International Women’s Day Cake and Coffee Morning

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GP Tutor Meeting, 28 September 2011

Professor Tom O’Dowd and Prof Maurice Savage

Dr Jim McMullan, Tynan Surgery

This year was the biggest meeting ever - with over 130 GP tutors attending. Very positive comments have been received about the meeting and what the Department of General Practice is doing at both Queen’s and the Centre for Medical Education.

Year on year this meeting has grown in its importance and on the back of yesterday’s meeting new GPs have already come forward who would like to get involved in undergraduate education.

The keynote speaker was Professor Tom O’Dowd, Professor of General Practice, Trinity College Dublin who gave a very thought provoking presentation on ‘Why do GPs like teaching?’.

Two GPs presented on their experiences of being a tutor.  Dr Tinekea Fearon, Willowbank Surgery, Keady, Co Armagh spoke in person and Dr Jim McMullan, Tynan Surgery, Co Armagh provided the audience with a video recording of his experiences.

Dr Margaret Cupples gave an overview of the work of the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network and Dr Nigel Hart provided a look at the future of Education in General Practice.

The Department of General Practice and GP tutors acknowledged the contributions that both Prof Savage (previous Director of CME) and Dr Ronnie Baird (GP tutor) have given to medical student undergraduate education at QUB and wished them the very best for their retirement.

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Teacher of the Year Award
Dr David Bell
Dr David Bell
Congratulations to David Bell who has won the Teacher of the Year award and received it at the Biomedical Sciences graduation. This award is voted on by students and therefore will be especially gratifying for David.

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Student of the Year 2011
Therese White
Therese White

Therese White, from Mayobridge Co. Down, a medical student who has made an outstanding contribution to the Students Working Overseas Trust (SWOT), and was the only student from the UK and Ireland selected for a medical placement with NASA, is this year’s Student of the Year.

Despite having to deal with Cystic Fibrosis, Therese, as President of SWOT, has been the driving force behind raising £30,000 and was one of the main organisers of the charity’s fashion show.

In addition to her charity work, Therese was selected as one of only two worldwide students to attend a four-week aerospace medical placement with NASA at the Kennedy Space centre in Florida. Only one student from the USA and one student from Europe are selected to attend annually.

The Awards aim to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen’s alumni and students, either to the University or to the wider community. The student winner receives a trophy and £500 and the graduate winner also receives a trophy.

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Congratulations to Claire Wilson

Claire Wilson (far right)
Congratulations to Claire Wilson who graduated with a 2.1 BA(Hons) in Management and Business Studies from Queen’s University Management School on Tuesday 5th July. She achieved this while working full time for the Centre for Medical Education.

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Teaching Awards 2011 – Excellence in Teaching by a Team Category

Mrs Margaret Stirling and Dr Gerry Gormley (left) and Mrs Marie Brooks and Dr Gerry Gormley (right)

This award was presented to Dr Gerry Gormley, Mrs Marie Brooks, Mrs Margaret Stirling, Mrs Carolanne Smith, Dr Drew Gilliland, Mrs Clare Thomson and Dr Kieran McGlade.

The award was given for the development and delivery of new integrated Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) which are fair, reliable and innovative and which enhance student development. By using various feedback processes, engaging students and integrating pedagogical evidence, the team delivered quality, learner-centric OSCEs which have been recognised as best practice in the UK and Ireland.

Dr Gerry Gormley, Mrs Marie Brooks and Mrs Margaret Stirling were presented with the award at Graduation on Monday 4th July.

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Queen's NASA student touches down after Endeavour mission

Therese White won a place as the only UK student on an internship with NASA at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida

A Queen's medical student has returned home from the United States after assisting with preparations for the final ever mission by the Endeavour Space Shuttle.

Therese White, who is in her fourth year of Medicine at Queen's, won a place as the only UK student on an internship at the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) in Florida. The placement, through the Aerospace Medicine and Occupational Health Branch of the KSC, provides a unique opportunity to learn about the field of Aerospace Medicine at an operational space centre.

The internship coincided with the preparation of the launch of the final mission by the Endeavour Space Shuttle which returned to earth yesterday. Therese and the team assisted with the medical preparation in the lead up to the launch as well as getting an insight into the emergency contingency plans for any disaster which might occur.

