Director, Centre for Primary Healthcare Research & Innovation
Professor Helen Smith is the Professor of Family Medicine and Primary Care at LKCMedicine. She graduated in medicine from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom (UK) and later trained in epidemiology and health services research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and at the University of British Columbia. She has dual accreditations in General Practice and Public Health Medicine and has experience of working in academic, hospital and general practice settings, both in the UK and Canada. Prior to this post, Prof Smith was the foundation professor of Primary Care at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and was Head of the Division of Public Health and Primary Care.
Prof Smith, as one of the leading exponents of Primary Care Research Networks, has made major contributions to primary care internationally. She has developed initiatives to expand research capacity in the specialty and through rigorous trials, strengthened the evidence to improve the care family physicians provide to their patients. The Primary Care Research Network she established in the south of England was the first of its kind and was cited as an example of good practice in the Department of Health’s Strategic Review of Primary Care. Subsequently, similar research networks were replicated throughout the UK. Prof Smith was foundation chair of the UK Federation of Primary Care Networks and also co-founded the International Federation, an organisation under the umbrella of World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA). Her advice on the development of academic family medicine and building of research capacity has been sought by many countries.
Throughout her career, Prof Smith’s research has focused on the evaluation of novel ways of delivering health services and ‘new technologies’ for primary health care. For example, her trials in the organisation of health care transformed the provision of out-of-hours care, improved the provision of minor surgery services in the community and changed the appointment booking system for patients wishing to see their general practitioner. She has over 170 publications in peer reviewed journals and has a strong track record of attracting research and research infrastructure grants, particularly with multidisciplinary teams.