We are happy to announce that Dr. Emma Patchwood has been recognised as the 2020 rising star.
Emma obtained her PhD in 2015 and began a Stroke Association post-doctoral fellowship at Manchester in 2019. The fellowship (March 2019 – May 2022) involves co-development and feasibility testing of a remotely-delivered psychotherapeutic intervention to support adjustment post stroke. Emma has a rapidly growing, well-deserved reputation for her collaborative, inclusive, applied psychological research in stroke, specialising in service user involvement and supporting people living with cognitive and communication difficulties. As co-chief investigator on the OSCARSS carers’ cRCT Emma presented the results to 5000 stroke researchers at ESOC2019, demonstrating effective leadership, passion for research and commitment to stroke. In addition, Emma developed the evidence base for six-month reviews for stroke survivors, working effectively at getting these into practice, e.g. publishing practical guidance for commissioners/providers for the six-month review CQUIN through membership of NHS England National Stroke Plan, Task and Finish Group.
I began my clinical research career with the stroke research group at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. After being awarded the Chief Scientist Office of Scotland Clinical Academic Fellowship, I conducted an observational study on the subtypes of anxiety disorders after stroke. I found that phobic disorder was the predominant anxiety subtype post-stroke. This led to the development and pilot testing of a telemedicine guided self-help cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety after stroke (TASK-CBT) in a randomised controlled trial (TASK-I RCT). I presented the results of TASK-I RCT for the first time at the OPSYRIS conference in Glasgow in October 2018. I am hoping to take my work forward and evaluate TASK-CBT in a large definitive TASK-II RCT.
I am currently completing my clinical training as a geriatrician and stroke physician. My current research interests include applying evidence-based innovative digital technology to improve stroke care, empower stroke patients, and expedite the generation of robust evidence through efficient and high-quality clinical trials. My ongoing work includes developing an automated conversational agent for stroke patients, using actigraphy as clinical outcome measure in stroke trials, and efficient digitised clinical trial design e.g. TASK-II RCT.
She is a post-doctoral research fellow on the StrokeCog project at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Her research focuses on the development and testing of a novel complex intervention aimed at improving outcomes for patients with post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI).
Currently, psychological involvement in stroke care, and cognitive rehabilitation, is severely limited in Ireland. The intervention has been developed using an evidence-based approach in accordance with the framework recommended for developing and evaluating complex interventions by the Medical Research Council (MRC). Dr Merriman has undertaken a systematic review of the evidence-base for effectiveness of non-RCT psychological interventions for PSCI, and is currently involved in a Cochrane review of RCT psychological interventions aimed at PSCI.
She has done extensive qualitative work with stroke survivors, carers, & healthcare professionals to identify stakeholder perceptions on intervention.
Currently, Dr Merriman is engaged in a series of carefully constructed feasibility studies to establish the feasibility of intervention components including recruitment, assessment, intervention content and delivery. Findings from the intervention development process have been published in BMJ Open and in Disability and Rehabilitation, and presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference and OPSYRIS 2018. Following feasibility testing, the aim is to test a pilot intervention and ultimately conduct a definitive trial of a psychological intervention for PSCI.
Dr Merriman has extensive experience in intervention design, having previously conducted intervention studies in the area of multisensory perception and spatial navigation at Trinity College Dublin (where she was awarded her PhD in 2015) and Disney Research.