The ‘Southampton Initiative’ was conceived in 2016, and was built upon long-standing links between academics and researchers at AECC University College (AECC UC) and the University of Southampton (UoS). It was officially launched in autumn 2017 in order to develop UK chiropractic research capacity in a research-rich, multidisciplinary environment at a prestigious institution.
The UoS has an influential, international reputation in primary-care musculoskeletal research, with impressive results in educational research frameworks and funding streams. It ranked 15th and 127th in UK and World Times Higher Education rankings respectively in 2020. By embedding the Southampton Initiative within the Department for Primary Care and Population Sciences (PCPS), Faculty of Medicine, the Southampton Initiative enables our chiropractic researchers to conduct research relevant to the UK and global chiropractic profession, and develop a network of interdisciplinary research collaborations.
Funded by the CRC, the 5-year UoS Initiative has made provision for 3 key posts: Senior Research Fellows, Research Fellow and PhD Student, hence creating a sustainable hierarchy of research expertise. This research group, based in a prestigious Russell Group UK university, undertake research activities that make a significant and impactful contribution to UK chiropractic profession, improve the care that is delivered to chiropractic patients, and enhance chiropractic research capacity.
Professor Dave Newell was appointed Senior Research Fellow by UoS in September 2017. Working 0.4 FTE, Dave has overseen the development of the Southampton Initiative, providing leadership and guidance to the chiropractic research team, who are primarily investigating the implementation of chiropractic care into mainstream public healthcare settings.
His primary investigation uses a multi-project scheme of work exploring the views and perceptions of UK chiropractors and non-chiropractic health care professionals concerning the integration of chiropractic into primary care.
Working within an interdisciplinary research environment at PCPS and the Primary Care research team at Aldemoor Health Centre has enabled Dave to participate in several large, multidisciplinary systematic reviews, in addition to his primary chiropractic research activities.
Dave also supervises several PhD students at other UK Universities, with studies including the contextual elements of the therapeutic encounter in the management of low back pain, the impact of patient-reported outcomes during chiropractic care, and the implementation of chiropractic care in a primary care environment. This work broadens the reach of chiropractic research and enhances interdisciplinary and institutional research collaboration.
Recent and in review publications:
Dr Jonathan Field was appointed Visiting Research Fellow by University of Southampton in September 2019. Working 0.4 FTE, Jonathan’s primary investigation is into ‘Service Delivery Evaluation of First Contact Practitioner services delivered by Chiropractors’. His study aims to explore the impact of chiropractors providing musculoskeletal care within GP clinics, occupying the First Contact Practitioner role, a role traditionally occupied by NHS physiotherapists.
This unique study will provide qualitative and quantitative data to explore the patients’ experiences, the experiences of the wider health care team, and the safety and overall outcome of the interaction. This will aid utilisation of chiropractic services in mainstream healthcare settings.
Chiropractor, and clinical researcher, Marc Sanders started his PhD at Aldermoor Health Centre, Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University of Southampton in June 2020.
Working 0.4 FTE, Marc is working with supervisory Research Fellows Professor Dave Newell and Dr Jonathan Field, and fellow chiropractors Dr Mark Gurden and Dr Neil Osborne, investigating the ‘triage and treat’ model, integrating chiropractic care into existing NHS care-pathways.
This is a hugely relevant and potentially impactful study that will improve the implementation of chiropractic care within the NHS. Ultimately, this study should enhance the incorporation of chiropractic care into mainstream healthcare settings, benefitting more patients and enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration.
In addition to the UK study, Marc is conducting a systematic review of existing literature using realist synthesis methodology to explore and map integrated chiropractic service models, systems, and pathways within international healthcare systems.
Biog: Marc graduated from the prestigious AECC University College in Bournemouth as Valedictorian, receiving the Hugh Gemmell Memorial Scholarship and the Arthur Scofield Memorial Award for academic excellence. He achieved the highest marks in his year for 5 consecutive years. Prior to this he gained a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of York, where he received the Oxford University Press Achievement in Biosciences Prize and published two scientific papers on anti-malarial drug research.
Telehealth studies during Covid-19
During the 2020, COVID-19 pandemic, the research team at UoS conducted several innovative studies investigating the use of video and telephone consultations, “telehealth”, within chiropractic, exploring the efficacy of these ‘remote consultations’ from the patients’ and clinicians’ perspective.