U21 Champions in the time of COVID-19; Charlotte Maybury, University of Birmingham

Charlotte Maybury, Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Programme Manager, University of Birmingham, was nominated by Professor Kristien Boelaert Institute of Applied Health Research for her commitment and dedication to more than 100 Clinical Academic trainees. 

"During the pandemic, Charlotte has been the first port of call for anxious trainees, extremely worried about the impact of COVID on their career progression.  In March 2020, all clinical trainees in research posts were asked to return to clinical practice in order to respond to the NHS crisis caused by the first wave of COVID-19.

Charlotte Maybury

Charlotte immediately took the initiative to inform Academic Trainees that their clinical work should be prioritised and reassured them that their lost research time could be recuperated following the crisis. Not all trainees were affected similarly, and an individualised approach was adopted for the 100+ trainees currently in our IAT programme.

She devised a form for trainees to clearly document how much time they spent doing clinical work and how much research time was sacrificed in the process. Charlotte generated a follow up form at the end of the first wave of COVID for trainees to summarise the impact of the clinical response on their academic progression and devise a plan for their return to academic training and research. This has involved liaising with various NHS Trusts, Health Education England, the NIHR and the West Midlands Deanery to access funding to extend research projects and allow dedicated periods of time to conduct their research.

In addition, Charlotte has continued to explore innovative ways in which training opportunities can be provided remotely. A retreat that was planned for the trainees in 2021 had to be cancelled but Charlotte already has a plan in place to replace this with a series of virtual events so the trainees do not miss out on invaluable learning experiences.

Charlotte is a true unsung hero who has demonstrated remarkable initiative and dedication in ensuring that the training of the clinical academic leaders of the future has not been jeopardised by an unprecedented, unpredictable pandemic. The mechanisms put in place by Charlotte are robust and future proof us for further waves of this devastating disease. Charlotte is without doubt most deserving of this prestigious award."

Mrs Maybury responded "The dedication, commitment and unwavering sense of duty that our clinical academic trainees have shown during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extraordinary.  I feel very lucky to able to contribute to their career journey during normal times but during this particularly challenging year I thought it was even more important that they felt supported and informed to enable them to fully focus on the clinical response to the pandemic.  If anything that I’ve done has made things easier for them during this time then I am very happy!"

Congratulations to Charlotte and a huge thank you for helping us all to deal with this awful pandemic.