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Dr Sebastian Shaw

Seb Shaw profile image

Dr Sebastian Shaw BM BS, MSc (Medical Education), PhD, PGCert (Medical Research), DRCOG, MAcadMEd, FHEA

Lecturer in Medical Education (Research Methods)
Location: 344B Watson Building, Department of Medical Education, BSMS, University of Brighton, Falmer, BN1 9PH (but usually working remotely).

Areas of expertise: Neurodiversity; Autism; ADHD; Dyslexia; Medical education; Qualitative research; Phenomenology; Autoethnography; Survey methods; Insider research. 

Research areas: Neurodivergence in medical education and practice; The experiences of neurodivergent people accessing healthcare; Other matters of social justice in relation to neurodivergent people.

Other relevant positions: BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee member; External Postgraduate Research Supervisor in Critical Autism and Disability Studies, London South Bank University.

Twitter handle: @Autistic_Doc

Personal website >


Seb grew up local to Brighton in the countryside of West Sussex. BSMS has been at the heart of his career since he first came to the university as a medical student. He returned to BSMS as an Honorary Research Fellow in 2017. He is currently a Lecturer in Medical Education (Research Methods) within the Department of Medical Education. He also currently sits on the BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee.

Seb is multiply neurodivergent, identifying as autistic, ADHD, dyslexic, and hypermobile (hEDS). He is passionate about improving experiences for neurodivergent people in relation to healthcare – both for neurodivergent people accessing healthcare, and through the promotion of inclusive medical education for neurodivergent students and healthcare professionals. Seb has always been interested in teaching. He has a Master’s degree in Medical Education and a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Research. He is a Member of the Academy of Medical Educators and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His PhD was centred around supporting dyslexic and dyspraxic medical students and doctors through their education/training. Seb currently splits his time between teaching/research and part-time clinical work. He is currently the Research Lead for Autistic Doctors International (ADI). He also sits on the Editorial Board for the Elsevier journal Nurse Education in Practice (ISSN: 1471-5953).


Seb is a neurodivergent neurodivergence researcher, approaching his research from a social science perspective. He is an approved PhD supervisor. His main research and supervisory interests focus on neurodivergence (within the neurodiversity paradigm), social justice, and student/trainee support, with particular interests in autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. He is also interested in epistemic injustice and ethical considerations in relation to neurodivergence research, grounded in community perspectives/desires. He uses a mixture of qualitative and survey research designs.

 Some examples of recent and/or on-going projects include:

  • The experiences of medical students with ADHD. (Principal Investigator).
  • The experiences of autistic adults who have previously been labelled with borderline personality disorder. (Principal Investigator).
  • The experiences of autistic doctors.
  • NHS GPs’ knowledge, attitudes and practices with regards to annual health checks for autistic adults and mandatory autism training.
  • Barriers to healthcare for autistic adults.
  • The experiences of higher weight medical students. (Principal Investigator).
  • Applying to medical school with undiagnosed dyslexia. (Principal Investigator).
  • Medical students’ fears and fantasies regarding prescribing.
  • The experiences of autistic medical students. (Principal Investigator).
  • The learning experiences of dyslexic medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Principal Investigator).
  • The experiences of dyspraxic foundation doctors.
  • Coping with medical school.
  • The experiences of dyslexic medical students.


Seb has taught on both the undergraduate programme and postgraduate courses at BSMS.

He has taught on the following modules on the undergraduate BM BS course: 203, 303, 306. He was awarded an outstanding service award in 2017 for his contributions to multi-professional learning on module 306. 

Seb now teaches exclusively in postgraduate medicine, with a focus on research methods and medical education. He also supervises students undertaking research dissertations / individual research projects. Seb’s postgraduate teaching areas have mainly focussed on:

  • The philosophy of research.
  • The critical appraisal of research.
  • Interview skills in qualitative research.
  • Focus group skills in qualitative research.
  • Analysing qualitative data.
  • Ethical and governance issues in health research.
  • Obtaining informed consent in health research.
  • Planning/designing research projects.
  • Dyslexia in medical education.
  • Speaking, questioning and listening in medical education.
  • The relationship and communication issues in health education and practice (including explorations with Transactional Analysis and Attribution Theory).

Selected publications

Pukki H, Bettin J, Outlaw AG, Hennessy J, Brook K, Dekker M, et al. Autistic perspectives on the future of clinical autism research. Autism in Adulthood. 2022;4(2):93-101.

Johnson M, Doherty M, Shaw SCK. Overcoming barriers to autistic healthcare: towards autism-friendly practices. British Journal of General Practice. 2022;72(719):255-6.

Shaw SCK, Doherty M, McCowan S, Davidson I. Challenging the exclusion of autistic medical students. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2022;9(4):e18.

Doherty M, Neilson S, O’Sullivan J, Carravallah L, Johnson M, Cullen W, Shaw SCK. Barriers to healthcare and self-reported adverse outcomes for autistic adults: a cross-sectional study. British Medical Journal Open. 2022;12:e056904.

Shaw SCK, Hennessy LR, Anderson JL. The learning experiences of dyslexic medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic: a phenomenological study. Advances in Health Sciences Education. 2022;27(1):107-24.

Walker ER, Shaw SCK, Reed M, Anderson JL. The experiences of foundation doctors with dyspraxia: a phenomenological study. Advances in Health Sciences Education. 2021;26(3):959-74.

Shaw SCK, McCowan S, Doherty M, Grosjean B, Kinnear M. The neurodiversity concept viewed through an autistic lens. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2021;8(8):654-5.

Walker E, Shaw SCK, Anderson JL. Dyspraxia in medical education: a collaborative autoethnography. The Qualitative Report. 2020;25(11):4072-93.

Shaw SCK. Hopelessness, helplessness and resilience: the importance of safeguarding our trainees’ mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurse Education in Practice. 2020;44:102780.

Shaw SCK, Anderson JL. The experiences of medical students with dyslexia: an interpretive phenomenological study. Dyslexia. 2018;24(3):220-33.

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