School: Southampton Medical School
Connection to the Academy: Received funding from the INSPIRE programme
INSPIRE Leads: Professor Anneke Lucassen and Dr Karen Walker-Bone
It has been a busy and successful past two years and the INSPIRE committee have succeeded in our goal of having an increased presence in the medical school and beyond, no doubt due to the continual dedication of the entire committee to organising high-quality events and activities. Thus, we hope to continually see more students considering academic careers. We have demonstrated the importance of research and teaching to every career in medicine, engaging with students from Southampton and other medical schools at a range of different events. Students really value the opportunity to get involved with the organisation of the INSPIRE scheme as this enables them to develop skills in: leadership, teamwork, communication, time management and it builds their confidence.
The INSPIRE committee organises a portfolio of events and the number of attendees continues to grow. We hold activities such as:
- Research taster sessions are held regularly and are well-received.
- Our popular Journal Club is now student-led, with an experienced academic sitting in for support and to prompt discussion.
- The Annual Conference which continues to attract medical students from across the country with renowned speakers and interactive workshops. This academic year (November 2016), the theme was ‘Medical Interventions of the Future’ and the previous year we organised the National Undergraduate Nutrition Summit.
In order to ensure that there is a large presence throughout the medical school, there must be a large focus on publicity. The use of modern forms of communication, such as social media, to promote INSPIRE and it’s many activities, has proved very helpful. Additionally, having students co-lead INSPIRE has meant that they can ensure that the activities are appealing and well-suited to the student body and also easily promote activities via announcements before lectures.
What are the main impacts of the INSPIRE programme?
We have increased our profile in the medical school through engagement with MedSoc and thereby enabled students to explore what a clinical academic career entails, meet with clinical academics, be mentored by them and attend conferences alongside them in order that individuals might consider this as a future avenue. We have empowered students to become confident teachers, public speakers and communicators by offering lots of opportunities for training in and delivering peer teaching and research presentation. Additionally, we have held regular peer teaching sessions and talks on intercalation and the Academic Foundation Programme thus encouraging Southampton medical students to engage with research and academia, and giving them opportunities to present their research in the form of oral and poster presentations. Feedback for all of these events has been superb. Peer teaching is warmly received and is very important as it forms an integral part of academia. Students from all year groups are keen to gain teaching experience (and to be taught by their peers) and everybody benefits.
For full details of the activities implemented by Southampton Medical School, please visit the INSPIRE activities page.