Outside the biomedical box of integrated care research. Meet some of our new INTE-AFRICA staff
The INTE-AFRICA consortium is made up of a range of diverse professionals from Europe and Africa. They are experts in unique activities that range from infectious disease care, non-communicable diseases care, public health, project management, implementation, social science, or health economics. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be involved in a large multi-country randomised control trial? We have interviewed some of our INTE-AFRICA staff who are both on the ground and behind the scenes to give you an idea. Follow along in our series documenting some of our INTE-AFRICA consortium members!
Interviewee name: Dr James Prior
Role in INTE-AFRICA: Epidemiologist working across projects in the RESPOND-AFRICA group
Where they are based: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK
Past role/job: Lecturer in Epidemiology
Who are you?
I’m a senior research associate in epidemiology working across several projects within the RESPOND-AFRICA group. I have undertaken many epidemiological research projects in my career, as well as teaching and supervising students in research methods.
How has your journey helped you lead to this point in your career?
My research career has predominantly been in examining the epidemiology of chronic diseases in UK primary care populations. I’m now hoping to apply the learning I achieved from this experience to examine how we can address the integrated care of chronic diseases and HIV in Africa.
«The importance and opportunities of integrated care are rapidly becoming more and more clear»
How did you initially get involved in research?
My undergraduate degree dissertation project really sparked my interest in research. Upon completing that degree, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in research, so I undertook an MSc by research, which opened up future research careers opportunities for me. I was finally lucky enough to complete my PhD in epidemiology as part of a previous research assistant post.
How has the field of integrated care, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, been changing?
The importance and opportunities of integrated care are rapidly becoming more and more clear, not just to those of us who are researching this area, but also to the patients, clinicians and policymakers who are affected directly by such proposed changes in care. From all these interested parties, the critical mass for integrated care continues to grow.
What areas of HIV and NCD research and/or project management do you think are being neglected?
It is tempting to continue to research health conditions in silos, as individual problems, as this approach (on the surface) provides more straightforward answers. However, as populations continue to age in sub-Saharan Africa (as with many countries) the impact of patients having multiple health conditions at the same time will need to be better understood.
What do you hope to do in your role and as a member of the RESPOND-AFRICA consortium?
I’m looking forward to exploring new methods of improving the care for patients in sub-Saharan Africa and testing how integrated care can be delivered most effectively and to as many patients as possible.
Besides research and randomised control trials, what do you enjoy doing?
I’m a massive lover of films, so can often be found in front of the TV. However, to counter this rather sedentary hobby, I am at my happiest when pottering around my own garden or getting out for a walk with our dogs in the countryside.