KHPeople: Dr Rachna Chowla

KHP’s Joint Director of Clinical Strategy considers  health at a system level, and reflects on the one patient she will always remember.

Dr Rachna Chowla KHPeopleWhat is your role within King’s Health Partners?  

Alongside Dr Irem Patel, I am one of the Joint Directors of Clinical Strategy at King’s Health Partners. I am a GP by background, so my focus is on our engagement with primary care and also on population health. I am particularly interested in hypertension and lead on King’s Health Partners’ work in this area in south-east London, as hypertension is one of the Vital 5

What do you enjoy most about your role?  

I love the breadth of our work and how it stretches across the Trusts, the University, and communities. And despite being at King’s Health Partners for almost four years, I discover something new about what is happening within the partnership every week and I love being in a place where I can help connect people and ideas that otherwise might not meet e.g. connecting a urological surgeon at Guy’s Hospital with an interest in doing prostate awareness in barber shops with a colleague in south-east London who is raising awareness about blood pressure in barber shops!

I also love the variety that the role brings – from hosting webinars to raise awareness around key issues e.g. sickle cell and health inequalities, to working on big data sets for the Vital 5, to hosting Clinical Effectiveness South East London (CESEL) or working with colleagues in south-east London on building whole system pathways for hypertension. 

What inspired you to get into this work?  

It was during my GP registrar year that I became interested in working at a system level in healthcare and the journey since has included lots of experiences that I draw upon in my work today. But what really drives me is a single patient who I will always remember, he was from a black minority ethnic group and young, and he presented with a bleed on his brain, which is how we realised he had had a high blood pressure all along. Thankfully he is fine now, as is his blood pressure and I hope that our system-level work with colleagues in south-east London will make this sort of almost catastrophic event, a thing of the past. 

What are the benefits of working in partnership?  

Partnership working is ultimately what we do in the consultation room with our patients, and it’s an ethos that allows for much better working across other boundaries also – health is a team sport and when we work in partnership, we have better ideas, integrate more diverse perspectives, and together come up with better solutions. It’s also definitely more fulfilling and fun to work in this way! 

What would be your one career top tip?  

To always remember why we do the work we do – for our patients and our communities (of which we are also a part) and to always remain curious about what we don’t know, to keep asking questions and keep learning, and help others to do the same.   


Sign up to future Primary Care webinar events to hear more from Rachna.