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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

alumni in focus

BSMS > About BSMS > Alumni > Alumni in focus Dr Seb Shaw

Alumni in Focus - Dr Seb Shaw


Seb Shaw

Seb graduated in 2017, and has returned to BSMS as a Lecturer in Medical Education. He balances his academic role with clinical work as a part-time GP trainee, and his research interests include Neurodivergence, Neurodiversity, Autism and Dyslexia. Seb has recently worked on a study highlighting the barriers to healthcare for autistic people, as part of an international research team.

Where are you now? 

Since graduating in 2017 my career has been split between clinical and academic work, including completing a PhD last year (something I never thought possible back when I started medical school!).

I’m currently a Lecturer in Medical Education (Research Methods) back at BSMS, based in Watson building. This role involves research, teaching, and supervision of research on the postgraduate courses at the medical school. I also get involved with IRPs. I also currently have another hat as the Research Lead for Autistic Doctors International (ADI), which involves co-ordinating ADI’s research projects and publications. In the clinical world I’m a part-time GP trainee based down the road in Worthing, where I work three days a week for the NHS.


Where would you like your career to take you next?

Contrary to everything I would have thought back as a phase 1/2 medical student, I suspect my career will always centre around academia. Through personal experience of being autistic and dyslexic, I’m passionate about neurodivergence in medical education, and this is central to most of the research I do. Who knows what direction this might take me in next!


What has it been like working on the front line during a pandemic?

In a word – stressful! Despite that, it has also been wonderful to see the various NHS teams I have worked in over the past two years come together and work hard to continue delivering a high standard of care for our patients with a smile and a strong sense of camaraderie.


What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Two specific pieces of advice come to mind:

To let myself achieve, but not to strive for constant perfection, and to foster and embrace creativity.

Just because something has always been done in a particular way does not mean that is the only way - or indeed the best way!


What was the best thing about studying at BSMS?

Studying at BSMS inspired me to develop my own interests and passions within medicine. My time as a medical student set me up well for a rich and varied career, which I’m still so thankful for.

Who or what has inspired you most in life?

I first met John Anderson when I studied the intercalated MSc in Medical Education between my 3rd and 4th year at BSMS. He was leading the research methods module here at the time, which was the first module I took. He agreed to supervise my dissertation and we have ended up closely working together ever since. He has inspired every stage of my academic career journey, and repeatedly convinced me that I was not only good enough but could also flourish!


What's your favourite memory from your time at BSMS?

There are so many! I do remember one particularly warm and sunny afternoon towards the end of second year where my friends and I spent our lunch laying on the grass outside the JMS building reflecting on how much fun we had across phase 1.


What advice would you give a first-year medical student?

Don’t listen to that inner voice telling you that you can’t do it or that you aren’t good enough. In the early years of medical school, I remember struggling to put everything into context and I was constantly beating myself up about my grades. Despite being 8th decile at the end of first year, I’ve ended up with a PhD and a successful career split between clinical work and academia.


Describe BSMS in three words

Supportive, engaging, diverse.

Watch Seb and Dr Mary Doherty, Founder, Autistic Doctors International, discuss the new study highlighting the barriers to healthcare for autistic people, and read more about their research - which has been published in the BMJ open - here >