BGS announces Rising Star Award Winners 2023

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) Rising Star Awards were inaugurated in 2014 to recognise doctors, nurses and AHPs who have made exceptional contributions to the field of older people's healthcare, early in their careers.

Awards in two fields are available each year. One is for research contributions that have translated into, or are in the process of being translated into, improvements to the care of older people, and the other for a clinical quality project which improves the care of older people with frailty. The awards are funded by generous donations from the families of the late Dr Jim George and the late Dr John Dall.

This year the BGS has exceptionally awarded two Rising Star Awards for Research, to Dr Oliver Todd and Dr Carly Welch.

Dr Todd is a Geriatric Medicine Registrar at Airedale General Hospital, Clinical Lecturer at the University of Leeds and Bradford Institute for Health Research. He leads the Ageing Data Research Collaboration (Geridata) which includes 52 data scientists and clinicians across Europe who share an interest in using data science to improve care for older people. He was awarded an NIHR Advanced Fellowship to set up the world’s largest ambulatory blood pressure (BP) dataset for over 26,000 older adults. This work aims to develop more targeted ways to treat BP in people who are at high risk of falls. In June 2023 his work was profiled in the Physiological Society’s ‘From ‘Black Box’ to Trusted Healthcare Tools’ report on artificial intelligence and health presented to the House of Lords.

Dr Welch is a Consultant Geriatrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. She is also an Honorary/Adjunct Senior Clinical Lecturer at King’s College London and Honorary Clinical Research Associate at the University of Birmingham. She co-founded the Geriatric Medicine Research Collaborative (GeMRC), which she continues to chair. This initiative is a driving force in clinician engagement in research and generates large datasets with direct impact on the improvement of healthcare for older people. She is also Chief Investigator on the large multi-centre FORCE:SEE study. This study aims to establish the value of frailty and sarcopenia assessments in acutely hospitalised older adults in predicting adverse outcomes.

The BGS Rising Star Award Winner for Clinical Quality is Dr Alexandra Burgess. Dr Burgess is a Specialist Registrar in Geriatric and General Internal Medicine at Morriston Hospital and a Clinical Research Fellow at Swansea University in South Wales. At her hospital she has helped to implement innovative new models of care and provided substantial input into developing pre-hospital frailty rapid response services. She has also operationalised an electronic frailty flagging system in the emergency department. She is the Royal College Physicians’ Trainee Committee Representative for Wales and BGS’s Frailty in Urgent Care Settings Special Interest Group Trainee Representative.

Dr Oliver Todd, Joint Rising Star Award Winner for Research, commented:

Thank you! It is an honour to receive this award. I hope it encourages more geriatricians to try out data science. It is fun, has huge potential to improve the care we provide to older people, and many people will support you, as they have me, along the way.”

Dr Carly Welch, Joint Rising Star Award Winner for Research, commented:

I am delighted to receive the award of BGS Rising Star for Research. This will really help me to achieve my dreams of becoming a leader in clinical experimental medicine to translate new therapies directed at improving quality of life for older people.”

Dr Alexandra Burgess, Rising Star Award Winner for Clinical Quality, commented:

I am thrilled to be awarded the BGS Rising Star for Clinical Quality. Winning this prestigious award will allow me to continue developing services to improve the care of older people living with frailty throughout the rest of my career.”

Professor Adam Gordon, President of the BGS, commented:

Population ageing means that effective healthcare for older people matters to everybody. We need the best researchers and clinical leaders working in this space.  The BGS Rising Star Awards are designed to recognise current and future trailblazers.  This year’s winners have already helped to transform care for older people.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

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