University of St Andrews: St Andrews joins multimorbidity consortium

The School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews has joined an £8.5m consortium of Scottish universities, led by the University of Glasgow, to deliver a new PhD Doctoral Training programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust with additional support from the universities, which seeks to address real-world issues by training a new generation of healthcare professionals with expertise in multimorbidity research.

Multimorbidity – the presence of two or more long-term health conditions – is a global public health problem of increasing prevalence which causes reduced life expectancy, results in more complex healthcare needs, and leads to poorer quality of life and higher mortality.

To date, research has focused on adult multimorbidity, but multimorbidity also exists in children and young people and is associated with lifelong impacts on individuals, their health and their families, as well as social services. Multimorbidity is complex, and is linked to multiple factors, including biology, lifestyle and social circumstances.

However, despite its prevalence and serious outcomes, multimorbidity (and its causes and how best to treat it) is still not well understood and is one of the most significant healthcare challenges in both the UK and globally.

The doctoral training programme, which also involves the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh, will recruit PhD Fellows over the next five years from a range of clinical and health professional backgrounds who will benefit from being part of an institutional partnership, and from having opportunities for clinical research across a range of specialisms, from data science and epidemiology, to applied clinical research in a unique collaborative training environment.

Professor Colin McCowan, Director of the Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, said: “This programme across four Scottish Universities builds on existing world-leading research and will allow us to train the next generation of healthcare professionals researching multimorbidity.”

Professor Frank Sullivan, Director of Research in the School of Medicine at the University, added: “This DTP will be a cornerstone in the development of clinical academic training in St Andrews and our collaboration with NHS partners, particularly NHS Fife.”

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