A complete understanding of the pathogenesis and management of benign lower urinary tract conditions can only be achieved from a synthesis of clinical knowledge, pathological epidemiology, experimental research and translational expertise. The International Continence Society almost uniquely provides a platform for such a collaboration through its programme of international meetings, workshops and educational forums. However, the maintenance and evolution of such a wide-ranging group of skills requires active input from ICS and my aim would be to provide this as a Trustee. I am an academic physiologist with a long-standing interest to investigate and characterise normal and abnormal LUT function and have had the good fortune to work alongside academic clinicians to establish research programmes relevant to LUT pathologies. I therefore have a background that can bring together those from different disciplines who together can achieve so much more.
Central to the achievement of such an aim is to increase overall research capability. This may be achieved through: achieving recognition of the subject as an area of strategic importance to healthcare provision; and the establishment of an improved research environment to attract those interested in clinical and academic research careers, funders and those capable of translating key results to effective outcomes. ICS can provide opportunities to facilitate greater interaction between those of different skills sets to enable development of strategic research initiatives and also support major funding applications.
Skills, abilities and experience
During my academic career I have gained management experience in two exemplar domains that I could bring to a position as a Trustee. Firstly, I was chairman of the UK Physiological Society Board of Trustees, founded in 1876 and with an annual turnover similar to that of ICS. The Board was entrusted to determine and implement strategic decisions, compatible with its charitable status including that of financial probity, to ensure the maintained development of physiology in terms of research and teaching. During this time I also oversaw a re-write of the governance regulations to bring them in line with prevailing UK charities law. Secondly, and more recently at Bristol University I acted as Head of Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience for three years. Here I was responsible for all aspects of departmental activity ranging from: strategic development; financial budget setting; teaching to science and professional courses; academic staff recruitment; postgraduate and academic staff review and development; and overall management of support staff. I feel I can bring the transferrable skills I learned in these roles to my position as a Trustee. In particular, I gained confidence in working in teams to set and implement goals but assume overall responsibility.