I am an enthusiastic postdoctoral fellow, passionate about my work and being in the wild outdoors. There is nothing like running in the hills, especially on a calm sunny autumnal day. I have two teenage boys, one has started University and the other is still at school. I am a typical health conscious uni mother, encouraging sleep, less time on electronic devices and trying to promote healthy eating…whilst I personally try not to be hypocritical about all of the aforementioned!
During my PhD, I developed the PRECIS-2 tool to help trialists match their design decisions to the information needs of those they hope will use the trial results – patients, healthcare professionals or policymakers. If PRECIS-2 could assist clinical trialists, right at the beginning of the design process, consider the impact their design decisions have on the applicability of their results in clinical settings. This could be one way to reduce research waste. Producing relevant research for evidence based practice is particularly important to me as a nurse.
After gaining a degree in Biochemistry from St Andrews, I worked as a nurse in Glasgow, before studying for an MPH at Emory University, Atlanta, USA. My career with the Cochrane Collaboration, started in Oslo, Norway where I worked for 7 years. Then moving back to Scotland 14 years ago, I worked for the UK Cochrane Centre, freelance in trial and health research before completing a PhD. I am now working at the University of Stirling in the Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Research Unit (NMAHP RU).
Particular career highlights
During my MPH I won an Oakridge fellowship to work at the US Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). I was the rapporteur for an assessment of neurological effects on children living near a hazardous waste site. I not only got to see how things work inside a huge US agency (including wearing tailored shorts on casual day on a Friday!) but had the chance to fly to Portland, Oregon for the project right over the crater of Mount St Helen’s.
Where my research has made an impact outwith the University setting
I am delighted that the largest funder in the world, the National Institute of Health, has included PRECIS-2 in guidance on reporting pragmatic trials, alongside a webinar. Since I arrived at Stirling, I have continuing work with two Washington trial agencies, Westat and the Center for Medical Technology Policy (CTMP) using PRECIS-2 for funded NIH pragmatic trials as well as finishing off publications with the Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit (PCTU). In the UK, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has included PRECIS-2 as one of eight “useful papers” for trialists. There is now a large group of international users of the tool, many registered on the website including Masters students as far afield as Paris and Los Angeles. The PRECIS-2 tool is also on the Duke University website and the University of Colorado have used the tool in their pragmatic trial toolkit.
Being an impact fellow
“Impact” was first used in 1601 as a noun meaning a marked effect or influence. Through the PRECIS-2 website hosted by the University of Stirling and my Twitter accounts @KirstyLoudon and @PRECIS_2 I disseminate my work and any health-related insightful views. Since becoming an impact fellow 1st October 2015 my focus has been on creating an international network. One highlight includes a British Council workshop on “Implementation Science” in maternal health in Montevideo, Uruguay, February 2016 captured in a blog. I was also delighted to present at the Society of Clinical Trials conference in Montreal in May 2016. As an impact fellow I have taken advantage of training opportunities, including Successful bidding for Research funding which is my main goal now for the remainder of my fellowship with a few grants in the pipeline. A recent blog from Katharine Reibig rang true to me “create an environment where people can develop both themselves and their research”. Being an impact fellow at the University of Stirling, has given me a unique opportunity to pursue my own research. Thank you, I am extremely grateful!