Special Interest Groups for SAPC

Rachel Spencer 

I’m a member of the SAPC exec[SR1]  and have been Special Interest Group (SIG) lead for the last year – taking over from our long-time SIG lead Jo Protheroe. I wanted to write a blog to let you all know all about what is going on with the SIGs and how important they are to the success of your society.

So, what is a SIG?

SAPC hosts SIGs of primary researchers who collaborate on their topic in terms of teaching, research, ideas sharing and advocacy. Jo wrote a lovely article on our website ‘an introduction to SIGs’ which explains in further detail. They are a great chance (particularly for early/middle grade people) to establish research networks.

How do they come about?

We have around 20 SIGs on diverse topics from; clinical specialties (e.g., cardiovascular), general clinical relevance topics (like prescribing) to non-clinical topics (e.g., education and health literacy). If you can’t find a SIG on the list on our webpage Special interest groups | SAPC that relates to your work why not speak to like-minded individuals and contact us about setting one up? You can fill out the application form and send it to us at office@sapc.ac.uk. You are never too junior to join or run a SIG – talk to me if you are unsure about setting one up. You can be part of as many SIGs as you want to and membership is free. All our SIGs are run by volunteers.

What is SAPC doing for its SIGs?

Groups gets support and recognition (and maybe a little prestige) by being affiliated to SAPC. They can book meeting slots or space at our AGM at SAPC conference (thereby reaching a wide group of primary care academics), abstracts can also get a DOI. SIGs can use our SAPC website space for advertising. We offer financial support of up to £500 per year for a maximum of 5 years.

What are SAPC SIGs up to now?

We meet annually to discuss our priorities for SIG future direction – our SIGs report annually on their diverse and exciting activity and suggested some exciting future plans. Several of our SIGs held face to face meetings at our conference in July. I attended parts of seven of these while they were running concurrently. The quality and diversity of the discussions were excellent and the extent of influence of our SIGs in setting national and international research agendas was apparent.

How are SIGs communicating?

Watch this space and the SAPC newsletter for blogs from SIG leaders who will write about what their particular groups are up to. Groups will be live on Twitter – We are encouraging new groups to get a Twitter handle to help gather followers. Current Tweeters include: @DigitalTechPC, @SAPCexerciseSIG, @SAPCPR, @SAPC_QASI_Group. SIGs are using Team databases to share data and Google groups to communicate.

What is the future for SIGs?

Cross-group collaborations could be established allowing cross-fertilisation of ideas - SIG leads please come to our January 2023 meeting to set these up
Feedback to membership on reviews of papers / grant applications
Potential to run master classes
Potential to host webinar series
Twitter fest – perhaps encourage people to share a relevant paper that has inspired them or highlight papers from members of the SIG on twitter (this is good for citation rate)
Publishing abstracts of meetings on the SAPC website with a DOI

I hope this has been an eye-opening read for those of you new to SIGs and for those of you familiar with our aims I hope it’s provoked some new ideas. Do get in touch with me if there is anything on the topic of SIGs that you’d like to discuss and a big thank you to all our SIG leads who do such an excellent job.

Rachel Spencer