Meet Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London and 2017 Society for Endocrinology Jubilee Medal winner.
You’ve heard it before:
…The public have the right (and duty, some may say) to engage with science and medicine.
…Public engagement gives your work real-world context and a fresh perspective on what you do.
…If you are applying for funding, get ready to demonstrate your involvement with the public.
The many reasons why you should engage with the public have been listed and discussed plenty of times, so you already know what it’s about. You know it’s essential; you know it’s not just about communicating science, but about having a conversation; you know your audience has a voice and an active role to play – they’re not just spectators.
However, finding the time to dedicate to public engagement is no easy endeavour – even less so considering your already crammed schedule. Besides, interacting with school children and families at a science festival is not everybody’s cup of tea, and the risk of being forced into it can make your public engagement efforts become a ‘tick-box activity’.
But here’s the good news – public engagement comes in many more shapes than you may think. There’s a plethora of sometimes quirky, always wonderful initiatives out there to exemplify that engagement can take fascinating formats.
Even better news for those with overloaded schedules – sometimes it may be more effective to reach your audience remotely, which may allow more flexibility and make your life a little easier! In many cases your target audience won’t be the science fair type, after all, and picking the right medium to engage them is tightly related to the kind of audience they are. Ask yourself – how old are they? Where do they hang out, on- and off-line? What are their interests and motivations? What does their day-to-day life look like? Consideration of these factors is crucial before you embark on any public engagement journey!
Without further ado, here is a list of formats that showcase the many faces of public engagement…
Let your imagination be sparked!
- At schools, colleges, community groups or science / family festivals. A well-known public engagement format for science and medicine, and no wonder – this can be a most gratifying way to participate. Contrary to what some think, people do want to know about your work and can be extremely engaged – you just need to find a way to tap into the curiosity of your particular audience.. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all. You could design an activity or inspire a crowd just by talking about your own journey in STEM and medicine.
- At a music festival, your local mall, the pub or other unlikely places. By taking your activity to a place where people would not expect you can reach very different audiences, and can add an extra layer of fun to public engagement. Guerrilla Science managed to engage festival-goers at Glastonbury by challenging them to prove themselves smarter than a rat.
- At your own workplace. Instead of taking your experience and activities elsewhere, you could invite people to take part in an immersive experience at your institution. Organise a one-off careers event or even start a sustained engagement scheme between your institution and a selection of people. This gives them a chance to see what’s going on behind the scenes and have a feel of the day-to-day life of doctors, nurses or scientists.
- Through public dialogue. As defined by the Research Council UK, public dialogue is a deliberative participatory engagement where the outcomes are used to inform decision-making. An example of this may be organising a focus group with patients in order to decide what the next step of your research should be. These initiatives can go really far –patients can even become the researchers!
- Through broadcast media. Whether it’s an appearance on a TV, radio show or a podcast, this can be an effective way to reach out to the public. Your audience can participate by phone or social media, or there could be an associated event to enable them to have their say. Need tips on how to do TV or to work with journalists effectively? The Society can support you and point you in the right direction for training and useful resources.
- Through written word. If you are a keen writer and enjoy the creativeness of the process you can apply those skills to engage your audience by telling them about your work. Write a blog or become a contributor for a website or magazine and spark a conversation with and amongst your readers.
- By becoming a media ambassador for the Society. Regardless of the medium, collaboration between the worlds of science and journalism enables the responsible and clear reporting of science in the news.
- Through Social Media. ‘Ask me anything’ sessions or Twitter takeovers are a great conversation-based way to engage with people – you just need access to the internet and a Reddit or Twitter account to get going!
- Through art. Art and science aren’t opposites – they are both driven by curiosity, require creativity and both aim to gain a better understanding of the world. Collaborations between science and the arts range from films, theatre and exhibitions to dance, storytelling, comics and stand-up comedy.
- Creating a resource. If you have the creative drive and the crafting skills but define yourself as a ‘behind the scenes’ sort of person, why not creating materials or activities for other people to use? Board games, mobile apps, activities for science festivals – you name it!
