The second Vice President we’re welcoming to their new role is Dr Jacqui Clinch. Dr Clinch is a consultant in paediatric and adolescent rheumatology at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust. She is also Chair of the BSPAR Section Council, which represents members working in paediatrics.
Here Jacqui tells us more about why she chose rheumatology as a specialty, and her plans for deeper integration between paediatric and adolescent and adult rheumatology.
Tell us about your career?
Having qualified from The London Hospital in 1991, I embarked on training in paediatrics between London and Bristol. Once accredited, I then spent two years training in rheumatology with adult colleagues including Peter Hollingworth, David Blake and Peter Maddison. In 2000, I took up a position as the paediatric rheumatologist in Bristol and Bath as one of two NHS paediatric and adolescent-trained rheumatologists in the UK. The service was initially at the Royal Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and now based in the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
In the same year we co-developed the Bath Centre for Pain Services, a large UK residential interdisciplinary service where young people with persistent pain are offered residential rehabilitation. Academically, my interest is in pain in young people (within inflammatory and noninflammatory musculoskeletal [MSK] conditions), childhood rare bone disease and also exploring our understanding of joint laxity in the developing skeleton.
Outside of work I enjoy all sports, particularly cycling, squash and hockey. Much time is spent trying to prevent my husband Shane, also a rheumatologist, from building large structures in and outside the house – and keeping track of three children, six chickens, geckos and other creatures.
What led you to rheumatology?
My first direction was in neonatology but, late in paediatric training, Peter Hollingworth and Peter Maddison inspired me to move into paediatric and adolescent rheumatology. Tony Clarke and David Blake were also instrumental in my clinical and academic development. As a paediatric senior registrar, what interested me was the multidisciplinary and cross-medicine aspect of rheumatology. Naturally inquisitive (nosy) and sociable, the patients’ journeys continue to fascinate me and working alongside so many colleagues is often a joy.
Over the past 20 years, paediatric and adolescent rheumatology has grown as a specialty in a way I would not have believed when I first embarked on this career. Young people with rheumatological conditions receive not only revolutionising pharmacological therapies but also truly dedicated, multidisciplinary holistic care from the UK teams.
As well as your Vice President role, you're also Chair of the BSPAR Section Council. What are your priorities?
I’m excited to lead our paediatric and adolescent rheumatology community on this journey continuing to integrate as members of the BSR. Within this role, particularly in these challenging times, I’ve seen the enormous potential of us all working as one engine. We can work both collaboratively as well as celebrating the differences. There is much to gain, including supporting our education, continuing to build on our positive community, supporting a large variety of events, and facilitating further collaboration both across the lifespan within the BSR community and also with outside governing bodies and colleges.
Addressing the needs of older adolescents and young adults with rheumatological disease is an area of clear need. We have dedicated clinical and academic leads in adolescent and young adult medicine within our society, and I would very much like to prioritise BSR collaborative working to improve understanding and holistic care for these young people during my tenure.
We are fortunate to have a network of excellent provision across most of the UK. However, two million young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis across the world don’t have access to care. I strongly feel we, within BSR, have a responsibility to promote global MSK health for all young people, expand our horizons and support our international partners.
Finally, as Chair, I believe it important to ensure clear lines of communication within BSR for all our members. The BSPAR Section Council and I will work within the society to ensure members' views and feedback are represented. Please contact me if there is any area you wish to comment on.
A huge welcome to Dr Jacqui Clinch and Dr Yeliz Prior as they join us as Vice Presidents, and we thank them for all their support.