Blog posts

Communicating experiences in medicine through art

by Dr Megan Brown and Dr Stephanie Bull

A team at the Medical Education Innovation & Research Centre (MEdIC) have been working on bringing creative enquiry into the MBBS curriculum. Dr Megan Brown, Dr Stephanie Bull, and Dr Reem Moussa have co-created a Student Selected Component for medical students entitled “Exploring experiences in medicine through the creation of the arts” which will run this academic year 2022/23.


Funding won by Dr Stephanie Bull to incorporate artwork into medical school transitional spaces

This SSC builds on research more broadly within MEdIC which focuses on the impact of the creation of arts, and on a workshop recently presented by Megan at the Association of Medical Education (AMEE) international conference, on the topic of creative enquiry and flourishing within medical education.

Dr Reem Moussa created this artwork

The SSC will engage medical students actively in making art, by offering them opportunities to reflect on their lived experience of medical education using the art of others and create art of their own across diverse media (e.g., painting, drawing, sculpture, poetry, music, dance etc.).

Sharing creativity on twitter: Haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, represented in three lines of five, seven and five

Students will be prompted to consider how the experience of creating art might inform their development or practice as a clinician. The team have shared images of the art they’ve created (across digital, written, and illustrated formats) as a way of beginning a conversation surrounding the joy and possible role of creating art within medical education.

Making Time for Widening Access to Community Careers in Healthcare

by Renee Ewe

Thank you to all our GP tutors who hosted WATCCH year 12 pupils at their practice this summer. We hope this was as rewarding an experience for you as it was for the pupils. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the transformative value of work experience from both pupils and our GP tutors.  

“I had the pleasure of hosting WATCCH pupils my practice. The pupils were very keen to learn and were very grateful for the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals. During their work experience, they had dedicated time to ask questions about healthcare careers.  I also asked them to write a short reflective piece on their work experience and the challenges faced by the NHS to aid their interview preparation. The pupils produced very insightful pieces of work which formed the starting point of several fruitful discussions. Overall, I found the experience very fulfilling and I think the pupils gained a valuable insight into the life of a working GP, “ Dr Himanshu Bhatt, GP Partner, Brentfield Medical Centre. 

In the post-placement workshop, pupils also had the opportunity to share a reflective piece about their work experience. As part of this workshop, Stephanie Powell, our Community Collaborations Lead, delivered an innovative session aimed at improving confidence and encouraging participants to think on their feet.   

WATCCH pupil Faith Chidyausiku and Lazina Akbar attended their GP placement together and worked on a series of illustrations and descriptions of a variety of healthcare professionals that they had contact with in August

To help WATCCH pupils with their applications, the WATCCH team and mentors ran workshops on personal statements and interview skills.  A mock interview session is planned for the 26th of November. We look forward to hearing about our WATCCH pupils’ future plans.  

Annual Teachers Conference 2022: The stories that connect us

Our Annual Teachers Conference returned to campus on Wednesday 15 June 2022 and it was a great joy to see many of our colleagues from the GP community gathered together again.

This year the Undergraduate Primary Care Education Team were delighted to welcome three Imperial College London medical students as keynote speakers . This was the first time we have invited students to be our keynote, and I can firmly say it was a great success! The theme for the day was ‘the stories that connect us’. Students Thivyaa Gangatharan, Hamza Ikhlaq and Hareef Asunramu each shared their own stories of unique and inspiring journeys into medical school and the experiences that have shaped them as medical students. Each spoke movingly about their formative years pre-medical school and the paths that lead them to study medicine. They also beautifully shared their understanding of what belonging means to them within the medical school, and reflected on the relationships and connections that have helped shape their identities as our future doctors. To listen to each ten minute student keynote talk please go to our conference webpage  Annual Teachers Conference 2022 (

There were a variety of workshops throughout the day to support GP tutors with CPD. These ranged from ‘Inclusive medical education’ and ‘Integrating sustainable healthcare into the undergraduate medical curriculum’ to workshops in coaching, personalised care and ‘training the workforce with generalist skills’.

We received some excellent feedback from delegates who attended the day: “Really touching to hear the student’s stories and made me think about my own connections. Listening to the student presentations, being able to think about new topics like sustainability and bounce off ideas with colleagues.”

Thank you to all our students, community tutors and faculty who helped make the day such a success.