- Through citizen science. Let people become your co-researchers to achieve common research goals, like collecting information on viral epidemiology, self-soothing, protein folding or mapping the human brain.
Public engagement isn’t easy, but that doesn’t make it dreadful, inconvenient or disruptive. Rather, your challenge lies in approaching it creatively. If you have a passion for what you do, there will be a way to channel it into a public engagement activity – you just need to find the right fit for you and your public!
Aida de Heras, Society for Endocrinology Communications Executive.
Meet Simon Pearce, Professor of Endocrinology at Newcastle University and Programme Secretary for SfE BES 2017, in Harrogate, 6-8 November. We caught up with him to find out more about his work and to discover his upcoming highlights and top tips for the conference.
Q: Tell us a little about your career path and endocrine interests
I qualified in medicine at the Newcastle University, completed my postgraduate education at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in Hammersmith, Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and as a Lecturer in Newcastle. I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Endocrinology in 2001 at Newcastle University and became Professor in 2007.
My main research area is the treatment for autoimmune thyroid diseases and Addison’s disease. I have published around 150 papers over the last 20 years spanning molecular endocrinology, clinical trials and guideline papers.
Q: Tell us a little about your role as SfE Programme Secretary
As Programme Secretary I organise the scientific programme for the annual conference. It’s a great privilege to be able to choose the speakers that I want to learn from. My assumption is that if I am interested in the topic, then it will interest others too.
2016 was my first year as programme secretary and the informal feedback about the quality of the symposia and meet the expert sessions as the meeting progressed was great. I was very happy on the last day when it was all over though, with no significant hitches.
Q: What do you think are the programme highlights at SfE BES 2017?
There is a very strong programme on several subjects including calcium and bone, thyroid, and female reproductive endocrinology. Following the success of last year’s thyroid masterclass, we have scheduled a bone masterclass with two internationally respected experts on osteoporosis, a clinical management symposium on hyper- and hypo-calcaemia and a session on steroids and bone.
The meet the expert sessions on opiate-induced hypopituitarism, hyperthyroidism in pregnancy and next-generation DNA sequencing promise to keep you up to date on the latest advances in these important and fast-moving areas.
We also welcome more than 20 overseas speakers, including cutting edge plenary lectures from some giants in our field, Teresa Woodruff, Andrew Arnold and Martin Schlumberger. Home-grown highlights will also include two well-known members of our Society, Andrew Hattersley and Julia Buckingham, who never fail to both entertain and inform.
Q: What are you particularly looking forward to?
I always enjoy the plenary lectures, and Andrew Hattersley has been an inspirational role model for me; translating the highest quality laboratory science to change clinical practice and improve patient outcomes. So I think his talk will be a highlight.
Q: Do you have some words of wisdom for anyone attending SfE BES for the first time?
Have a good look at the programme at a glance page and plan your most interesting sessions carefully. I receive frequent comments that there is too much going on at the same time during the meeting and people would like to split themselves in two. My advice is go to the session that you know least about, as you stand to learn the most from this, even if it feels slightly outside your normal ‘comfort zone’.
Q: What do you think will be the next major breakthrough in endocrinology?
It’s clear that there is a lot of pharma work on small molecules that target several receptors at the same time to modulate appetite and metabolic phenotypes. I am also excited that during the next 10 years we may see new treatments for hyperthyroidism; the first advance since the early 1950s.
Meet Professor Antonio Vidal-Puig, endocrinologist and Society for Endocrinology Medal winner for 2017. Prof Vidal-Puig is based at the Institute of Metabolic Sciences, Cambridge University and at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where his outstanding research, focusing on the link between obesity and associated metabolic complications, has earned him this award, to be presented the annual conference, SfE BES 2017, in Harrogate, 6-8 November 2017. Learn more about his endocrine journey in this exclusive interview.
Q: Tell us a little about your career so far and how you ended up in Cambridge.
