£1million funding to support new research to help Kent communities access healthcare

Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) will be able to advance research into helping local communities access essential healthcare thanks to a £1million grant from Oak Foundation.

The funding will establish a new Oak Professor of Rural and Coastal Healthcare which will support research in the important but neglected area of rural and coastal healthcare.

This is the first philanthropically funded Chair, or Professorship, at KMMS and is one of the most significant investments a contributor can make.

KMMS Founding Dean, Professor Chris Holland, said: ‘We would like to thank the Oak Foundation for their generous gift and support that will establish the first Oak Professor of Rural and Coastal Healthcare. It will help KMMS lead on essential research into one of the key areas of health inequalities in our region.

‘The challenges of providing excellent healthcare in rural and coastal areas has a widespread impact on health outcomes in Kent and Medway. This Professorial role will help to grow the relationship between KMMS and NHS partners in the community we serve, and will build on the expertise of our newly formed research team. This generous donation will ensure that together we can create lasting impact on healthcare in our region.’

The social and geographic nature of Kent and Medway means that local communities face unique challenges and the region’s health and care system is under unprecedented stress in trying to meet current and future demand.

KMMS is a joint initiative between Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent. It welcomed its first students in September 2020, and is the first medical school for the region. The School’s research aims to make a difference for the residents of Kent and Medway by addressing particular healthcare issues in the region’s aging, coastal and hard to reach communities that cause health and life outcome inequalities. The new Professorial role will aim to join and strengthen current and future Higher Education, NHS and regional research work.

Oak Foundation said: ‘We are delighted to support the Kent and Medway Medical School and very much welcome the first Oak Professor of Rural and Coastal Healthcare.’

The Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged, making the world a safer, fairer, and more sustainable place to live.

The funding for Oak Professor of Rural and Coastal Healthcare comes from Oak Foundation’s Special Interest Programme which reflects the Trustees’ interests in making dynamic, diverse, large and innovative grants. Special Interest grants cover a wide range of fields, including health, humanitarian relief, education and the arts.