Kirsty Duncan, MSc in Primary Care
As a GP in training, I am taking time out of clinical practice to gain experience in conducting research. Supported by the Digital Health Institute, I am completing a full time MSc in Primary Care, consisting of 6 taught courses and culminating in a self-directed project. This has provided ample opportunity to learn new research skills and create collaborative connections with other students completing their MSc. DHI has allowed for a unique network of students to come together, with a focus on digital health and share ideas from very different perspectives. It was refreshing to meet students out with the realm of health to appreciate how their expertise can be used, through art, for example. Throughout medical training, doctors are often conditioned to consider solutions. During our DHI training day, it was interesting to take a step back and consider the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ rather than the ‘dos’ and I hope to incorporate this thinking into my research project.
Although not specific to digital health, the MSc in Primary Care includes teaching on the role of digital health and academics in the research group of General Practice & Primary Care at the University of Glasgow are heavily involved in digital health projects. So far in my MSc I have covered courses on long term conditions, international primary care, epidemiology and statistics, research methods, as well as access to courses on global mental health, a topic of particular interest to me. Asides from gaining a new breadth of knowledge in these topics, which will be of great value in my future clinical and research career, the MSc is helping open doors to researchers keen to collaborate and learn from each other. As a result of this course I have become more actively involved in global health meetings and conferences. It has allowed me to develop a particular interest in the fast paced, ever changing innovations of digital health.
I’m looking forward to my MSc research project, exploring the potential digital health has to increase access to care for marginalised groups. There are websites available to refugees arriving in Scotland to help direct people to health and social services. Mobile phone applications have been used globally to try to capture hard to reach populations to offer health support. I will explore how such digital health innovations can be used to better engage and direct migrant populations (refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants) to health services; including how to acknowledge and tackle barriers such as language, culture and health literacy.
I would like to thank the Digital Health Institute for supporting me in the unique opportunity of undertaking this MSc from a digital health perspective. I have no doubt that it has added many new strings to my bow, which I will enjoy using in my future career.