Originally from Spain, I studied medicine and trained in endocrinology at Valencia Medical School and Granada Medical School. I held post-doctoral positions in Boston at the Massachussetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School from 1992-1999. There I had excellent mentors including Jeff Flier, Brad Lowell, David Moller and Leo Krall. This was a very intense, exciting and uncertain period, at the epicentre of major discoveries in the field of obesity. This was a period that defined my career, scientific focus, approach to science and reinforced my values. I have been developing my career in the UK, since arriving at Cambridge University in 2000, and now have an established laboratory and have become a Professor of Molecular Nutrition and Metabolism.
Q: Tell us more about your research that led to you being awarded the Society Medal
The lab is interested in why obesity results in diabetes, insulin resistance, fatty liver and ischaemic heart disease, in order to find ways of preventing these complications.
The key concept of our programme is lipotoxicity, which links obesity-related metabolic complications with the excessive accumulation of lipids outside adipose tissue, in organs including muscle, liver and heart. From the concept of lipotoxicity we have developed three main research directions:
- understanding how the adipose tissue works, with the aim of improving its function and ensuring that lipids remain in adipose. This led to the development of our “adipose tissue expandability hypothesis”, which is now widely accepted by the scientific community
- developing strategies to burn the excess lipids and prevent lipotoxicity through activation of brown fat
- promoting that the quality of dietary lipids should be as healthy as possible, to prevent toxic effects.
My Medal Lecture at SfE BES 2017 will summarise our contribution to these three directions.
Q: What are you particularly looking forward to at SfE BES 2017?
I will use this conference for updating clinical aspects of my work. The presentation quality is always good and helpful. One session I am really curious about is Workshop 1: Tissue Engineering for Regenerative Medicine in Endocrinology. I think technology is essential to retain a competitive position in research and the topics presented are highly transferable and of interest. I think tissue engineering approaches to increase brown fat mass could be really helpful in preventing obesity and diabetes, I am curious about the concept and possibilities of using 3D bioprinting.
Q: What have been your career highlights so far?
I feel content about my career progression. I consider highlights to be our best pieces of research; our papers tend to be quite comprehensive and we believe they make important contributions. I think for this reason these contributions are well respected by our colleagues. Our reputation as a lab is important for us. Also as a proud introvert, I have not touted our highlights and have not needed to for our professional highlights to be widely acclaimed, however I do understand that it is important to make the public aware of their implications. Also, as a laboratory leader I know that to disseminate these highlights is important for the careers my lab members. In this respect, winning the Society for Endocrinology Medal is a highlight that reflects the quality and commitment of the present and past members of the laboratory.
At a more personal level, I admit I have an aesthetic approach to science. I enjoy understanding and identifying sophisticated mechanisms, developing models that explain reality and learning how biological systems self-regulate. I don’t think this is unusual amongst endocrinologists. Also, becoming a Professor at Cambridge University was a moment of satisfaction I shared with my colleagues and family. In some ways my career has provided me with professional freedom, which is a key value for me, beyond other motivations, such as power or fame, that I have always found energy draining and restrictive of my autonomy.
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges in your research area right now?
I think a big challenge in my research area, and others, is how to extract value from the excessive information generated by recent technological advances. Our challenge is how to analyse this information to prioritise the types of mechanistic validation that are necessary for estimating its relevance. Also, it is not only the amount of data, but the amount of unnecessary noise coming from poor quality research that makes this task more difficult.
Q: What are your future plans for your work & career?
As you become more senior in science, you often suffer the disadvantage that your professional horizon is shorter. However, this position also has the advantage that you can be more selective in your choice of projects, with more freedom to take risks. I think my laboratory in this respect is quite entrepreneurial, we are innovating by entering new fields/technologies, which I think is important for remaining competitive. For example, we have opened a new lab at Sanger, funded by the European Research Council to work on stem cells and adipose tissue. We are also developing two new programmes of research; one in Nanjing focused on murine models of fatty liver, and another in Bangalore focused on adipose tissue stem cell biology to model obesity and diabetes in India. These are exciting challenges that will provide opportunities for my younger associates in their future careers.
