How Role Model Doctor Overcame Adversity to Become a Success
Ese Stacey’s involvement with Down syndrome issues came about after her second child Hannah was born with the condition in 2005. Since then Ese and her husband Simon have worked tirelessly to help change the health and lives of Down syndrome children.
As parents who were both doctors, they have sought out knowledge about the treatments that would make the biggest impact.
Indeed, Ese started a pilot study of five children with Down syndrome at Seaford, East Sussex, looking at nutritional markers and their possible influence on brain development. After analysing this and other research, she formulated a nutritional toolkit made up of talks and written material to help parents and carers make good nutrition choices for their children.
As volunteers, Ese and Simon joined with other parents of Down syndrome children and helped establish the Seaford Down Syndrome and Special Needs Support Group charity.
Ese and Simon are particularly keen on intervention work and supporting Down syndrome science and the professionals working around the condition. Like other members of the charity, they freely give their time to make a difference by providing the best range of specialist services for children and adults living with Down syndrome.
Born on 26 September 1966, Ese is a consultant specialist in sport and exercise medicine with a particular expertise in the use of food as a means of improving people’s lives.
She is one of four children born in Sheffield, to Nigerian parents Chief Gilbert Oshevire and Esther (née Unuajohwofia), and the youngest fostered daughter of Marina and Douglas White, an English working class mining family in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
As a child, Stacey lived through the 1984-85 miners’ strike. She was educated at Chesterfield St Helena’s School, also known as Chesterfield Girls’ Grammar School. An accomplished athlete, Stacey set the British university heptathlon record in 1989. The following year she was voted University of London Sportswoman of the Year. She competed in women’s rugby as a winger, including as a member of the England emerging team between 1996 and 1997, and Wasp ladies as both a player and doctor. Ese later worked as doctor for England women’s rugby and ran the London marathon in 2003.
She studied at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London, from 1985 to 1990. Having a keen interest in alternative ways of looking at health and healing, she trained in homeopathy at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, now known as the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, in 1996, where she gained an MSc in sport medicine and is now a member of the British society of integrative medicine (BSEM) with a desire to combine knowledge of how environment and nutrition influence health.
While she was a medical student, Ese took part in a BBC TV documentary, Doctors To Be. It was a 20-year project that included The GP’s Tale, featuring qualified doctors Will Liddell and Stacey.
She is a foundation fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and was put on its specialist register as a consultant in 2009 and the medical register (L’Ordre des Médecins) in Bouches du Rhône, France, in 2014. A year later she gained a distinction in a postgraduate diploma in MSK ultrasound at the University of Bournemouth.
Her interest in food and nutrition draws on experiences from both parts of her Nigerian and English upbringing.
- From October 1995 to September 1996 she was a masters student studying sports medicine in the department of Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Royal London Hospital, Mile End, London.
- She did research into bone and bone turnover in female endurance athletes at Imperial College’s School of Medicine at St Mary’s, Paddington, London, between September 1996 and March 1997.
- Between April 1997 and January 1998, Stacey was a Fellow in sports medicine at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Institute of Sports Medicine (CHISM), Sydney, Australia.
- From July 2004 to 2010 she worked privately as a sport and exercise medicine doctor in London and Eastbourne. She was a senior lecturer in sports medicine in the department of Sport and Exercise Medicine at The Royal London Hospital, Mile End, London, from May 2002 to July 2004.
- At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, Stacey was a volunteer doctor and treated athletes from all over the world, including triathletes. She has held other International Triathlon Union posts.
- Ese has a keen interest in education, and has at various stages home-educated her three children. She also ran a successful education company called MRCGPEXAM, which taught general practitioner’s how to pass their postgraduate exam.
- She is an established author, having written both medical and non-medical books. Her medical series Hot Topics in general practice was regularly in the British Medical Journal’s bestseller book list.
- Ese enjoyed further expanding her knowledge of food and culture while living in Provence, France, for five years between 2009 and 2014. It was an adventure that helped her children learn French, and, while in Provence, she wrote a maths programme, entitled ‘VIP maths’ – which stands for Visual, Intuitive, Progressive. It aims to take children on a step-by-step fun journey through maths and was written in response to the dearth of simple intuitive maths material. The programme will be published in July 2017.
- Stacey’s analysis of current literature into Down syndrome led to her discovery that the gut is a vitally important organ in general health. She also found that not just Down syndrome children could benefit from greater knowledge and work on gut health but most people with chronic disease. Stacey gives talks about health and has set up an educational website offering an online health course for the general public. The programme followed students through their careers and continued for 20 years.
- From July 2012 to the present, Stacey has been a BUPA specialist sport and exercise physician.
- Currently she deals with complex health problems that relate to musculoskeletal and general health. She has built up expertise in explaining how the gut, which she says is arguably the body’s most important immune organ, can affect all aspects of health. Stacey speaks at conferences regarding the gut and its effects on joint problems.
Stacey is married to Dr Simon Gareth Stacey, an anaesthetist and nephew of the late Vivienne Stacey, who pioneered Christian missionary work to Muslim women living in Pakistan and was the author of more than 15 books, including several in the Urdu language. Ese and Simon live in Brighton, Sussex.