Why I studied the Diploma in Experimental Therapeutics: Dr Sonya Abraham

Posted on: Tuesday 7 March 2023
Author: Dr Sonya Abraham

The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of FPM.

This blog article has been prepared by Dr Sonya Abraham

I became a member of FPM after being introduced to FPM as an academic and NHS Consultant.

My development in the conduct of clinical research and first in human trials led me to apply for the Diploma in Experimental Therapeutics. Through the rigorous teaching from a world class faculty at Kings College London and a series of assessments, essays and experiential reflections on clinical trials where I was a Principal or Chief investigator, I was awarded this prestigious diploma. The diploma was my ticket to join the FPM. Since becoming a member in June 2021, I have served on a number of groups and committees including the Careers in pharmaceutical medicine working group, Routes to Membership working group, the Education Day working group and most recently the Equality and Diversity forum.

I’ve had the privilege of being trained and working in the NHS. My roles within the NHS have varied from being a pluripotent medical student to my time as a junior doctor in hospital medicine, from being a specialist trainee in internal medicine and Rheumatology to completing a PhD in molecular and cellular medicine.

“This course really immersed me in the theory and practicality of clinical pharmacology and the design and conduct of smart, safe clinical trials. The courses were taught by world renowned pharmaceutical physicians and clinical pharmacologists.”

As a consultant and senior Lecturer at Imperial College I cared for acutely unwell general medicine patients and patients with chronic autoimmune disease alongside conducting research in novel therapeutics for inflammatory arthritis. My interest and experience in translational medicine and clinical trials sparked from my time at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, the birthplace of anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha monoclonal antibody therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis.

When I was offered the opportunity to undertake the Diploma in Experimental Therapeutics under the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, I was very excited to undertake the qualification. During my training and as a clinician scientist, I led clinical trials across therapeutic areas from arthritis to psoriasis to vaccines. This course really immersed me in the theory and practicality of clinical pharmacology and the design and conduct of smart, safe clinical trials. The courses were taught by world renowned pharmaceutical physicians and clinical pharmacologists. After having completed the course, the exacting assessments and the reflective logs, I realised how I improved my depth of understanding and execution of clinical trials.

I would urge that all those involved in the conduct and design of clinical research undertake this course.

Personally, I consider this certification to be as vital as Good Clinical Practice to ensure that clinical trials are developed and delivered to the highest standard – ensuring safety and scientific rigour for all partaking in the development of novel therapeutics to combat human disease.

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