Speaking on her return Therese White said: "I am honoured to have been selected as the only student in the UK and the first in Ireland to take part in the medical elective programme with NASA. I was given a wonderful insight into the field of research, particularly with regards to extreme condition microgravity. I have a keen interest in becoming involved with medical education and I hope to use my experience with NASA to create a stimulating and productive learning environment for future medical students.

"To be involved in the preparation of the last ever mission of the Endeavour Space Shuttle is an experience which could not be replicated. I have been offered the opportunity to go back over and be involved in research programmes with sponsorship, which I hope to do next year or after graduating."

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Fourth Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators

The Fourth Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED) was held in Trinity College Dublin during 18-20 May.

Six medical students attended this conference: Liam Convie, Julia Sun, Andrew McNiece, Ariij Booley, Darren McCusker and James Gilroy (pictured opposite from left to right).

All six students were accepted to give oral presentations around the theme of Flexner 100 years on - a return to core principles. Their presentations, delivered in a professional manner, all generated a lot of positive discussion. Many congratulations.

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The Higher Education Academy - Teaching Development Grants

The Higher Education Academy is offering bid-based development grant funding to stimulate evidence-based research and encourage innovations in learning and teaching that have the potential for sector-wide impact. Over the next year there will be a total of £1.5 million of funding available for individual grants, departmental grants and collaborative grants.

Bidding for phase one is now open and the closing date for phase one bids is 15 June 2011.

The themes for this call are: internationalisation and employability.

Please refer to the Higher Education Academy website for full details:

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Queen’s leads new partnership to deliver world-class medical education

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has been nominated a Queen’s University Hospitals Campus in recognition of its contribution to delivery of a world-class training system for Northern Ireland’s future doctors.

And seven hospitals – Altnagelvin, Antrim, Causeway, Craigavon, Daisy Hill, Erne and Ulster – are to be awarded Queen’s University Teaching Hospital status, in recognition of their major contribution to medical education.
The new arrangements, to be announced at Queen’s later today, include the launch of educational sub-deaneries in each Trust to co-ordinate and implement the delivery of the undergraduate clinical educational programme within the Trusts.  
The sub-deaneries, and their close partnership with Queen’s Medical School, will ensure that the NHS is able to engage fully in undergraduate medical education.
The initiatives – part of a major new partnership between the University, Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, and local Health Trusts – will ensure an integrated approach to medical education across Northern Ireland.
Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Today’s announcement re-affirms the position of Queen's Medical School as a leading provider of medical education in the UK and Ireland.
“These developments provide an integrated framework which enables clinical academics and health service clinicians to work in partnership to deliver the highest standards of medical education. They also specifically recognise the role of Northern Ireland’s acute hospitals, which perform a critical role in delivering high-quality clinical placements for our students.”   
Professor Patrick Johnston, Dean of the University’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, said: “The Medical School at Queen’s is driven by a commitment to enhance and improve the quality of life and health care provision for patients across Northern Ireland.

“The designation of Queen’s Teaching Hospitals and the development of educational sub-deaneries within the NHS Trusts reflects this commitment, by creating a world-class educational structure and training system for our future doctors.”

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Queen’s young medics back in primary school!
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride is ‘checked out’ by Megan McNulty, a P7 pupil at Lisnasharragh Primary School, at the Medics in Primary Schools launch
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride is ‘checked out’ by Megan McNulty, a P7 pupil at Lisnasharragh Primary School, at the Medics in Primary Schools launch

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride has launched the 2011 Medics in Primary Schools programme at Queen’s. The joint initiative, run by Queen’s and Sentinus and supported by the Education and Library Boards, offers undergraduate medical students the opportunity to spend time in primary schools, giving pupils a better understanding of their own health.

Dr McBride said: “This programme is extremely important. Not only does it give medical students the opportunity to enhance their communication skills, it also makes a real difference to the lives of children by teaching them how to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”

Dr McBride praised the aims of the initiative, which includes encouraging children to take up STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) that help provide the basis for future health-related study and jobs. He said: “It is important that we look forward to the doctors, nurses, dentists, scientists and other professionals who will be needed in our health service in the years to come.”

Professor Patrick Johnston, Dean of the University’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, said: “We are delighted to once again collaborate with Sentinus on delivering this programme.

“Medics in Primary Schools is a unique initiative, which is expanding year on year. It not only introduces schoolchildren to the benefits of healthy living and encourages them to think about a career in health or life sciences, but it also helps our medical students to gain valuable communications skills.”

