The Next Generation of Physicians Work on Global Health Issues with Community Groups | Imperial News


Medical and veterinary students from Imperial’s Global Health BSc course shared their community placement experiences at an exciting White City event.

The project showcase, April 29, 2022, took place in the state-of-the-art Invention Rooms, a space where the College and the local community come together to innovate and collaborate.

As part of their BSc in Global Health studies, students learn about global health and inequalities through collaborative work with local health and wellbeing voluntary sector organizations across London, lending their skills and expertise time to make changes in their communities.

Each year, these physicians of tomorrow report and reflect on their experience working with community partners and peers, showing how powerful collaboration with the voluntary sector can be. 36 students participated in this year’s project, working alongside eight different community groups.

The event was an opportunity to disseminate lessons, celebrate successes and strengthen partnerships. He also underlined how crucial it will be for the voluntary sector and the NHS to form closer partnerships in the future.

This year, community partners, who spanned various fields, were Addison Community Champions, FORWARD(Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development), Hammersmith Community Garden Association, A Westminster, The Abbey Center Community Association Limited, The Gurkha Center, Young Brent Foundation and Young Hammersmith & Fulham Foundation.

Learning to challenge inequalities

Community organizations play a huge role in supporting the health and well-being of communities around the world. Dr Shyam Budhathoki BSc Global Health Coordinator

Dr Shyam Budhathoki, BSc Global Health Coordinator and Head of the Community Groups Placement Module, said: “Community organizations play a huge role in supporting the health and well-being of communities around the world. It is therefore important for our students to be able to see how these organizations work – as effective partners with healthcare professionals and communities on a global scale.

It’s authentic learning that we can’t easily replicate in the classroom: dealing with uncertainty, strategy and politics. It’s great to see the relationship with our community partners grow. We believe this can be a model for other programs and we already have a project underway to share our learning.

Dr Florence Mutlow, personal tutor, added: “As a doctor, I love how the internships have given students an appreciation for the community, they will remember it and try to use the experience in their future practice. It’s really good to instill this importance of being connected as a member of the community”.

A group of students have been placed with the Young Brent Foundation, an independent voluntary sector charity that works across the public, private and voluntary sectors to support the mental health and long-term well-being of young people, particularly those of the BAME community.

The foundation plays a vital role in improving the health and wellbeing of local people, especially those who may not otherwise be able to access NHS services due to a variety of factors.

Students spoke of the tensions they noticed between conventional health care providers and community organizations (CBOs) – and barriers to collaboration. They also reflected on funding dilemmas: year-to-year grants as a flow of funding made forecasting and planning for the future very difficult.

Young Brent Foundation
The students present the results of their community internship at the Young Brent Foundation.

Karishma Dave, an Imperial medical student, said: “This placement has provided a unique opportunity to see the wider impact the work has on the health of young people. He highlighted gaps in the health system to reach everyone and how that could cause children to fall through the net. The internship also showed us, when it comes to mental health, how to look at things holistically – rather than seeing individuals in the biomedical model, to instead see their backgrounds and their impact on how conditions of health arise. It was a lesson in humility”.

Another group was placed on the social prescribing team of OneWestminster, a multi-faceted CBO working in the borough of Westminster.

The students discovered that more awareness was needed around the issue of social prescribing. There was a lack of commitment and GPs were not explaining to patients what to expect. The group recommended training for GPs and medical students, discharge summaries so patients have a summary of their progress and information is stored securely, and a dedicated webpage to increase public awareness. . Currently, different social prescribers try to educate GPs in different ways; a standardized method that pools resources may be more useful.

The students found it difficult to get GPs to invest and realized that changes needed to be made from the top, which would take time.

This internship really showed me the value of the voluntary sector and the importance of organizing things so that they are accessible to everyone. Safa Mushtaq, medecine studient

Safa Mushtaq, a medical student on this year’s course at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘This course has really shown me the value of the voluntary sector and how important it is to organize things so that they are accessible to all. Community rotations are important in medical school, it made me realize that every patient has their own situation and just prescribing them a medication might not solve the situation they have. To get to the root of the problem, you have to explore what is going on in their life and their social situation, it makes you step back and see the big picture, treat each situation differently”.

Panel discussion – lessons learned from the pandemic

The afternoon ended with a lively panel discussion, chaired by Dr. Pinder, on how the pandemic has affected what community partners have been able to offer and how they have found new ways to engage with their communities while simultaneously facing the pressures of uncertainty. and change.

Chris Murray, CEO of the Young Brent Foundation, said: “It’s about being a good neighbour. We tried to be the relay and to represent the young people as best as we could, we showed that we could enter the space. We use a nugget of idea and then engage with local authorities and government. Cultural competency is so important that we talk about it more and tune in.

The panel also talked about all the positives that can be taken from the pandemic. Chris said: “The organizations we work with are usually pressed for time, so it’s about understanding the power of using technology, Zoom, social media. We are building more relationships with the system.”

Dr Richard Pinder, course director, said: “The pandemic has brought to light the inequalities and wellbeing challenges in North West London and beyond. Our future clinicians need to better understand the voluntary sector as partners, who not only have a deep understanding of the communities from which they come, but who will be an increasingly important part of the health and care ecosystem. in the future.


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