Dr Sylvie Halsey
Specialty Registrar in Old Age Psychiatry
Place of work / study:
Wessex Deanery / M.A.R.C, The Memory Assessment and Research Centre / Older person’s mental health Community Team in the New Forest.
Area of Research:
Dementia. I work as a Sub-Investigator on several drug trials, most of which are in Alzheimer’s disease. I have recently had the opportunity to take on a Principle Investigator role for a study looking at loneliness and social isolation.
How is your work funded:
I am employed by the NHS and work in research on my ‘Special Interest Day’ as part of the higher training program in psychiatry.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I live in Southampton with my fiancé and our 2 cats. I come from a family of psychiatric nurses and was clearly very influenced by this in my career choice having heard a lot about mental health growing up. My grandma was diagnosed with mixed dementia several years ago, so like many of us I have had some experience in older person’s mental health from a family point of view too. I was introduced to dementia research by a previous supervisor who was enthusiastic about her own experience as a trainee. I had very little research experience myself at the end of core training, so did not think of this as something that I would necessarily suit or be suitable for. I would like to emphasise that my assumptions here were wrong! I have very much been welcomed within my local research team; had opportunities to shadow, attend inductions and access very helpful training as well as regular conferences and updates. I have found the research role fits very well with my clinical job, complements my clinical skills, and gives me something else to offer my patients.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I have always loved trying to keep up with doing arty things. My first weekend job was selling clay cats I made to a local cat themed shop – it’s not particularly cool…
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
I had my first old age psychiatry job in my final year of core psychiatry training and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, having not considered this speciality before. I found there was more time to be with patients (and importantly their families and partners too) and to look into what was going on in more depth. I have found this to be the case in dementia research too; the patient and their support is always at the heart of the work. Diagnostically it’s such an interesting condition, and it’s great to have the opportunity to work in an area where there is much more to discover about its causes and treatment.