Q: Who do you most admire professionally?
I have learned a lot from many of my mentors, colleagues and trainees. In some way these experiences have shaped my values and my strong views about science and leadership. For example, I have always admired the intellectual rigour and scientific honesty of Brad Lowell. I admired the consistency and confident leadership of Jeff Flier and the legacy of Daniel Lane, who developed many academic scientists in his lab to share his cultural values and collegiality, which they now disseminate to the next generations. I find this very impressive.
Q: Any words of wisdom for aspiring endocrinologists out there?
Endocrinology is not a specialty that will make you rich, but it is a specialty where you can fulfill your intellectual scientific needs and enjoy the human aspect of practicing medicine. It is very satisfying because your patients get better and, given that treatments are required long term, an important factor in the success depends on establishing an empathetic relationship with them. You will get to know many of your patients well, from whom you will receive gratitude and a sense of meaning and fulfillment. In this respect it is a very rewarding profession.
Q: What do you think will be the next major breakthrough in your field?
I think real breakthrough with long term impact requires deep knowledge and new technologies, I have become quite sceptical about quick or easy breakthroughs that address complex problems. It is important to understand how regulatory systems operate, to learn what the adaptive changes of the organism or cell to maintain normality are, and to determine the intrinsic capacity of these systems to recover normality if the early factors of the disease are removed. For this reason, we focus on early disease events, aiming to prevent or reverse excessive damage to the homeostatic system and regain metabolic control. In this sense, we think it is as important to learn how the problem occurs as it is to learn the trigger and why it occurs. In our field I think understanding how lipids mediate disease could be used for prevention, early diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
You can hear Prof Vidal-Puig’s Society for Endocrinology lecture on Wednesday 8 November, 15:45-16:45, and see the full scientific programme for SfE BES 2017.
The Society understands that opportunities to present your work, hear from and network with leaders in your field are invaluable for career development. But how do you find the means to attend those extremely-relevant-to-your-career conferences?
Society Travel Grants are available to fund worldwide conference travel, to help you get your work recognised on the world stage. Two previous awardees, Emma Batchen and Julie McNairn, tell us where these grants took them and how they could improve your career prospects.
- What do you do, and what are your areas of interest in endocrinology?
- Emma Batchen: I’m a final year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and my research focuses on understanding the effect of antenatal glucocorticoid treatment in the maturation of the foetal heart. I want to find out the benefits of this treatment in mothers at risk of pre-term birth.
- Julie McNairn: I am also a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and about to submit my thesis! My work – a combination of disciplines from my previous MSc, neuroscience and cardiovascular biology – investigated neuroendocrine control of salt appetite and blood pressure.
- How many Society Travel Grants have you received and where did they take you?
- Emma: I have received three travel grants – two to attend SfE BES conferences in Edinburgh and Brighton, and one to go to the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology 2016 meeting in Florence. The SfE BES conferences were ideal to get exposure to the many aspects of endocrinology, whereas the event in Florence allowed me to concentrate on the centre of my research, the heart.
- Julie: I have received one travel grant, which I used to attend the Federation of European Neuroscience conference, FENS 2016, in Copenhagen. My work spans multiple disciplines and major conference, such as this one, allow me to present all aspects of my work and to receive input from many different angles.
- What did you get out the experience?
- Emma: Presenting my work at large events has made me a more confident person. I met potential employers and collaborators in my research field, made new friends and visited places of the world I had never been to before.
- Julie: The grant enabled me to gauge the interest of the scientific community and exchange ideas and concepts of how my work may benefit from different research directions. It also helped me build on my public speaking and public engagement skills – I spoke to a large number of European scientists about my findings and pitfalls, which helped me to see what the most engaging aspects of my work were. FENS offered amazing talks, the highlights of which were the superb presidential lectures, led by speakers with an unrivalled passion for their research.
