New institute to boost women and children’s health

On Monday 10 June, an Inaugural Symposium to launch the King’s Health Partners Institute of Women and Children’s Health was held to address the most important healthcare needs and improve outcomes for women and children locally and globally.    

Institute symposium main image.x94c736acThe foundations of lifelong health are built in utero, at birth and in childhood. It is the reason why we need to recognise the link between women and children’s health to prevent disease and ultimately save lives.   

Traditionally, health and disease of women and children have been treated as separate disciplines both in research, and in clinical academic education and training. This new Institute aims to address the important diseases affecting large numbers of patients across the life-course from before birth to adulthood, and on the combined effects of mental and physical disease.

[Image: Prof David Edwards, Director of the King’s Health Partners Institute of Women and Children’s Health, giving his talk]

The Institute will facilitate collaboration between the NHS and King’s College London to develop these themes and provide support for developing new projects. Key initiatives include the creation of a dedicated Clinical Trials Unit, development of Clinical Research Facilities, support for funding applications and teaching, and developing novel collaborations across King’s Health Partners.

The symposium held at Bush House was an opportunity to celebrate and learn about the Institute and find out what it can do to support your work and affect positive change across the globe.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners, opened the symposium and promoted the Institute’s role in improving technology, building a fit-for-purpose workforce and using data to better understand causes of disease and prevention.          

The Institute will build on the strong reputation of King’s Health Partners women and children’s medicine and medical research. It will also provide a comprehensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate education and training opportunities in women and children’s health. New Institute Manager, Nandi Simpson, will lead the application of grants, provide teaching support and help build the team going forward – with several recruitments in the pipeline.

Professor of Children’s and Neonatal Medicine, David Edwards, discussed how the Institute will identify and fill gaps in the market – such as life course approaches to women and children’s research and clinic trials management – while driving further collaboration.    

In the UK, and globally, the neonatal period remains the most dangerous. Keynote speaker and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social CareProfessor Chris Whitty, said the effects of the period from conception to adulthood is often lifelong, impacting both physical and mental health.            

In high-income countries, Professor Whitty argued that the most positive changes will come from science, and its application. While in low-income countries, reform will often result from socioeconomic development, with science still playing a major role. 

Karen Edmond, Professor of Child Health at King’s College London, said:

It is possible to improve access and service delivery using low cost interventions for most disadvantaged mothers and children; including services that will improve mortality, morbidity and neurodevelopment.

We have brought together our extensive strengths to create the King's Health Partners Institute of Women and Children’s Health that will address the most important healthcare needs and improve outcomes for women and children in our local area, nationally and internationally.

Read more on the King’s College London website.