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Sinead McDonagh reports as one of our Young Investigator Bursary Winners:

I was delighted to receive the Young Investigator Bursary from the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS) this year. This award granted complimentary registration for the BIHS 38th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) at Robinson College and attendance at the notorious conference dinner at King’s College. So, on the 24th-26th September 2018, I joined a vast array of individuals with an interest in blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and its prevention and management, in Cambridge.

This meeting, as always, provided a unique opportunity to network with people from a variety of backgrounds, including those working predominantly in primary and secondary care, in research and teaching positions at universities and in industry, to name a few.

The programme was diverse and comprised of oral presentations, posters and one-minute poster storms, all of which provided brief reviews and updates on a number of topics, such as clinical guidelines, the organisation and management of hypertension care, risk markers for cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment, pre-eclampsia and the influence of dietary intake on blood pressure. I had the pleasure of presenting three posters on the prevalence of postural hypotension, accuracy of blood pressure measurement in atrial fibrillation and interventions for improving the control of blood pressure in primary care and chairing a session alongside Professor Una Martin.

A particular highlight from this ASM for me, and hopefully for other early career researchers, was the emphasis on the importance of integrating and supporting young investigators in hypertension and more generic blood pressure and cardiovascular research and in engaging with the society. In fact, members of the BIHS Executive Committee and Working Party reminded delegates that the society provides opportunities to facilitate learning and career development for young investigators (undergraduate or postgraduate students and those in early career clinical, nursing and research posts). Specifically, BIHS runs a mentoring scheme and offers some funding for young investigators to participate in activities that can strengthen and expand skill sets and build inter-institutional relationships. The career panel discussion session within the Young Investigator Network Meeting was particularly interesting as it offered a taster of the work undertaken and career and research advice available from more senior members of BIHS who have pursued different educational and vocational pathways.

Overall, the BIHS ASM 2018 was a well organised, informative and thought-provoking event and I would strongly encourage both clinical and non-clinical and young and not-so-young investigators to become members of BIHS and attend the ASM next year in Birmingham. I hope that in the meantime BIHS delegates will continue to research and raise awareness of hypertension and its associated complications to colleagues, key stakeholders and members of the public and actively participate in the 2019 May Measurement Month.

See you at the BIHS 39th ASM.