- Would you apply again? If so, where are you planning to go?
- Emma: Absolutely! I am applying to attend the next SfE BES in Harrogate.
- Julie: I will definitely apply for another grant as soon as my thesis write-up is finished. All future plans are on hold until then!
- Would you recommend the grant to others?
- Emma: Yes, because it’s a fantastic experience both personally and professionally, and you get to visit different places around the world. It’s a win-win situation!
- Julie: Yes, it was easy to apply and I was awarded £600 to attend FENS, I would not have been able to afford the conference otherwise. Thanks to the grant, I got to talk to many other scientists about their work, which helped me appreciate the plethora of amazing research that I otherwise would have never known about.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
- Emma: These grants have definitely allowed me to grow as a PhD student and set me up for a career in research, for which I am extremely grateful to the Society.
- Julie: The grants also give you the chance to explore new destinations. Copenhagen is a stunning city and I was fortunate enough to be able to extend my trip for a couple of days after the conference to experience some of the sights.
If your abstract has been accepted for SfE BES 2017, apply for a Travel Grant before 15 August 2017 to help cover your registration, travel and accommodation costs for the upcoming annual meeting of your Society!
Want to travel somewhere else too? Don’t fret – there are two more deadlines in December 2017 and March 2018 to attend other conferences. Members are entitled to two travel grants per year, subject to eligibility criteria.
”The best way to predict the future is to create it” Anne Marland, Advance Nurse Practitioner.
Committees have an integral role in guiding the Society – they aim to ensure that members’ interests are served in the best possible way, within the Society and beyond. Dedicated endocrinologists from different career stages and disciplines serve on these Committees, but what drives them to volunteer their valuable time?
Sherwin Criseno, of the Nurse Committee, considered it a matter of career progression. “Being part of a nurse expert group opens up opportunities to exchange knowledge in endocrinology”, he says. ”It also provides a platform for networking among endocrine nurses and endocrine centres, and gives you a chance to contribute in developing educational frameworks and programmes for the nurse community.”
Clinical Committee member, Jeremy Tomlinson, was driven to join a committee by a desire to become more involved with the Society. ”I wanted to highlight specific aspects of patient care, and work together with other endocrinologists to make a difference,” says Jeremy.
Channa Jayasena, from the Public Engagement Committee, wanted to develop his career whilst playing an active, relevant role in the Society too. ”Committee participation enabled me to establish relationships with scientists and clinicians from endocrine units across the UK, and I got to be involved in the redesign of You and Your Hormones*, the public engagement website.” *New website launching soon
Anne Marland joined the Nurse Committee to challenge herself and become a future-shaping, vision-creating voice for the endocrine nurse community. ”The best way to predict the future is to create it, and being part of a committee offers plenty of exposure and leadership opportunities”, Anne states. ”My favourite part of the experience has been receiving so much peer support, which has been very motivational.”
Why do these Committee members think you should get involved?
- “To share your expertise, offer new perspectives and ideas, and to influence change, as this is vital in every dynamic organisation. It’s an opportunity every nurse should work and aspire for.” Sherwin Criseno
- “To work towards implementing initiatives that can improve patient care.” Jeremy Tomlinson
- “To be the voice of your peers and to contribute to the growth of the Society – which means a success for its members and for endocrinology.” Anne Marland
- “To help promote endocrinology sensibly and responsibly, for example when dealing with the media.” Channa Jayasena
It is now time to submit your nominations – whether this is to put your own name forward, or that of another clinician, nurse, or scientist member, you have until 30 June 2017 to make a difference for your fellow endocrinologists by shaping the future of the Society.
Wondering whether there is a place for you?
There is definitely a committee for you, regardless of your previous experience and professional trajectory within endocrinology. Currently, the Society has openings on five of its committees – Clinical, Nurse, Programme, Public Engagement and Science – as well as in the Early-Career steering group and the Corporate Liaison Board sub-committee.
