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Trust psychologist becomes first to receive prestigious award

Dr Eirini Kontou, Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, has been awarded a Health Education England/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Lectureship.

The HEE/NIHR ICA Lectureship programme is a competitive scheme that supports clinical academics to develop as future research leaders in their field. Dr Kontou is the first clinical psychologist working in stroke to have received this type of clinical lectureship from the NIHR.

This prestigious award will be based at the Institute of Mental Health supported by host Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the University of Nottingham (UoN).  

Dr Kontou will split her time between academic, research and clinical activities to combine her roles across both organisations.  Mentorship will be provided by Roshan das Nair, who is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology from the UoN School of Medicine and by Professor Avril Drummond from UoN School of Health Sciences.  

Dr Kontou completed her PhD in 2009 funded by the Stroke Association and then continued with a further professional doctoral level qualification to become a Clinical Psychologist in 2012. She followed this up with a Stroke Association post-doctoral fellowship, which was completed in 2020. This work focused on developing and evaluating a group programme based on psychoeducation for people with less severe strokes.

Helping people after stroke who experience emotional and cognitive difficulties has been at the heart of Dr Kontou’s academic career and her work as a clinical psychologist.

Improving psychological care pathways for people who are diagnosed with a Transient Ischaemic Attack (also known as TIA) and minor stroke will be the focus of her HEE/NIHR Clinical Lectureship. This is an ambitious research programme that will involve three studies that will build on the research evidence in this area and will aim to drive local and national service improvements for the provision of psychological care post-stroke.

Dr Kontou said,

“This award highlights the importance of providing psychological care and helping people to access the support they need after any type of stroke. It will improve our knowledge and understanding of existing pathways of care for people with minor strokes who often experience ‘hidden’ difficulties such as depression, anxiety or a decline in their thinking skills. The award also offers me a unique opportunity to combine my clinical role with undertaking research.”





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