Interview with Dr. Sabrina Eltringham

Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, UK
Twitter: @SabrinaEltringh

Interviewed by Dr. Inna Lutsenko,
ESO Social Media and PR Committee,
Neurologist, Hietzing Hospital, Austria
Twitter: @inna_lutsenko

In upcoming weeks we are going to immerse in the atmosphere of past ESO Conferences and recall bright poster presentations which impacted the conference and made the poster walks meaningful. We will interview young stroke researchers and medical doctors who presented at ESOC and contributed to the scientific programme. Poster walks open an unique opportunity for participants to share their research with the public and to participate in discussions as well as to be heard by recognized specialists in the stroke field. Let’s recall 2019, when Sabrina presented a poster “Factors associated with risk of stroke associated pneumonia in patients with dysphagia: a systematic review”.

Dear Sabrina, please tell us a bit about yourself and where do you work?

I’m a speech and language therapist and a postdoctoral researcher. I work at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, United Kingdom where I’m responsible for the assessment and management of adults with swallowing and communication difficulties. My research interest is in post stroke dysphagia and preventing complications, such as stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP) and dehydration, and early rehabilitation. I’m currently undertaking a Stroke Association funded Postdoctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship which is investigating the feasibility of implementing a dysphagia management approach called the Free Water Protocol in the Acute Stroke Unit setting.

How did you get involved in stroke research?

I took my first steps in stroke research in 2012 as a research associate for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC), in the Translating Knowledge into Action Theme. I was responsible for working in the priority area of dysphagia and supporting the implementation and evaluation of the recommendations arising from a dysphagia e-learning project. I developed the interventions to support the adoption and adaptation of the recommendations which included delivering a “train the trainer” intervention to the clinical areas participating in the research, supporting the cascade of training to the multidisciplinary team, and contributing to the collection and analysis of the research data.

You presented a poster at ESOC 2019, please tell us about your research topic and its findings.

The poster presentation was about a systematic review which I undertook as part of my PhD programme of research. My research investigated how variation in assessment and management of dysphagia in acute stroke impacts on stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP). The systematic review aimed to provide evidence about the interventions and care processes associated with SAP in patients with dysphagia. Although findings should be interpreted with caution given the number and heterogeneity of studies and reporting, the review found that a range of medical interventions and care processes may impact on SAP. Further randomised controlled trials were recommended to evaluate the role of these interventions and care processes in clinical practice. The systematic review was published in the journal ‘Dysphagia’ if readers would like to find out more information (Eltringham et al., 2020).
Why are you attending ESOC? What does participation in ESOC bring to the participant?
ESOC represents the interests of stroke clinicians and researchers and is a unique forum for attendees to learn about the latest advances in stroke research and guidelines. Participants can meet and exchange ideas and experiences with other stroke researchers and be inspired by world leading experts in their field. I was able to make new connections with researchers with shared research topic interests and I have continued to foster these professional relations. Participating in ESOC provided me with an opportunity to present and disseminate my doctoral research at a prestigious event and maintain my continuous professional development with the latest science across a range of topics.

Why is ESOC one the most impactful events of the year in the career of young neurologists?

ESOC brings together stroke clinicians and researchers from Europe and the rest of the world. It is a unique opportunity for clinical academics and the stroke multidisciplinary team to hear about new developments in stroke science and to be able to participate in that moment. ESOC is important for the progress of stroke science and provides an opportunity for early career researchers to network and exchange clinical and scientific experiences and be up to date with new knowledge and best practice.

What do you think a mentor should do to support the projects and the career of a mentee and, conversely, what should a mentee expect from a mentor?

A mentor should support the development of the mentee by sharing their knowledge and experience in their area of expertise. They should act as a trusted and critical advisor that focuses on the mentee’s strengths and what they want to achieve and challenges the mentee to identify the course of action they need to take with regards to their own development. A mentor should encourage the mentee to work towards their own individual objectives and be a motivating guide for the mentee on their journey. A mentee should expect the mentor to be an empathetic listener, share their experiences, help them to develop insight through reflection, be encouraging and be a trusted sounding board.


1. Eltringham SA, Kilner K, Gee M, Sage K, Bray BD, Smith CJ, Pownall S. Factors Associated with Risk of Stroke-Associated Pneumonia in Patients with Dysphagia: A Systematic Review. Dysphagia. 2020 Oct;35(5):735-744. doi: 10.1007/s00455-019-10061-6.