If you want even more insight on the value of being part of a committee, members Stephanie Baldeweg, Kim Jonas and Kate Lines told us about their committee journeys in the spring issue of The Endocrinologist.
The Society of Endocrinology is eager to help you drive your career forward and, in line with this, the Practical Skills Grant is an opportunity not to be missed. This grant enables scientists in training to visit other labs to learn new techniques, so that they can return home with an improved skill-set and plenty of research collaboration potential!
Here is the story of Dr Naomi Brooks, Senior Lecturer at the University of Stirling, who is interested in exercise physiology, muscle biology and nutrition. In 2015, she was one of the Practical Skills Awardees and travelled to South Africa to learn a challenging lab technique from world-leading experts…
“My application to the Society for Endocrinology Practical Skills grant was inspired by my previous success in winning a Society Early Career Grant. I chose Prof Kathy Myburgh’s lab, in the Physiological Sciences Muscle Group in Stellenbosch University, South Africa. I was aware that the particular technique I wished to learn was difficult and that the Myburgh Laboratory had detailed knowledge and success with it. I had previously worked with the Myburgh group as a post-doctoral fellow. Since I knew the group and identified the potential for collaboration, the choice to return to Stellenbosch was key for my career at that stage.
Stellenbosch is a beautiful town surrounded by mountains and vineyards. I was there during the spring and the weather was kind, not too hot, which allowed me to walk to work every day from my local accommodation. During my work week I would spend time in the lab, either with colleagues or writing and reflecting by myself. When away from the busyness of academia, I visited local areas and enjoyed the beautiful African outdoors and hospitality, and I still had time to write papers and put ideas together for grant applications!
The Practical Skills Grant enabled me to investigate a number of different methods for stem cell isolation and primary cell growth. I was able to see the technique demonstrated, trouble-shoot and have discussions about the procedure and its applications. As a result of this, the cell culture laboratory at my home institution is currently considering building collaborations with molecular investigators to apply the technique in our labs. I continue to build my personal and laboratory group skill-set to enhance our work, and thanks to this grant I was able to improve my academic opportunities as a researcher able to integrate both applied and basic research. The experience provided me with an integrated understanding of the technique, which will hopefully translate into more research opportunities and encourage my transition into an established researcher in the field.
When I lived in Stellenbosch as a post-doctoral fellow, I volunteered at an orphanage in Kayamandi, the local township. I also started a community exercise programme, which was both a research and a community engagement and development programme. Returning to these places was very special. The exercise programme was still running 5 years later, and was coordinated by those working in the community garden project.
Creating and fostering networks and collaborations, both within the UK and overseas, is very important in the world of academia. I would encourage those wishing to expand their horizons and learn new techniques to apply for the Practical Skills grant; especially amongst those early career researchers, as having “many strings to one’s bow” is important to establish a career.” Naomi Brooks, Senior Lecturer at the University of Stirling.
What would you do with a Practical Skills Grant? Applications close on 31 October 2017, so better start thinking about it!
How can you encourage undergraduate students to specialise and continue in endocrinology? The Society’s Undergraduate Achievement Award enables departments to reward and recognise the outstanding, endocrine-related work of undergraduate students. Successful departments receive £300 per year for three years, to award to students in any way they decide is most effective.
Director of Learning and Teaching at Kingston University Nigel Page tells us about the value of the award to his department, and his former student Nirun Hewawasam talks about how the experience set her off on a career in endocrinology.
“Recognising the talents of our students is vital, and the Society for Endocrinology Undergraduate Achievement Award gives us the perfect opportunity to do just that! This prestigious award has been a great way of encouraging academic excellence and bringing the field of endocrinology to the forefront of our students’ study. We have been able to offer the award to outstanding performances in our final year projects that have a specific endocrine theme. All of our winners from the last three years have felt the award has impacted on their decisions and confidence in being able to go on and successfully develop their careers in endocrinology, and have decided to undertake endocrinology related postgraduate research studies.
