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Spotlight: Research Delivery Manager for Primary Care and Community Ana Guerra

Spotlight: Research Delivery Manager for Primary Care and Community Ana Guerra

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) CRN South London Research Delivery Manager for Primary Care and Community Ana Guerra speaks about her research career and family’s zest for life.

The aim of this monthly spotlight blog series is to celebrate, highlight, educate and inform the public about the diverse range of people who support vital research studies from within our region. We are proud of everyone who plays their part in contributing to improving the health of our population.

What do you do?

I’m the Research Delivery Manager for Primary Care and Community. My role involves overseeing a small team of research nurses and research officers to help with the delivery of NIHR portfolio studies in community settings. I am also responsible for the strategic development of opportunities in these areas.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a passionate and tenacious person, if something is worth pursuing then I do not give up. In my team, I encourage people to speak up and try to foster an honest, open working environment that enables continuous improvement and development. People do make mistakes, and in my opinion it is about how you learn from those mistakes and use that experience to approach new challenges.

I’m married and have been together with my partner for 20 years. We have a little boy and we love to explore new things together.

When did you join CRN South London?

I was working for the Network before we became CRN South London in 2014. I joined the Primary Care Research Network in 2007, which covered all of Greater London. Primary care is all about disease prevention and health awareness. You can prevent the progression of disease and help save many lives through the early detection of serious issues. This area of work plays its part in helping us to improve patient care and medical practice. My first research job when I returned to the capital from Portugal was with London South Bank University in 2003 as a Research Assistant.

The COVID-19 pandemic has powerfully illustrated what research in primary care settings can achieve. Everyone has come together to fight this disease and we were overwhelmed simply by the sheer number of our GP Practices who have got involved in helping us to deliver vital Urgent Public Health research studies, such as PRINCIPLE, in the community.

What are you interested in?

We love exploring, going to festivals and concerts which have all been impossible to do this year. I love food, and as a family we cook everything from scratch. We appreciate art and music; my son plays guitar and piano. He and his dad are quite sporty: they enjoy skating and going surfboarding together.

Why are you involved in research?

I came into research by chance after seeing the job with London South Bank University advertised after completing my studies. I have been fascinated ever since about the wide ranging impact research results can have on so many different things. Healthcare professionals need to regularly question and challenge their practice, because this helps to progress and improve patient care and overall quality of life for everyone. Medicine is always evolving and we can’t be content with the status quo. The pandemic proves that we are all still learning and that there are still so many questions that need to be answered through health research.

Why is research important?

We can’t deliver vital health research without patients, members of the public and carers. I’d advise anyone who is interested in participating in a research study to speak to their GP as the first point of call and for them to also do their own research into the process. You can for example: check out the NIHR’s website and social media channels, and read up about the trials through the organisation’s Be Part Of Research online service. There are so many different ways that people can get involved in research. You can also contact the Primary Care and Community Team directly by emailing crnslprimarycare.community@nihr.ac.uk