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Dr Sebastian Shaw

A photo of Seb Shaw in a striped shirt holding a cerificate

Dr Sebastian Shaw (BM BS, MSc, PhD, DRCOG, PGCert, SFHEA, FAcadMEd)

Lecturer B in Medical Education (Research Methods)
Location: Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, 344B Watson Building, 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 or epistemic empowerment in relation to neurodivergent people.

Other relevant positions: Honorary Senior Lecturer in Neurodiversity, University of Exeter; Neurodiversity Lead & Co-lead for Inclusive Curriculum, BSMS Postgraduate Taught Courses’ Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Team; 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 is a Lecturer B in Medical Education (Research Methods). He also sits on the BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee and is the Neurodiversity Lead for the BSMS PGT ED&I Team. He has an MSc (Medical Education) and a PGCert (Medical Research). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators (FAcadMEd) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). His PhD centred around supporting dyslexic and dyspraxic medical students and doctors.

Seb is multiply neurodivergent – autistic, ADHD, and dyslexic – and hypermobile (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome). 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 currently splits his time between teaching/research and part-time clinical work. He is the Research Lead for Autistic Doctors International and Co-Chair of the Autistic Health Research Network. He also sits on the Editorial Boards of “Nurse Education in Practice” (ISSN: 1471-5953) and “Neurodiversity” (ISSN: 27546330). He is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Neurodiversity at the University of Exeter.

Seb was the inaugural recipient of the University of Sussex Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Research Culture Award, in recognition of his positive impacts on research culture across the university and more broadly within the fields of medicine and medical education. This centred around his sustained efforts to empower neurodivergent people to undertake meaningful research in this area. He also received the 2023 BSMS Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Staff Award.


Seb approaches his research from a social science perspective. He is an approved PhD supervisor. His main research/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 around 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:

  • Online support for autistic medical students. (Principal Investigator).
  • 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 the undergraduate course.

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:

  • An introduction to and overview of research.
  • 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.
  • Neurodiversity in medical education.
  • Speaking, questioning and listening in medical education.
  • Helping relationships and communication differences in health education and practice (including explorations with Transactional Analysis and Attribution Theory).

Selected publications

Godfrey-Harris M, Shaw SCK. The experiences of medical students with ADHD: a phenomenological study. PLOS ONE. 2023;18(8):e0290513.

Shaw SCK, Fossi A, Carravallah LA, Rabenstein K, Ross W, Doherty M. The experiences of autistic doctors: a cross-sectional study. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2023;14:1160994.

Cornwell M, Shaw SCK. Applying to medical school with undiagnosed dyslexia: a collaborative autoethnography. Advances in Health Sciences Education. 2023. Online ahead of print. Available from:

Shaw SCK, Doherty M, Anderson JL. The experiences of autistic medical students: a phenomenological study. Medical Education. 2023. Online ahead of print. Available from:

Doherty M, McCowan S, Shaw SCK. Autistic SPACE: a novel framework for meeting the needs of autistic people in healthcare settings. British Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2023;84(4):1-9.

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.

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.

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