It’s an incredible honour to be nominated as a role model although I almost feel a fraud given that it’s for doing what I so cherish. I’ve had 3 principles at the core of my clinical and academic work – enjoy what you do (choose something you want to do and love doing), be passionate about it (work your hardest and do your best) and ensure you retain a sense of humour (take the ups and downs and work well with all those around you). Throughout my career I’ve always been drawn to more neglected areas of clinical medicine and science - where significant challenges remain in the understanding, diagnosis and management of diseases that have long been deemed hopeless. In gastroenterology this led me to the field of neurogastroenterology and gastrointestinal motility disorders as well as a PhD and research career into the nervous system of the gut and the potential of regenerative medicine. Twenty years later I’m proud to see the field has not only flourished but is now one of the fastest growing in gastroenterology. It’s not been easy being a clinical academic but the successes, however little, make it all worthwhile!....as well as the fantastic people through from awesome patients and their families (and my beautiful family…) who put up with so much, to my colleagues and collaborators – thank you.
Beyond clinical and research work a particular passion of mine has been to attain equality and uniformity of the best healthcare for all. I’ve supported this effort through my work in national and international societies but perhaps most rewarding has been my involvement in education, mentorship and young investigator training aimed to ensure clinical practice in paediatric gastroenterology throughout the UK, Europe and beyond is excellent and contemporary, and that we continually develop and inspire new generations of well-trained paediatricians, gastroenterologists, allied health professionals and researchers. In 2019 I’ll be proud to see the 10,000th delegate of my courses come through the door.