Integrating sustainable healthcare into the undergraduate medical curriculum

by Dr Rene Ewe

Climate change is widely recognised as a health emergency. The GMC, NHS and WHO have emphasised the importance of teaching sustainable healthcare principles to medical students. The Planetary Health Report Card, a student-led review of sustainable healthcare education in the United Kingdom demonstrated huge variability in the level of integration into the core curriculum. At Imperial College London, we are making changes to our primary care curriculum to better equip our future doctors with the skills they will need to meet the NHS’s Net Zero initiative and to meet the changing healthcare demands of the global population. Tutors have reported that lack of familiarity with the principles of sustainable healthcare as a core barrier to teaching.

As part of this workshop, we will hear from our own students about the work they have been doing to drive changes in the curriculum. They will discuss the reasons why sustainable healthcare is so important, including the concept of the triple bottom line which highlights the economic, health and environmental benefits of greener health initiatives. We will then explore the challenges we face with integrating sustainability within the curriculum, and will invite an open discussion from attendees to help us further understand how we can support teaching of sustainable healthcare. We will discuss some of the successes the Department of Undergraduate Primary Care have had so far to galvanise our tutor community to push this further. We will round off this workshop with an open dialogue on your experiences of sustainable healthcare.

Society of Primary Care (SAPC) Madingley Conference 2022

By Dr Angelica Sharma (Academic Foundation Trainee, FY2, Imperial College London)

The Society of Primary Care (SAPC) Madingley Conference was held virtually between 20-21st January 2022 attracting over 200 attendees.

The theme was centred around ‘Primary Care – Building Back Better’. The sessions provided key knowledge updates, lessons learnt during the pandemic and ideas for change to help shape the future of primary care. The 2-day event focussed on areas such as health inequality and change including digital methods and innovative tools to address disparities in health care.

Panel discussions on ‘Digital Health: What’s Next?’ brainstormed ideas on how to integrate digital health tools within General Practice. Use of digital technologies in healthcare has progressed rapidly, especially in the face of COVID. In the next 20 years, approximately 90% of NHS jobs will require digital skills (Topol, 2019). However, there is a lack of formal integration of digital health within the medical curriculum and it is often an element that is not assessed within medical school.

Digital health initiatives included:

  1. ‘Live Well with Parkinson’s’ – a mobile application where patients living with Parkinson’s disease are able to track their symptoms on a day-to-day basis with clinicians receiving this data in live time.
  2. ‘Living with COVID Recovery Programme’ – formulating a clinical pathway to support individuals with long COVID with use of a patient-facing application delivering advice and offering a messaging service to contact health professionals.

I showcased our initiative to develop a primary care longitudinal digital health curriculum (DHC) for undergraduate medical students at Imperial College London. We compiled and reviewed learning objectives across all year groups and the learning objectives which had scope to integrate a digital health component were selected. As medical students are taught in a diverse range of settings, we explored appropriate formats of delivery of these learning objectives, including tutorial/lecture-based settings, and within written or clinical examinations. Finally, to align these curriculum changes with medical student assessments, we also carried out digital health exam question writing workshops. In these workshops, primary care clinicians were supported in implementing a digital health theme to proposed learning objectives. Key themes included patient generated data (i.e., wearables, mobile phone applications), remote consultations and electronic medical records. We were awarded the ‘Early Career Research’ Prize – with special thanks to Dr Renee Ewe, Dr Viral Thakerar and Dr Ravi Parekh.

We also presented medical education initiatives from the Primary Care Department at Imperial College including:

  1. Sense of belonging, authenticity, and wellbeing: A mixed-methods study – Dr Zoe Moula.

Medical students experience poorer wellbeing as compared to other students. Subject to the outcome of a funding application, this mixed-methods study will aim to understand how the sense of authenticity and belonging impacts medical students’ wellbeing. It will also aim to examine differences when adjusting for previous experiences of discrimination; pre-existing mental health conditions; protected characteristics; and year of study. The main objective of this study will be to identify and implement strategies that promote medical students’ sense of authenticity, belonging and wellbeing.

  1. Coaching skills for pupils from widening participation backgrounds considering healthcare careers – Hamza Ikhlaq (Medical Student).

A coaching skills workshop was developed and evaluated for sixth form pupils from widening participation backgrounds to support access to healthcare careers. Coaching offered students a greater sense of awareness and improved communication skills.

