Dr. Amy Miller

BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, FEAC (Paeds), Lecturer in Clinical Sciences

Dr. Amy Miller is a Lecturer in Clinical Sciences within the School of Chiropractic at AECC University College, where she splits her time between teaching and research in a range of areas - including paediatrics and interprofessional collaboration.

Biography:

Amy graduated from AECC University College with a MSc Chiropractic qualification in 2016. Following this, Amy received a grant to complete research in the Interprofessional Feeding Clinic, which is a collaborative clinic between AECC University College and Bournemouth University. Amy then embarked on a PhD at Bournemouth University, which allowed her to continue her research in the Interprofessional Feeding Clinic.

Amy completed her PhD in the summer of 2021. She is now working part-time at AECC University College alongside private practice.

We interviewed Amy and asked her to elaborate on her extensive PhD research:

“The Interprofessional Feeding Clinic is a collaboration between Bournemouth University and AECC University College. It's the only clinic in the world like it, with student midwives and student chiropractors working together at the same time. It’s a unique combination”

 “I was interested in what it was like to support breastfeeding as a student and also what it was like to work with another profession that, on paper, is so different. They're so far apart in terms of what a midwife does and what a chiropractor does day-to-day, but the collaboration of their different knowledge and skills complement each other very well.”

“Talking to the students, a lot of what was coming out from the study was how much they gained from working alongside a completely different profession. For example, the chiropractic students learnt so much about how to build a rapport with a new mum and how to really establish that relationship - which the midwives were so good at doing. For the midwifery students, recognising that when it comes to breastfeeding you can't always see the problem as with a baby that struggles to feed there could be a musculoskeletal or biomechanical issue. Everyone's horizons were broadened which is so positive.”

“Another part to the study was around mums who came to the clinic - what kind of mum and baby use the service? What background do they have? What type of feeding problem do they have - is it painful? Is it that the baby can't attach to feed? Is it that the baby is really slow to feed?”

“One of the most important things that we looked at was whether the mum achieved her goal, right from the beginning we asked ‘What do you actually want to achieve for feeding with your baby?’ Most of them wanted to solely breastfeed, and we looked at what their wishes were at the beginning and did they actually then achieve that down the line when the baby was six to twelve weeks old? Broadly speaking they did, which is really positive, especially given the context in the UK around breastfeeding where so many mums and babies don't continue beyond those first few weeks. So much of that has to do with the fact that the right kind of support isn't available.”

“When the right support is in place, when that is accessible, when it's consistent, when it's framed in a positive and helpful way, it works. It is a package of care and this approach really does work. I think so much of that is to do with the environment and the supportive nature of the Interprofessional Feeding Clinic.”

Whilst you’re at AECC what do you want to achieve?:

“One of the most exciting things about being at AECC is the huge research opportunity. As well as my interest in paediatric musculoskeletal health, I've developed a real interest in interprofessional working, and especially as we diversify our course offering and with the development of the Integrated Rehabilitation Centre, there are some really great opportunities for interprofessional learning and interprofessional services, and researching those as they develop over the next few years. I'm really keen to hit the ground running and get the research from day one and see where it takes us.”

What are your areas of interest or expertise?
“In my own practice I do a reasonable amount of work with paediatrics and also pregnancy and postpartum. It's new, and it's not new. Chiropractors have been treating babies and pregnant patients for a long time, but in terms of really developing the evidence base and bringing that evidence base to practice, that is newer and we are learning more all the time as more research is conducted. One of the things that I enjoy about having a handle in clinic, and a handle on research and teaching is being able to bring things together.”

Are you a part of any professional industry memberships? And if so, which ones?
“I am a Fellow of the European Academy of Chiropractic (EAC) and I sit on their special interest group for paediatrics. Within this group, we are working to standardise chiropractic practice across different paediatric age groups, providing resources and education for chiropractors across Europe to bring to their practices and patients. We are especially keen to provide these for people that perhaps haven't had the great benefit that we have at AECC with the paediatric programmes and the paediatric clinic.”

“I am also a Chiropractic Academy of Research Leadership (CARL) fellow; CARL is an international development and mentorship programme for early career researchers, and we are led and supported by three established and highly respected mentors. We hosted our first conference (CARLoquium) this year, which was such a great opportunity to meet with our chiropractic and research colleagues from around the world in virtual reality – something we all missed so much through the pandemic.”

Current Activity

Amy is currently leading the UK arm of the COURSE Study, an international initiative investigating the course of spinal pain in adolescents. The study has been funded by the Royal College of Chiropractors, and is the first step in a larger international body of work aiming to better understand spinal pain in this age group, with a view to improving its management. Currently, we know that adolescents with spinal pain are likely to become adults with spinal pain, and that spinal pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide. What we don’t know is how we can change this trajectory, and this is a major focus of this body of work. You can read more about the COURSE Study and the study lead Michael Swain here, and other members of the study team Dr Michelle Holmes here and Prof Katie Pohlman here.

With Dr Michelle Holmes, Amy is also working on the CRUNCh study, developing recommendations for a new chiropractic Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN) in the UK. This has involved interviewing a wide range of stakeholders, including chiropractors, researchers, and leaders in the profession and in education, and conducting a realist review of PBRNs. The data from these will be used to make recommendations for designing, implementing, and sustaining the PBRN

Contact details

Email: amiller@aecc.ac.uk

Phone: 01202 436 230

Twitter: @AmyMillerChiro

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