Research and Study Information
The Women’s Health Research Centre (WHRC) is a pioneering collaboration between Imperial College London (ICL), Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT), the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and the Genesis Research Trust Charity.
In October 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC). This formal partnership between a university and healthcare provider was set up to focus on clinical and health research across the organisations, ultimately enabling medical and health research breakthroughs to lead to direct clinical benefits for patients.
With support from the Genesis Research Trust, the WHRC was set up in 2010, bringing together all the different strands of Women’s Health Research across ICL and ICHT. The WHRC now acts as a central ‘hub’ for Women’s Health Research, enabling a coordinated, cohesive approach to research, with real potential for translation to better health care for women and their babies.
The WHRC has a dedicated team of research midwives, clinical trials coordinators, research technicians and an administrator. The team work together to ensure that all the clinical research studies relating to the health of women and their babies carried out at Imperial are supported, well managed and run to the highest of standards. The team is dedicated to supporting high quality research that will influence and positively change care for women and their babies. The studies supported run across all stages of women’s lives, improving care and health outcomes for them and their babies from preconception, through all stages of pregnancy and birth, in the period after birth and on into later life, when women may face gynaecological problems and the menopause.
The WHRC team are committed to improving care for women and their babies through research, and do this by supporting research at every step of the way. The team works together to support doctors and midwives right from the start of an idea for a research project, through study design, setting up and carrying out the studies to the highest standards ready for writing up and publication. Ultimately, research findings are then be incorporated into direct clinical care, resulting in better outcomes and better health for women and babies. Essentially, research is supported ‘from benchside science to bedside care’.
Some studies are expanded to different centres in the UK or internationally and are overseen through Imperial. Other studies start at different centres, and can be ‘adopted’ at Imperial, contributing to even larger scale findings in women’s health research. The research midwives at the WHRC work directly with women and families, inviting them to take part in relevant studies, and providing care and support throughout their participation with a study. The collaborative approach and expertise provided by the WHRC means that Imperial is able to carry out a vast number of research studies, all contributing to improved care and better outcomes for women and their babies, in a robust and co-ordinated way.
Supported Studies and Research Activity
Research in Women’s Health embraces investigations into the beginning of life, from family genetics to ovum and sperm through fetal life to the neonatal period and beyond. There is a focus on improving the clinical management of common reproductive problems in women, especially recurrent miscarriage and urinary incontinence. Research covers the broad areas of reproductive medicine and gynaecology, maternal and fetal medicine and neonatal medicine. At the WHRC, these areas are divided into seven subspecialty research ‘themes’.
The current WHRC subspecialty research themes are:
• Recurrent Miscarriage Research Theme
• Urology & Gynaecology Research Theme
• Maternal and Fetal Medicine Research Theme
• Prematurity Research Theme
• Maternal Disease Research Theme
• Midwifery Research Theme
• Early Pregnancy Research Theme