A Gold Coast Health doctor will spend the next three years in the United Kingdom researching better medical outcomes for children after she was awarded a prestigious scholarship to the University of Oxford.
Dr Elizabeth Thomas has been granted the Clarendon Scholarship to undertake a DPhil, the university’s equivalent of a PhD, at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.
“I am looking to explore the issue of over-diagnosis, over-treatment and over-testing for children in GP practices across the UK, as this is contributing to greater inequalities in healthcare,” she said.
During the next three years Dr Thomas will work with a team that includes internationally renowned researchers in the field of evidence-based medicine who have consulted for major stakeholders such as the World Health Organization.
“The team consists of GPs, statisticians and researchers in the department who come from different backgrounds – some are trained research methodologists and others are practising clinicians,” Dr Thomas said.
Dr Thomas spent this year as a Junior House Officer at Gold Coast University Hospital.
She says she knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children and she feels lucky that she gets to marry that with the clinical work she has been doing.
“I’m very grateful for the experience I have had at Gold Coast Health,” she said.
“It’s really cemented my passion for this work. I feel fortunate to work in a field which is so rewarding.”
Dr Thomas returns to her country of birth though she has called the Gold Coast home since her family moved here when she was 11 years old.
After attending Somerset College for her schooling, Dr Thomas went on to study medicine at Bond University, where she did research with global evidence-based medicine experts, including Professor Paul Glasziou.
She returns to Oxford after spending her final year elective there in 2018.
“I am thrilled to have received the scholarship. Being awarded the scholarship is a privilege and a humbling responsibility which I could not have achieved without the support of my mentors, family and friends,” Dr Thomas said.
“I am excited to join an international community of students from different disciplines. I look forward to learning from them, hearing their ideas and diverse perspectives to broaden and challenge my own thinking on a range of issues not limited to my thesis topic.”
While she knows she won’t be returning to the same Oxford, Elizabeth said she was relieved that COVID-19 hasn’t stood in the way of her pursuing this incredible opportunity.
“It is a strange time to be leaving on this new adventure amidst a global pandemic, when nothing can be taken for granted,” she said.
“It makes me all the more grateful. I know it will be an incredible experience that I’m hopeful will provide many opportunities for personal growth.”