Learning from overseas

Sarah Dewhurst outlines her Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travel fellowship experience and encourages others to apply

Sarah Dewhurst
Sarah Dewhurst Royal Marsden NHS Trust, lead AHP for Physical Activity Clinical Champions Programme, Public Health England

In 2019 I was granted a travel fellowship award to explore how other countries are embedding physical activity into cancer treatment pathways. 

I heard about the scheme several years ago but until I undertook a non-clinical secondment I didn’t fully appreciate the importance of looking ‘up and out’ to challenge your thinking.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) motto is “travel to learn, return to inspire” and it was set up as part of Churchill’s legacy, enabling international collaboration and shared learning.

The application process involves a two-stage written form followed by an interview. 

Any UK citizen can apply by demonstrating passion for your subject and an ability to disseminate learning for the benefit of the UK – it’s not a holiday! – although you are encouraged to immerse yourself in the travel and adventure side too. 

I didn’t fully appreciate the importance of looking 'up and out' to challenge your thinking.

My fellowship allowed me to attend the World Confederation of Physical Therapy in Geneva followed by six weeks in Australia and New Zealand. 

I had over 30 life-changing audiences with people who inspired my fellowship including Professor Prue Cormie, who led the 2018 Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) statement advocating exercise as a standard of care in cancer.

I also spent time with Rob Newton’s team observing clinical trials at the Edith Cowan University Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Joanne Milios who leads the field in prostate cancer rehabilitation and Lou James who set up Pinc and Steel, one of the leading cancer education providers for physiotherapists.

I now lead a group of over 100 physiotherapists who are equally passionate about exercise oncology to collaborate on professional development here in the UK. 

Having completed a fellowship, you remain a fellow for life which means you have access to a range of grant and networking opportunities such as the current Covid-19 action fund, so it’s now that the real fun starts!

Funding applications for 2021 are likely to open in June:  visit The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) for further details contact Sarah e-mail s.dewhurst@nhs.net

Sarah Dewhurst is the Living With and Beyond Cancer service lead, Royal Marsden NHS Trust, and lead AHP for Physical Activity Clinical Champions Programme, Public Health England.

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