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Rakhshan Kamran

BSc (Hons), MD (c)

DPhil Student and NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow

Patient-Reported Outcomes, Plastic Surgery, Implementation Science, Psychometrics, Evidence-Based Medicine

I am a final year medical student at McMaster University (Canada) taking a sabbatical from my MD studies to complete a DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford (England) as an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow and Clarendon Scholar (top 1% of Oxford students).  In total, I secured £505, 000 ($875, 000) in research funding prior to starting doctoral studies. I graduated from the Life Sciences Program at McMaster University in 2019 Summa Cum Laude and as a recipient of the Provost Medal. 

The primary goal of healthcare is to improve the lives of patients. But how can we be sure that we are achieving this goal in a meaningful way?

I am interested in developing, validating, and implementing tools which can measure if we are actually improving the lives of patients from their perspective. These tools are called Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs). Beyond determining the effectiveness of healthcare interventions, PROMs also enhance communication between clinicians and patients, allow for the recognition of issues which would usually go unaddressed, improve quality of life, health outcomes, and satisfaction with care. PROM use is also considered an intervention itself, as it has been shown to improve patient survival through allowing for early recognition of patient deterioration and subsequent early intervention.

It is not enough to just develop a PROM. We also need evidence-based strategies to implement PROMs effectively in routine care to ensure they are used properly and at their maximum potential. 

My DPhil research aims to create a national measurement program for gender-affirming services in the UK to measure patient-reported outcomes. I will be implementing a new PROM for gender-affirming services, called the GENDER-Q, on a national level. This will ensure that the gender-affirming care provided is patient-centred and the voices of patients are used to drive care decisions rather than having the voices of patients go unheard. This will also allow us to compare between different types of treatments to see which ones provide patients the best outcomes.

My DPhil includes training at the PROVE Centre (Harvard University Department of Surgery), the Psychometrics Centre (University of Cambridge), the University of Leeds, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the University of California. I am supervised by Mr. Jeremy Rodrigues, Mr. Conrad Harrison,  Dr. Vicky Strauss, Dr. Melissa Stepney (Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford University) and externally by Dr. Anne Klassen (McMaster University, Canada).

I have been involved with health services research since 2015. My first publication was the first ever Rapid Review in the BMJ at the age of 18. I am the recipient of the Impact in Community Outreach, Prevention, and Advocacy Award, the highest provincial honour bestowed by the Canadian Cancer Society (for co-founding and leading a group which successfully lobbied Ontario parliament to pass Bill 45: Making Healthier Choices Act), the Scotiabank Breast Cancer Research Award,  the June Callwood Harmony Award, the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Award and the Paul Rabinowitz Award in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. I was also named one of the top 20 LGBTQ+ leaders in Canada by the LOUD Foundation and the top LGBTQ+ student leader in Canada by GoFreddie.