  1. Exploring the impact of a series of novel medical education masterclasses – Dr Nick Sylvan.

The masterclass series delivered in summer 2021 to UK medical students, included guest speakers, interactive workshops, and discussion panels on topic including diversity and inclusion, digital health, professional identity, preparation for practice and coaching skills. The masterclasses broadened students’ perspectives, agency, personal development, and inclusivity.

  1. Evaluation of the remote delivery of a community careers widening participation programme – Nida Hafiz (Medical Student). Widening Access to Careers in Community Healthcare (WATCCH) programme for Year 12 students who were from widening participation backgrounds. Due to the pandemic, the WATCCH programme was delivered online. Feedback from students suggested that although online sessions increased accessibility, face-to-face interaction would have helped build better relationships with peers and mentors.

Bethany Golding (Community Collaborations Lead) competed in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style session on ‘What would you do with £1 million worth of funding?’. The talk focused on the importance of community engagement, especially in reaching out to communities and people with physical or mental health related disabilities. Examples of previous projects included tackling food poverty in local communities. She highlighted the importance of community small grants programmes to bring communities together around health and wellbeing in a way that is led by them.

The next SAPC Annual meeting will be held in Preston in July 2022, later this year.

WATCCH 2021/22: First Two Workshops Complete

by Dr Nikul Kotecha

Widening Access to Careers in Community Healthcare (WATCCH) is a widening participation initiative aimed at Year 12 students from state schools interested in a career in healthcare. WATCCH provides work experience, near-peer mentoring, and a programme of workshops on a range of healthcare careers and admissions help. The work experience and first two workshops have now been completed.

The first Imperial student-led workshop was on ‘Reflection and Coaching’ in which students engaged with mentors to reflect on their recent GP-based work experience as well as discuss their thoughts on matters such as the importance of reflection within the general/healthcare setting. Students then delved into the world of coaching. They were introduced to reflection and coaching frameworks and went on to apply their learning and skills in smaller groups. The workshop was really interactive and enjoyable and received really positive feedback from the students.

The second workshop was on ‘Personal Statements and Where should I apply’ where current medical students gave advice and tips on personal statement writing followed by a collaborative session reviewing personal statement drafts. The second workshop built on the first workshop where student used the reflection frameworks from the first workshop to probe further thinking regarding their personal statements in this conducive learning environment. Once again, the workshop received very positive feedback.

Preparation is already underway for the next useful workshop – ‘Interview Skills’.

For more about Widening Access to Careers in Community Healthcare, please see our website

MEdIC Medical Education Masterclasses

by Sukhi Ubhi

During the summer, the Medical Education Research and Innovation Centre (MEdIC) delivered a series of free, virtual medical education masterclasses aimed particularly at UK medical students from under-represented backgrounds. Sessions covered topical areas in medical education including: coaching, preparation for practice, diversity & inclusion, digital health and professional identity.

The sessions were attended by 250 students from several UK universities including Imperial, Cardiff, Dundee, Leeds and Nottingham.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive; students commented on how inspiring the sessions were and the enjoyment of meeting other medical students.

“Overall, the masterclasses provided a broad and insightful overview of medical education. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet other like-minded students from different medical schools and the chance to listen to presentations and panel discussions by experts who shared their experience and passion for medical education”

Students felt the masterclasses had helped to increase their interests in pursing future careers in medical education:

“This experience has definitely made me consider medical education as a career choice”
“Prior to attending the masterclasses, I was uncertain about what medical education truly entails. However, now I have a deeper understanding of not only what it’s really about but also how to take the first steps to be involved”
“Overall the masterclasses have encouraged me to look at medical education with an inquisitive eye, always asking the questions: how well does current medical education translate into well-prepared doctors, and what changes are still needed? So, by giving me an insight into where the gaps may still lie, my interest in a career in medical education, as a means of being an instrument of change, has increased”

As part of the masterclasses, MEdIC ran a competition for students to submit medical education research project proposals. The shortlisted entries will be presented to a panel in November and the winning submission will be provided with supervision and funding by MEdIC to complete the project.

