and research. I started my clinical dietetic role while concurrently applying to the National Institute of Health and Care Research’s Integrated Clinical Academic Programme where I had the opportunity to conduct research in parallel to treating patients. This led me to apply for a research role at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, where I could see that the clinical research conducted today affected patients’ lives tomorrow. My mixed clinical and research interests have now led me to start my Wellcome Trust funded PhD project.

My Doctoral Training Programme will see me develop a weight loss optimisation strategy for older South Asian adults living with Type 2 Diabetes. This will be tested through a clinical trial using lifestyle intervention. A more targeted approach is necessary, one that spares muscle while achieving fat loss. I will delve deeper into the mechanisms linking muscle, weight loss and long term health through this research project and equip frontline healthcare professionals and people living with Type 2 Diabetes with new lifestyle approaches to optimise weight loss and promote long, healthier lives.

The focus on using lifestyle approach to achieve positive outcomes is something I enjoy in my own time. When not working, you can find me cycling, running or rowing (indoors). In my opinion, nothing beats discovering the beauties of the countryside while taking exercise during a sunny day.

Holly Drover profileHolly Drover

After graduating as a Physiotherapist from the University of Nottingham in 2019, I worked as a Rotational Physiotherapist across a range of specialities including cardio-respiratory, orthopaedics and pelvic health. During this time, I developed an interest in the management of respiratory conditions and gained a Senior Respiratory Physiotherapist role at Nottingham University Hospitals.

Alongside my clinical role, I developed my research skills by completing an NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Internship and completing Masters modules in Research Methods (Health) at the University of Nottingham. I was able to present my work at national and regional conferences.

Working clinically in a geographical area with a diverse population has made me realise the importance of engaging all members of our community in research. The Leicestershire Health Inequality Improvement Programme aims to work with the diverse population of Leicestershire and I look forward to working alongside the ethnically and culturally diverse population to improve health outcomes.

My project, titled “Breathlessness perceptions of under-represented groups to develop a culturally tailored symptom management intervention” will address the need for culturally appropriate respiratory rehabilitation in the UK. I was attracted to this project as breathlessness is currently treated by a one-size fits all model and this project will work with individuals impacted by breathlessness and design an intervention that meets their needs.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, cooking and exploring new places.

Lucy Gardiner profileLucy Gardiner

I'm a physiotherapist by background and passionate about enabling people living with long-term conditions to live well, based on evidence-informed practice.

I qualified in 2010 (Manchester Metropolitan University) and worked clinically in a range of trusts and roles; most recently chronic respiratory disease/rehabilitation focused. Having developed a strong interest in all things cardio-respiratory and research, I went on to join the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care (ACPRC) committee as regional network lead in 2018 and complete a masters in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy in 2019 (University College London). Stemming from poor uptake and engagement in pulmonary rehabilitation, I developed a keen interest in factors influencing health behaviours and health inequalities.

Having realised my ambition for a clinical academic career, I sought opportunities for rehabilitation-related research experience and moved into an academic post (in physiotherapy) at the University of Birmingham late 2019. Though education-focused (PGCert completed in 2021), I continued to pursue my research interests and find my path to PhD. My ACPRC committee role provided invaluable opportunities to network, collaborate, present, and much more, all of which have played a significant role in my development and career path.

Given my interests and ambitions, the Leicestershire Health Inequalities Improvement Doctoral Training Programme seemed an ideal opportunity! My project: ‘The impact of Long COVID-19 on the multi-morbid individual – integration to a multi-morbid exercise-based rehabilitation programme’ ties in closely with my core interests and provides me with great research development opportunities including large data management.

Outside of the world of clinical academia, I love travelling, hiking, reading, playing the piano.

Mary Harrison profileMary Harrison

My name's Mary and I am a Trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) and Clinical Academic Nurse in University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre. Since qualifying in 2003 I have worked mainly in acute care areas such as intensive care. I have also had several research nurse roles and was even the governance lead for a short time- but missed contact with patients! These posts engaged me in clinical research, and fostered a desire to undertake my own research. Since then, I have successfully been awarded the NIHR Research Internship, NIHR funded Masters of Research an NIHR Pre-doctoral Fellow and is now a Fellow on the Wellcome Trust Health Inequalities Doctoral Training Programme (DTP).

I was looking for a suitable DTP, and this programme, ran and led by an Allied Health Professional, fitted really well to my career goals and clinical passions.

Outside of work I am a classically trained singer, singing with groups and performing in musicals and concerts regularly. I enjoy walking our dog and being outdoors having adventures with my children.

This brings me to my most important role, as mum of two lovely children, a golden retriever and the wife of a loving man- I am thankful for them every day.

Jo McAllister profileJo McAllister

I am nursing academic, who has maintained a passion for rehabilitation, public health and research across my career to date. I have 14 years clinical experience in primary and secondary care settings, working as an exercise physiologist in cardiac rehabilitation and a registered critical care nurse in the British Army. I moved into higher education and became Deputy Head of Nursing for the unique MSci Dual Qualification Nursing with Leadership programmes at the University of Leicester.

Pathways for nursing clinical academics are not always easy to identify, therefore the Wellcome Trust LHIIP DTP provided a distinctive opportunity to become directly involved in research, allowing me to develop a research portfolio whilst influencing clinical care and improving patient outcomes. Key benefits of the programme such as financial support, a generous training budget, internationally recognised project supervisors and the support ofeing a in cohort of research fellows creates an enthusiastic and enjoyable research environment to work in. The programme is allowing me to develop essential researcher skills according to my individual needs, which I aim to transfer into future research projects.

My project will focus on health inequalities in cardiac rehabilitation and is an exciting opportunity to explore how to make this vital service accessible and suitable for the diverse population of Leicester, and potentially advise other rehabilitation programmes across the country. I am passionate about promoting excellent nursing research and innovative clinical practises, and I hope to demonstrate how this is possible to future cohorts of student and qualified nurses.

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