At Kingston University, this award has allowed us to recognise our most talented students and has helped in getting them to where they are today. In addition, it has been a fantastic way to advertise the work of the Society to our students and many of our undergraduates have taken the initiative to become members.
Each year we have been able to announce the award at our graduation ceremony to parents and guests, which is a real honour! The impact of receiving the award has been very positive to all parties, and is certainly something our students will always take away with them.” Dr Nigel Page, Kingston University.
Nirun Hewawasam joined Kingston University as an undergraduate pharmacology student. As she had a particular interest in type 2 diabetes, her final year project focused on investigating the role of the novel protein SMOC-2 in beta cell growth factor signalling. She received her Undergraduate Achievement Award in July 2014.
“I have always been interested in the field of diabetes, and although my project required a lot of effort and commitment, winning a Society for Endocrinology Undergraduate Achievement Award was highly rewarding and encouraged me to continue in the field of endocrinology. Currently, I am doing a PhD entitled “Intercellular communication and pancreatic islet function in type 2 diabetes” at the University of Roehampton, where I am investigating how two pancreatic islet hormones can modulate islet function and survival in type 2 diabetes. Being a research student has given me a lot of confidence, and being part of life changing research is exciting and fulfilling. So far it has been a great journey full of exciting experiences, including successful moments and hardships, but with rewarding outcomes.
I believe that the Undergraduate Achievement Award contributed to my being awarded my PhD studentship, thereby increasing my career prospects. The award constitutes a great opportunity to encourage any student to undertake a career in the field of endocrinology.” Nirun Hewawasam, Kingston University 2014 Awardee.
Applications for the Undergraduate Achievement Award are open from 14 June 2017 until 15 September 2017. Find out more about how to encourage excellence in your students!
A great opportunity for all endocrinologists is coming up, as it will soon be time to vote for the President Elect of the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE). Professor John Wass, former EFES (now ESE) President and past Society for Endocrinology (SfE) Chairman, urges all SfE members not to miss this opportunity to influence the future of the organisation and endocrinology in Europe:
“I write to encourage all SfE members to vote. SfE has always played a major role in supporting ESE and gains greatly from this collaboration; therefore it is important that SfE members who are also ESE members vote in the upcoming ESE elections. SfE is an affiliated society member of ESE and an active member of the ESE Council of Affiliated Societies (ECAS). ESE runs excellent educational meetings across Europe -including its yearly congress-, provides numerous grants for basic and clinical researchers, produces guidelines, and brings together researchers across Europe and beyond as evidenced by the recent successful application for the Endocrine European Reference Network (ERN). ESE is much bigger than the EU, with members from over 90 countries and affiliated societies from over 45 countries. With Brexit on the horizon, there is no more important time to strengthen our academic and clinical links across Europe through supporting ESE. Please vote – it is important for endocrinology.”
E-vote submissions open until 19 April 2017. Eligible ESE members will be contacted by e-mail with further instructions on how to submit their votes.
Find out more about ESE and the election on the website.
This year, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we reached out to some of the female members who are an integral part of our Society (44% of our membership base!) to find out know what motivates, drives and inspires them, and what their proudest moments are. Notepad in hand, we interrupted their busy schedules to ask them some questions. Here’s what they said:
Dr Anna Crown and Dr Helen Simpson both completed their PhDs whilst starting a family and value the career support they received:
“I think this is an example of how it is possible to achieve a ‘work life balance’ and a reminder to senior colleagues of how important and influential their backing and encouragement can be”, says Anna.
Helen adds, “I frequently thought I would never finish my PhD. I will be eternally grateful for the support received”. Despite the challenges, Helen’s research achieved a citation for Excellence in Published Clinical Research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Louise Hunter agrees that support is one of the essential ingredients for career success:
“My biggest achievement has been securing my MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship. It made me value the faith others had in me, and taught me the importance of persevering towards a goal!”