Annual Teachers Conference: Year 6 GPSA Photography Prize 2021

We asked our year 6 students on their General Practice Student Assistantship to submit photographs that they had taken while on their placements. In year 6 students go on placements all over the United Kingdom, you can see a selection of the photos below:

by Jehna Devraj
Here is a photo from my placement in Belfast. The surgery is located just by the top of the famous Shankill Road separating the loyalist and republican areas of the city. This is a photo of the adjacent peace wall (viewed from the Protestant side) that was built to quell some of the conflict during The Troubles. My GP was quite Protestant/loyalist skewed but I have also included a photo of a practice on the other side of the wall which is very Catholic/republican. It says family doctor in Irish.


by Febi Sidiku
“Different patients, different landscapes”


by Jinpo Xiang
On the way to a home visit, Loch Eriboll


by Jinpo Xiang
Monday morning waiting room


by Jinpo Xiang
Seal spotting with Dr Herfurt and Jean the retired district nurse


by Jinpo Xiang
The owner of Armadale house where I stayed for the placement


by George Stuart-Mullin
I took the first one on my last day of placement since it was the last day of placements ever, and the 2nd and 3rd are from an idea I had to help Dr Kim’s covid vaccine project by using a Bristol Drugs Project needle exchange van as a mobile vaccine clinic to reach vaccine hesitant areas!


by Hasan Khan

Annual Teachers Conference 2021: Navigating Future Pathways

The Undergraduate Primary Care Education Team held its Annual Teachers Conference on Wednesday 15 September. This was the first time the conference has been held online. The conference was open to everyone who has contributed to teaching our medical students or plans to get involved in teaching and we were pleased to be able to welcome more than 100 delegates from all over the United Kingdom.

We were delighted to have Dr Farzana Hussain as our keynote speaker. Dr Hussain is GP principal at The Project Surgery and Primary Care Network Clinical Director for Newham Central and was named as the Pulse GP of the Year in 2019. She gave an inspiring and insightful talk on the challenges of balancing work with our communities, so we have happier doctors and healthcare staff and happier communities, at a time when the NHS is shifting to becoming a well-being rather than a “treating sickness” service and our workforce is stretched.

Source: Dominic Lipinski/PA via the BMJ

The presentations from our medical students have always proved one of the highlights of the conference in the past and despite the change of platform, this year was no different. Shahmeer Mohammad presented his experiences on the new I-Explore module and student shaper Kinan Wihba gave his perspective on Shaping An Inclusive Primary Care Curriculum.

Three pairs of Community Action Project students, winners from each term, presented their interventions. The delegates were asked to vote on which they thought was the best project overall and this was awarded to Thivyaa Gangatharan and Ellen Wrathall for their intervention aiding parents, carers and GPs in accessing Child Mental Health Services in Greenwich.

The delegates then broke out into workshops. This year these took on a variety of topics: creating an inclusive learning environment, make live online teaching great again, coaching skills, balancing clinical and teaching responsibilities, professional identity formation and graphic medicine.

After a break, students from across all years of teaching were awarded prizes and this was followed by our tutor awards. Many congratulations to Dr Tamara Joffe and Church End Medical Centre (Practice Award) who won Teaching Excellence Awards, Dr Adnan Saad and Dr Akbar Khan for their Supporting the Student Experience Awards and Dr Heather Molyneux who received the Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.

We also ran, as every year, a photography competition for final year students on their GP placements outside of London. You may see a selection of entries in the following post:

Widening Access to Careers in Community Healthcare (WATCCH) 2020/21

by Dr Dominique Forrest and Dr Katie Scott

The 2020/21 Widening Access To Careers in Community Healthcare (WATCCH) programme came to a close in February. WATCCH is a widening participation initiative for Year 13 students interested in pursuing a healthcare career. The 2020/21 programme consisted of a series of remote workshops, developed and run by Imperial medical students on the WATCCH committee, and the primary care team. The workshops are supported by medical student mentors recruited by Vision society.

The programme covers varied topics including interview skills, personal statement writing and reflection and coaching. The WATCCH students also have the opportunity to participate in a question and answer workshop with multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals and attend mock interviews. For the final workshop students were given the opportunity to suggest topics they would like to cover. In response to their suggestions the WATCCH team developed a ‘Higher Education Tips’ session covering key concerns such as finances, academic study tips, university support services, and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on university life. The workshop consisted of large and small group sessions, as well as a truly insightful talk from a first year Imperial medical student on her experience of starting university during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the next few months, whilst students are awaiting interviews and university offers, they can continue to access support from their Imperial medical student mentors via Brightside, an online mentoring platform. The WATCCH team are currently planning for the programme in 2021/22 where we hope to be able to re-introduce primary care work experience opportunities.