A major new centre has launched to bring together paediatric research, education and training across Imperial and West London.
Attendees gathered recently at a virtual event to inaugurate the Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health, which is led by Professor Andy Bush and a multidisciplinary management team drawn from across the College and its NHS partners.
The Centre unites researchers, clinicians and educators both within Imperial and across West London, fostering collaboration for the benefit of the present and future generations of children.
Its key objectives are:
- To drive forward world-class, multidisciplinary research in all aspects of newborn and child health, and the genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors which affect child development.
- To work in partnership with children and families to advance research and to champion the rights of all children to be involved in research that will benefit children.
- To ensure an environment which will nurture the next generation of clinicians and scientists who will advance high quality, ethical paediatric research.
- To promote excellent holistic undergraduate and postgraduate education to equip trainees to be inquisitive and able to contribute to advances in paediatrics and child health.
- To engage with children, young people and the community, to promote science and medicine, and facilitate their access to opportunities at Imperial.
A voice for children
Opening the event, Professor Bush explained that the Centre provides a unified forum for anyone with expertise or an interest in paediatrics and child health in the West London area, with a primary focus on common diseases of childhood and population health: “The Centre embraces researchers from a wide variety of disciplines including clinicians, scientists, psychologists and Allied Health Professionals.”
“We want all children to achieve their full potential, and oppose discrimination on any basis whatever, whether it prevents children from achieving their goals, or limits access to the fantastic opportunities at Imperial College.”
He added: “We are the voice for children within Imperial College London and beyond, working closely with our NHS colleagues across West London. We want to stimulate each other to climb out of our silos and interact better across the sector.”
The virtual symposium included a series of rapid-fire talks spanning the breadth of the Centre’s core and cross-cutting research themes, as well as its key collaborations with the Mohn Centre for Children’s Health and Wellbeing and Connecting Care for Children (CC4C). It also featured focussed presentations on the Centre’s work to innovate paediatric education and training and to support early career researchers in the field.
West London Children’s Healthcare Alliance
The formation of the new Centre marks an important step in Imperial’s ambitious vision for the future of paediatrics and child health. The new Centre works in close partnership with the West London Children’s Healthcare Alliance (WLCHA), bringing together services offered by healthcare providers, charities and volunteers in North West London to create an integrated children’s healthcare system.
In his opening comments, Professor Jonathan Weber, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, explained: “Linking up the academic mission through the Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health at Imperial College with the West London Children’s Healthcare Alliance is immensely attractive. A focus on common diseases gives us real traction to make major in-roads into research and its impact on children in West London and beyond.”
Speaking at the event, Dr Martin Gray, Consultant Paediatrician at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, provided an overview of the WLCHA’s future aims, explaining: “Our vision, which aligns with the strategy of the Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health, is to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people across our alliance. We’re on a journey and have a long way to go, but we look forward to working collaboratively with the academic team at the new Imperial Centre to deliver on our common objectives.”
Championing cross-disciplinary research
Closing the event, Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise, explained how the new Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health would embody the College’s commitment to championing cross-disciplinary research for the benefit of society.
“Through encouraging and facilitating collaboration, Centres such as this really have the power to unite colleagues who share common goals. I’m delighted that the Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health will facilitate the extensive cross-disciplinary research and education for the benefit of children’s wellbeing.”
“I think the Centre encapsulates what’s at the heart of our College’s vision: that only through true collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach can research make a real impact and change lives for the better.”
To learn more and express your interest in joining Imperial’s Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health, please visit the website.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
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