The remit of the Reproductive Health & Childbirth (RH & C) Specialty Group is to support a national portfolio of structured research studies including physiological understanding, prevention, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of obstetric and gynaecological conditions.The Group has wide geographical coverage, with 22 of the 25 Comprehensive Local Research Networks having nominated a lead in this area as well as representatives from Scotland and Wales.One of the main purposes of the Specialty Group is to ensure that relevant clinical research studies deliver to target by developing and supporting a research infrastructure within the specialty which promotes engagement of the community and the local support necessary to undertake high quality research studies within the NHS.
The Specialty Group’s portfolio includes; Physiological investigation of normal processes, such as childbirth, Childbirth & Maternity research, reproductive Medicine and contraception, Urogynaecology, Fetal Medicine and Maternal medicine.
There is overlap between the RH & C Specialty Group and some of the other Specialty Groups and NIHR Topic Specific Research Networks.In general, the RH & C Specialty Group will take the lead on research studies which are led or significantly contributed to by Scientists, Clinicians and Technicians working in areas related to Reproduction and Maternity.
Gynaecological Cancer will normally fall under the remit of the Cancer Network. Research which overlaps with other specialty groups (eg Urogynaecology, Infection) will be discussed with the appropriate chair and the most appropriate lead specialty group identified, The RH & C Specialty Group will help support research even when it is not the lead.
The RH & C Specialty Group will work closely with national academic societies related to Obstetrics and Gynaecology and other stakeholders, to ensure that new developments are informed by a national clinical research strategy and can be successfully delivered in the NHS setting.
Specialty Group Lead: Professor Andy Shennan
Andrew Shennan is Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London. He qualified with MBBS in 1980 from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School and became a Member of the RCOG in 1991. He was awarded his MD thesis from Imperial College in 1997. Professor Shennan leads a unique preterm surveillance clinic at Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, in London seeing high-risk referrals from around the country. His research interests are in the area of premature birth, and include the mechanisms surrounding birth and interventions to improve outcome.
He has extensive experience in using ultrasound to measure cervical length and the measurement of fetal Fibronectin to anticipate the likelihood of early delivery. He leads the clinical research programme within the Maternal and Fetal Research Unit (MFRU) at King's College London looking into the causes of low birthweight and pre-eclampsia. In addition, he runs the research programme into the causes, prediction and treatment of high blood pressure in pregnancy, and the development of accurate/novel ‘mercury free’ devices. Recognition of his work in this area has lead to him becoming a member of the Blood Pressure Measurement Committee of the British Hypertension Society. He also chairs the Department of Health Committee on Blood Pressure Measurement in Clinical Practice. He is a principal investigator in a number of clinical trials, both nationally and internationally and has published over 180 papers. Most recently, he has become the Chair of the NIHR CCRN National Specialty Group; Reproductive Health and Childbirth, as well as Chair/Lead of Local R&D Committee for Women’s Health.
Visit the National Reproductive Health & Childbirth (RH & C) Specialty Group web page for further information.