Research visit, University of Helsinki. 12-15 April 2015, Finland
The primary purpose of our trip was to meet and build connections with Yrjo Engestrom and his team in the CRADLE (Centre for Research on Activity, Development and Learning, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki). Engestrom is a world leader in his field. An educationalist by background, he and his team have developed Activity Theory (AT) and the Change Laboratory. These approaches build on ideas first developed by Vygotsky and Le'ontev in pre-Stalinist Russia. They position learning as a social phenomenon with an importance placed on what is going on between different people undertaking any kind of 'activity' within their own cultural and historical context.
Helen's PhD is using Activity Theory as a means to gain deeper understanding of the OSCE. During an afternoon's visit to the CRADLE, we discussed our research ideas with Engestrom and his team. We were also joined via Skype by other interested researchers in the Netherlands, Brazil and Russia. The CRADLE team have worked across many different subject disciplines including healthcare. One of their most successful projects involved bringing together surgical and anaesthetic 'activity systems' in a dysfunctional Finnish hospital, analysing the complex actions involved, and working with participants to effect a positive change. It is a practical, forward looking approach with expansive learning at its heart. The CRADLE team were very interested to hear our ideas of applying AT to a medical education setting.
On our second full day in Helsinki we
presented a workshop entitled 'The OSCE as an Activity System. Past,
present and future Directions.' The participants included clinicians
and medical educationalists as well as some educationalists working
in other settings. Throughout the Seminars and Activities we were warmly
hosted by Dr Eeva Pyorala, a Senior Lecturer within the Medical School.
Eeva took the opportunity to show us around the fabulous University
buildings and also the city of Helsinki itself. Helsinki is a beautiful
peninsula city- open, green and eminently healthy. We hope to return!
Irish Ambassador receives prestigious healthcare award at Queen's
18th Annual Scientific Meeting of the AUDGPI hosted at Queens 5th & 6th March
We were delighted to host the 18th Annual Scientific Meeting of the AUDGPI (Association of University Departments of General Practice in Ireland) on 5th and 6th March 2015, at Riddel Hall, in association with our UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research (NI) at Queen's. Concurrent workshops on Thursday afternoon covered OSCE development for assessing undergraduate medical students, training in systematic reviews to help support young career academics and discussion of research approaches to promoting physical activity in primary care. A highlight of the day was our dinner in the Great Hall at Queen's.
QUB Team at AUDGPI in Belfast
Friday began with a stimulating call by Prof Domhnall MacAuley to put primary care research in Ireland into the world view, and to engage more with our service counterparts ('General Practice / Primary Care Research- looking to the future'). He set the scene for parallel sessions which followed, covering issues relevant to prescribing, medical education, multidisciplinary care, quality improvement, clinical practice and health promotion. Prof Simon Griffin was our main keynote speaker ('NHS Health Checks - evidence for best practice'); he provided insight into the evidence as to why we should be cautious about the implementation of 'health checks' and non-targeted screening for cardiovascular disease.
The Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone and Liberia, Dr Sinead Walsh, was awarded the Fiona Bradley Medal. This annual award celebrates the contribution of the late Dr Fiona Bradley to promoting better medical practice, especially in the more disadvantaged areas of society. Fiona was a lecturer in Trinity College, Dublin and family doctor in Ballymun until her untimely death at 41 years of age. She made a significant contribution to promoting better medical practice, especially in disadvantaged areas of Irish society. The award is given to an individual or group who have made a sustained difference in healthcare in Ireland or internationally. This year its award recognizes the exceptional and dedicated work which Sinead Walsh has done by in leading the Irish effort against the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Sinead accepted the award saying, 'It is a real honour for me to receive the Fiona Bradley award on behalf of 'Team Ireland' on the Ebola response'
The winners of the other awards were: Dr Gerry Gormley (Prof George Irwin Prize for best educational research project); Dr Emma Wallace (Prof James McCormick Prize for best research presentation); Dr Carol Sinnott (Prof William Shannon Prize for best trainee presentation). Dr Emma Wallace was the winner of the new AUDGPI travel bursary.
The afternoon ended on a high note with Dr Maureen Kelly's delivery of a professional discourse on 'Medical Student Selection - an international perspective'.
Our thanks are due to Roisin Corr, Pauline Nolan, Mark Tully and Neil Heron for their support in the planning and delivery of an excellent meeting - and we look forward to next year's meeting of the AUDGPI in UCD.
A respectable contingent from Belfast decamped to the University of Limerick Graduate Medical School for this year's INMED meeting. Building on 2014's successful meeting, hosted at Queen's, there were a number of activities showcasing QUB work. Helen Reid, working with Gerry Gormley, Jenny Johnston, Mairead Corrigan and Prof Peter Cantillon of NUI Galway, ran a major workshop entitled "OSCEs unplugged". This drew together participants from different backgrounds to deconstruct OSCEs and consider the future of this ubiquitous form of assessment. Contributions were also made by Kathy Cullen and Grainne Kearney regarding their Masters in Medical Education projects. Enjoyable keynote presentations were given by Jonathan Silverman from Cambridge and Tara Fenwick from Stirling, on teaching communication and complexity respectively. Overall, good progress was made in developing research links between the various institutions with INMED involvement. We look forward to next year's meeting in Dublin.
"OSCE's Unplugged" INMED Workshop, Limerick 2015
Our site is currently being renovated - keep checking back!
For the most up to date information on our department activity see the departmental report:
Our first departmental selfie!!
From Left: Clare Thomson, Kieran McGlade, Helen Reid, Gerry Gormley, Margaret Cupples, Drew Gilliland and Christine Rea
Congratulations to Dr Neil Heron (far left of picture) who with Dr Suzy McQuillan received an Investec Travel Bursaries from Dr John O'Kelly RCGPNI Chair at the RCGP Awards evening at Galgorm Manor in May 2014. Mr David McDonnell represented Investec Wealth and Management.