Date: 31 October 2018
Dr Kyla Thomas has been appointed as the Clinical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) West of England, taking over from Dr Stephen Falk. She will begin her new role on 1 November 2018.
Dr Thomas was previously Clinical Director Designate/ Clinical Co-Director from October 2017.
As Clinical Director, Dr Thomas’ strategies include maximising the opportunity for patients and the population to participate in research and ensuring that studies are delivered to the highest standards.
A particular focus will be increasing the number of studies being hosted in non-NHS settings, which can now be supported by the NIHR portfolio after recent changes to eligibility rules.
Dr Thomas is a Consultant Senior Lecturer in Public Health Medicine at the University of Bristol. She holds Honorary Consultant Contracts with South Gloucestershire Local Authority and Public Health England. Her main research interests are around examining the effectiveness, cost effectiveness and safety of smoking cessation medicines (and e-cigarettes) and the development of complex interventions to prevent and reduce opioid painkiller dependence in patients with chronic non cancer pain. She has received over £1.2 million funding from the Academy of Medical Sciences and from the NIHR (including HTA grants and personal fellowship awards).
Dr Thomas studied undergraduate medicine and surgery at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago in 2003, graduating with Distinction before being awarded a Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. At Oxford she completed an MSc Research degree in Clinical Medicine (Epidemiology) and an MSc in Global Health Science with Distinction. She then completed clinical academic training in Public Health during which time she was awarded a PhD with Commendation from the University of Bristol in 2014. She started her first Consultant post in 2016, holding the Drugs and Alcohol portfolio and Research Lead for the Public Health and Wellbeing Division.
Dr Thomas said: “My main priorities moving forward are around improving performance, growth and fostering collaboration. I look forward to working with colleagues and partners across the Network to enable us to deliver higher quality health research to improve health outcomes for our population.”
The Clinical Research Network would like to thank Dr Falk for over 15 years’ of contributing to clinical research delivery in the region. He said: “It has been my privilege to have been involved with research networks since their inception, giving me the opportunity to work alongside colleagues across the region at many levels in many specialties, all with the same goal - to make things better for patients. It's been a pleasure to work with Kyla for the past year and the Network is in very capable hands. Thank you to all Research staff in every Trust and GP surgery and the core CRN team for all of their contributions to making the West of England a great place to do, and take part in, research."
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