Dr David Strain

clinical senior lecturer and honorary consultant, clinical lead for COVID services RD&E, BMA UK Council, Medical Academic Staff Committee and Board of Science, University of Exeter Medical School


Dr David Strain is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, an honorary consultant in medicine for the older adult, Head of the academic department for healthcare for older adults and the co-chair of the British Medical Association’s medical academic staff committee. Clinically, he runs a community diabetes service for the older adult, works as an in-patient stroke consultant, and participates in the chronic fatigue service. Prior to this, Dr Strain studied at Liverpool University before completing his Doctorate in Medicine on ‘Ethnic differences in the vascular responses to insulin resistance’ at the International Centre for Cardiovascular Health, Imperial College, London.

His main research focus is the health of older adults with diabetes; ensuring the right patient gets the right treatment. This includes research across the spectrum from mechanistic studies in the biologically young to pragmatic trials in the frail elderly population. He has an expertise in exploring the mechanism that some medications give benefits for people with diabetes beyond their effect on sugar and blood pressure, to determine if we can better select the medication for each patient. He has performed the only study to date demonstrating the feasibility of individualizing targets for older adults across Europe. This has informed the new UK guidance document for the management of older adults with diabetes and frailty, of which he was lead author. Within this remit, he engages in multidisciplinary research portfolio, supervising renal physicians, cardiologists, radiographers, basic scientists as well as geriatricians.

Additionally, he has performed a global project exploring the causes of clinical inertia, that is the reason why doctors and people with diabetes don’t escalate their treatments in a timely manner. He chairs the steering committee in association with the former International Diabetes Federation (IDF) president, Sir Michael Hirst called ‘Time 2 Do More in Diabetes™’, aiming to reduce this phenomenon.

His role in global drug development advisory boards, and ability to translate complex mechanisms using readily interpretable analogies has earned him a global reputation for providing relevant comprehensible lectures. As a result he has presented his work in over 110 countries, including USA, Canada, across Europe, the Middle East, India, Latin America, Africa, China, Russia and Australasia

Since March 2020, he has been heavily involved in the COVID-19 response team. Within the BMA he has led the academic response to risk assessment of healthcare workers and been responsible for several briefing statements such as position statement on face masks and covid late complications, whilst clinically he is the Clinical Lead for COVID services  at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. He has participated in the NHS long COVID Taskforce, has given evidence at the All-Party Parliamentary Group long COVID meetings, and has presented at several meetings including the Society of Occupational Medicine, the Westminster Health Policy and is part of the Board of Science’s organisational committee.


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