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Dr Lily Yuen Wan Lai PhD, BSc (Hons), Traditional Chinese Medicine (1st), Middlesex University (2005)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Lily Yuen Wan Lai's photo

Dr Lily Lai is a visiting academic in Primary Medical Care at the Faculty of Medicine. 

As an applied health researcher, my work seeks to find out how effective herbal medicines are for problems commonly seen by general practitioners in primary care.

Lily joined the department of Primary Care and Population Sciences in 2010. She was awarded an NIHR School for Primary Care research training fellowship to explore the use of Chinese herbal medicine in primary medical care for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This was supervised by Professors George Lewith and Michael Moore and Dr Andrew Flower.

Lily is currently involved with projects that evaluate the safety and clinical effectiveness of Western and Chinese herbal medicines. This is an important area of research as it helps patients and healthcare professionals make more informed decisions regarding available treatment options. She has experience in a range of applied health research methods including randomised controlled trials, feasibility studies, systematic reviews and Delphi studies. This has enabled her to apply her expertise across a range of inter-related research questions in developing and evaluating interventions in primary care for acute and chronic conditions.

Research interests

Lily Lai’s broad interests are in improving medical and self-management of acute and chronic illnesses in primary care and focuses on four main areas of research:

  • Evaluating the safety and clinical effectiveness of Western and Chinese herbal medicine
  • Optimising self-management of acute infections
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome and other chronic conditions
  • Clinical trial methodology

Research group

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

Affiliate research group

Research project(s)

ROSE - Rosa canina fruit (rosehip) for OsteoarthritiS: a cochrane rEview

This is an update of an existing Cochrane systematic review of oral herbal medicines for osteoarthritis; focusing specifically on Rosa Canina fruit. The Cochrane review aims to evaluate the benefits and harms of R. Canina fruit for symptoms of osteoarthritis in adults.

Lily Lai feels passionate about the professional development and representation of others. She was an active PhD representative for Primary Care and Population Sciences (PCPS) within the Faculty of Medicine. Since then, she has moved onto becoming committee member and now committee chair and senior management representative of an interdisciplinary research interest group in primary care. She is also the regional conference representative aimed at promoting engagement between non-clinical primary healthcare scientists within the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC).

Lily has prior clinical experience within the NHS including the NHS Whittington Hospital Pain Clinic and the National Healthy Living Centre in London providing acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments to NHS patients. She continues to work with patients from a pharmacy-based practice in Hertfordshire and also supervises undergraduate students and clinical associates of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Lily regularly peer reviews for international journals such as the British Journal of General Practice, BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine and European Journal of Integrative Medicine.

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Besides her research work, Lily Lai is keen to promote evidence-based thinking in Chinese herbal medicine. She has been invited to educational events hosted by the herbal and acupuncture profession aimed at promoting engagement with research. This is an important area of public engagement that Lily is passionate about and will continue to address through her teaching roles.

Lily also believes in promoting better engagement between Chinese herbal and other medical practitioners. She is currently working with the online Masters programme team at the Northern College of Acupuncture in York to develop and tutor on integrative and collaborative practice.

She is currently supervising Masters students and mentoring PhD students from a variety of disciplines including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Western herbal medicine and medical anthropology. She has also been clinical supervisor for 4th year undergraduate students and for clinical associates in herbal and acupuncture practice.

29 January 2015
Lily Lai has written a blog for the School for Primary Care Research on the support received from the REACH group.

20 January 2015
PCPS PhD day, our yearly event where students present and receive feedback. Some of those students are funded by the SPCR, story here.

November 2012
‘Are herbs answer to ovarian syndrome?’ Hemeltoday, The Gazette

Dr Lily Yuen Wan Lai
Primary Care and Population Sciences University of Southampton Aldermoor Health Centre Aldermoor Close Southampton Hampshire SO16 5ST
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