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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Medical Curriculum

By Dr Jo Seale, Professor Vrinda Nayak and Dr Eleanor Townsend

Hello, we are three members of staff working at the University of Exeter medical school and have joined together to explore the representation of equality and diversity in the medical curriculum with the support of an Exeter Education Incubator grant.

We are a diverse trio,

Vrinda is an academic at the Medical School with a background in biomedical sciences. She provides strategic leadership in promoting racial equality and inclusion in education and student experience at the University.

Eleanor is a microbiologist and lecturer, with a special interest in LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation.

and Jo is a clinician and researcher who now focuses on medical education, she has a particular interest in disability.

Within this project we are aiming to explore the views of both students and staff  in relation to the representation of various minority groups within the BMBS course here at the medical school. Specifically we are focusing on six themes:

  1. Gender identity
  2. Sexuality
  3. Race/ethnicity
  4. Religion/beliefs
  5. Socioeconomic status
  6. Disability

To achieve this aim, we are taking a three-pronged approach. The first two actions involve determining the views of current year 1 and 2 students and BMBS staff about the representation of our six themes. This will be achieved by both a survey and focus groups, the latter of which will allow us to gain a more in-depth appreciation of student and staff perspectives. In contrast, the third action will determine the representation of the six themes in the written content of the present year 1 and 2 medical curriculum and determining ways in which, where needed, incorporation of the themes can be enhanced. To achieve this, we are collaborating with ten medical students from years 3 and 4 as they are in an ideal position to help develop their own curriculum. 

Although inclusivity and representation is important throughout all education – medicine is in a very unique position – in their future roles as clinicians, our medical students will be treating a diverse range of patients and it is important that they feel competent to do so. Exeter Medical School already produces quality doctors, but through this project we are hoping to identify areas where our representation and inclusion can be further improved, to have a fully reflective curriculum.

Eleanor, Vrinda, and Jo.

Further Reading:

Project Grants 2022-23

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