Building Public Engagement into the Education of Tomorrow's Doctors

Dr Anita Berlin, Division of Medical Education

The medical programme is the single largest and (at 6 years) longest at UCL, graduating up to 370 young professionals annually. This project aims to engage with the public actively at a number of levels in the basic medical education of tomorrow’s doctors at UCL.

The goals of the project will be to establish a systematic, coherent and sustainable approach to public engagement in all aspects of the programme, focussing on three areas:

  • Representation and voice in curriculum development and governance
  • Co-ordinated, consistent and creative involvement in student teaching and assessment – in particular initiatives that may overcome existing barriers between student and patients
  • On-going partnership with existing organisations representing patients in both our health service providers and the voluntary sector, locally and nationally

The project will draw on an action research approach with a strong emphasis on direct dialogue and joint activities between UCL medical students and the public. Activities will include recruitment student and patient participants, facilitated group discussions involving students and patients, and review and mapping of existing teaching and assessment practice.

Reflections on these activities will be shared within the NHS and UCL and the medical school will be provided with an action plan, building on these activities to achieve on-going public engagement in the medical programme. The essence of this project is bi-directional: through sharing personal experiences and reviewing current practice, patients and students will inform and work with faculty to design a more patient-centred curriculum, ensuring sustained and embedded public engagement.

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