Other members value being mentors or good role models. Lisa Shepherd’s proudest moment was becoming SfE Chair of the Nurse Committee, “representing, supporting and educating Endocrine Nurses in the UK. This also led to my becoming one of the founding members of the Federation of International Nurses in Endocrinology.”
Professor Karen Chapman has several proud moments: “They have all been every time one of my PhD students or RAs have won a prize or recognition for their research. That’s a wonderful feeling.”
Dr Antonia Brooke was proud to be told by one of her male trainees that she was his role model, and likes to think that she leads by example: “I’m training programme director and Clinical Lead whilst running a household and a family (and being the major breadwinner).”
And acknowledgement never goes amiss – For Professor Maralyn Druce, “my proudest career moment was the first time that anyone sent me a party invitation addressed to ‘Professor Druce’. – That was pretty cool.”
Anna Crown and Karen Chapman have previously contributed to The Endocrinologist, submitting some of their thoughts about women in science. Anna also shared some tips on how to survive endocrinology as a woman with The Endocrine Post.
Be Bold for Change
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign tag line, ‘Be Bold For Change’ prompts all of us to continue to push the agenda for gender parity. So what are our members doing to ‘be bold’?
Here’s some tips on following their example:
- Act as a mentor for men and women
- Share tips on how to juggle responsibilities to achieve a work-life balance (e.g. challenge out of hours career-related meetings)
- Promote women’s networking or leadership events
- Create opportunities for women to discuss the challenges they face in their careers
- Attend inspirational talks or events by successful women in any career path
- Raise the issue of equal representation in boards or committees.
- Recommend or nominate women for committees, talks or chair sessions.
Do you know an amazing endocrinologist you’d like to nominate for a Society Committee? We’d love to hear about them! Find out how to nominate them.
Lisa Shepherd, an Endocrinology Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the Society for Endocrinology Nurse Committee, discusses continuing education opportunities and the value of networking for endocrine nurses.
Endocrinology is a fascinating but complex area and nurses often work in isolation, so opportunities to develop and update their knowledge, benchmark their practice and network with other nurses are invaluable. The Society for Endocrinology Nurse Committee supports a number of strategies that promote networking amongst the Endocrine Nurse community.
Social media is increasingly used to build professional networks, so the Nurse Committee have set up an invite-only group on Facebook for endocrine nurses, which is a fast and easy way for the community to share protocols and information. Nurse Members of the Society also have a Twitter feed where training opportunities, research and nursing practice can be promoted to the wider community.
Face-to-face networking remains an effective means of sharing experience and learning from others, so a ‘nurses lounge’ was recently introduced at the SfE BES conference, to give nurses a dedicated space to meet each other in person. As many nurses are working in isolation it is valuable to provide a variety of opportunities, across different media that encourages endocrine nurses to support and learn from each other.
Endocrine Nurse Update (ENU) is coming up soon. This yearly update is designed by nurses for nurses and offers a varied and active programme of endocrinology topics. I am very excited that this year’s ENU will feature the inaugural Endocrine Nurse Award lecture by winner, Nikki Kieffer. This award was introduced to recognise excellent nursing practice that can be shared to advance knowledge and understanding in the discipline. Nikki is an endocrine nurse specialist at Leicester Royal Infirmary and led the project that developed the Competency Framework for Adult Endocrine Nursing. This project is a great example of nurses working together to share best practice and Nikki will deliver the prize lecture at ENU 2017 in March.
There are also great benefits to networking with other closely related communities and this year, for the first time, ENU will include a workshop run collaboratively between clinician and nurse colleagues, Dr Richard Quinton, Dr Channa Jayasena and Dr Andrew Dwyer. Whether you are a nurse new to endocrinology or a nurse with many years of experience, the ENU programme, in combination with Clinical Update has something to offer all. I hope you can join us at the meeting or follow us online, to learn from your colleagues and share your experience.
Nominations for the 2018 Endocrine Nurse Award are open until 16 June 2017, find out more.
Travel grants are available for ENU 2017, apply before 15 March.