Madi Fairey and Max Bayne (pictured): medical students who wrote this blog about their research with the Primary Care Unit.
Doing your SSC in the Primary Care Unit, or in a General Practice, opens up a wide range of challenging opportunities and a wealth of experience for you. Possibilities range from research to underpin early diagnosis of cancer in primary care to tackling health inequalities through pro-active work with traveller communities. You will be working with some of our most dynamic GP teachers and primary care researchers, possibly leading to a peer reviewed publication or conference presentation”.
– Dr Juliet Usher-Smith, University Lecturer in General Practice
This page brings together key sources of information for student doctors at Cambridge who are interested in primary care based SSC options. We offer research based SSCs and GP practice based SSCs. Some GP practices also offer humanities SSCs.
SSC supervisors at the Primary Care Unit (September 2022)
Past research based projects and past GP practice based projects
Notable prizes for students conducting SSCs at the Primary Care Unit
Primary Care research based SSCs
The Primary Care Unit is a large multi-disciplinary unit that carries out research and education at the highest international standards of excellence.
We currently have five research themes: Behaviour and Health, Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes, Cancer, Health Services Research and End of Life Care.
Across all these themes, particular strengths include: access to well-characterised cohorts, the ability to develop interventions based on expertise in behavioural techniques and the determinants of patient and practitioner behaviour, attention to both physical and psychosocial factors in patient health, the capacity to conduct randomised trials in primary care, expertise in mixed methods and ‘smart’ qualitative assessments applied to trials, analysis of general practice data (e.g. Clinical Practice Research Datalink, CPRD), healthcare quality improvement, and a commitment to discovering what doesn’t work, as well as what does.
Many researchers within the Primary Care Unit are happy to be approached about potential projects for SSCs. Past projects have included systematic reviews, surveys, qualitative analysis and secondary analysis of quantitative data.
Many projects have led to peer reviewed publications, conference presentations or prizes.
More details of past projects are available here.
You may also be interested to read a blog by Ben Paxton (Cambridge medical student) who shared his experiences during and after conducting his SSC within the Primary Care Unit. Ben offers top tips for medical students interested in clinical research: Five tips for medical students starting their first piece of medical research.
Current potential supervisors and projects are listed here. The supervisors are also included in the database available to current students on the SSC page in MedEd.
General Practice based SSCs
In addition to researchers within the Primary Care Unit, there are also a number of GPs locally who have academic or clinical specialist interests and are willing to host students for SSC projects. Past projects have included audits of practice records, quality improvement projects and development of educational resources. General practice based SSCs also provide opportunities to gain experience of commissioning and areas of GP special interest such as traveller health and substance misuse. Several past projects have also led to conference presentations or peer reviewed publications. More details of past projects with GP supervisors are available here.
A list of current GPs who are offering SSC projects for students is kept within the Primary Care Unit. If you are interested in doing your SSC within General Practice please contact GPEG firstname.lastname@example.org with details of any specific areas you are interested in and the dates of your SSC.
Financial support to help students present at conferences
We are keen to support student doctors to disseminate findings from their SSC projects via publications and/or by presenting findings at conferences.
If your primary supervisor is a GP in one of our teaching practices, or your SSC is supervised by a researcher in the Primary Care Unit, you can apply to GPEG for limited financial support of up to £150 per student per annum. It is expected that before applying to GPEG you will have applied to the clinical school for an SSC Conference Travel bursary, to the Cambridge University Student Clinical Research Society for a conference bursary (https://www.cuscrs.com/conference-bursary/), and to your college.
To apply, please send a short email to email@example.com with the following information:
- confirm that you are directly supervised at the Primary Care Unit or by a GP in a teaching practice as your lead/main supervisor for the relevant project, naming the supervisor and the practice if you are based in a GP practice
- confirm that your abstract on a GP/primary care relevant topic has been accepted for presentation at a conference, and attach your abstract
- provide the name and date of the conference
- confirm that you have applied to your college for financial support and whether they are able to help
- confirm that you have also applied to the Clinical School for travel support if applicable and the outcome of that application
- confirm that you have applied to CUSCRS for a conference bursary
- confirm that you will formally request absence for attendance at the conference from the clinical school
- suggest the amount you’ll need, up to £150, which could contribute towards conference fees/accommodation/travel. If we’re able to help, we’ll ask for receipts when you send us your claim for these expenses.
This blog by Sophie Jackman about attending her first major academic conference may make interesting reading.
Updated 31 August 2021 (Lucy Lloyd)