Bill Connor, Sentinus Projects Director, said: “As Northern Ireland’s leading promoter of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects in schools, Sentinus aims to provide educational experiences that will engage the younger generation and enrich their future career decisions.

“The Medics in Primary Schools programme helps to raise awareness of health and lifestyle issues in school children through interactive learning that departs from the standard classroom routine – it’s by making learning exciting that we will help younger students discover firsthand the benefits of pursing study in STEM. During the programme the medical students act as positive role models who can help shape primary children’s decisions regarding their future career while also developing their own communication skills.”

Since its inception in 2000 almost 450 medical students have taken part in the initiative. More than 10,000 pupils have benefited. This year, 70 second-year medical students will be in 47 primary schools in the Greater Belfast area. The young medics will guide the participating school children through a health education programme including Healthy Body, Healthy Heart and Lungs, Healthy Skin and Healthy Brain.

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Medical Education - New location
Stained glass window in the new entrance to the Whitla Medical Building
Stained glass window in the new entrance to the Whitla Medical Building

Medical Education on the Health Sciences campus has now moved from University Road to the Whitla Medical Building, 97 Lisburn Road. 

The reception is located on the ground floor and the new telephone number for CME Reception is 028 9097 2450.

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Queen’s awarded for breaking down communication barriers
(L-R) Jim Edwards, Signature Chief Executive; Brian Symington, Director of RNID NI; Jayne Woodside, Queen's and Bobby Bailey, Sign Language Tutor, RNID
(L-R) Jim Edwards, Signature Chief Executive; Brian Symington, Director of RNID NI; Jayne Woodside, Queen's and Bobby Bailey, Sign Language Tutor, RNID

Queen's and RNID Northern Ireland have won a national award for their work in ensuring future doctors are better equipped to communicate with deaf patients.

Queen's School of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences received the Organisational Achievement accolade at the annual Signature Awards for its Specialist Module on Deafness. The awards, hosted by leading deaf charity Signature, recognise those who have made a significant contribution towards achieving a society in which deaf and deafblind people have full access to society.

Second year medical students at Queen's are offered the specialist module which is delivered by the RNID in British Sign Language (BSL). It ensures that future doctors are better equipped to communicate with deaf patients, and includes information on deaf awareness, deaf culture and healthcare issues for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Students also work to develop a health-related video British Sign Language Directory.

Speaking at the awards, Signature Chief Executive Jim Edwards said: “Queen’s University Belfast has shown great commitment to helping the deaf community overcome communication barriers, and great credit should go to the team. These vital skills will ensure a legacy of inclusiveness for deaf patients in Northern Ireland. They thoroughly deserve the recognition this accolade brings and should be very proud.”

Following the success of the module, both Queen’s and the RNID now intend to make the module available to all healthcare-related undergraduates at the University, through the development of a website funded by the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Jayne Woodside, who runs the specialist module and is developing the new website, said; "This course is an important opportunity for medical students to develop deaf awareness and communication skills, and we are very keen to both maintain and develop these links with RNID. Following its success, in the future, we are planning to make our new website available to undergraduates in all healthcare disciplines."

Director of RNID NI, Brian Symington added: "We are campaigning for improved access to healthcare for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Having doctors who are able to communicate effectively with their deaf and hard of hearing patients is a major step forward in making healthcare services in Northern Ireland accessible. The success of this course is due to the excellent partnership working between Queen's, RNID and Signature."

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Red Cross Provides First Aid Training for Medical Students

Queen’s University, in collaboration with the British Red Cross, has become the first medical school in the UK to provide compulsory first aid training, resulting in the award of a First Aid certificate, to over 320 first year medical and dental students. Red Cross trainers deliver a seven hour, Basic First Aid course in two sessions, which covers a wide range of essential, life-saving skills.

The move follows a successful three-year pilot, which saw the British Red Cross provide an optional training module to the school’s third year students. Feedback from this pilot revealed that the acquisition of first aid skills was rated highly by participating students.

Course Director, Dr Nigel Hart, explains why the medical school was so keen to ensure that all students received first aid training during their first semester; “We have been eager to include a compulsory first aid module for students for a number of reasons. We have seen how the training gives students greater confidence in dealing with unexpected situations, even at an early stage in their medical and dental careers. In addition, the provision of first aid training to medical students was a key recommendation of the GMC’s ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’ report of 2009, and this is our response to that recommendation.”

Medical student, Mary Elizabeth Finnan, who has just finished the training said: “I found the first aid training very beneficial as a first year medical student. After completing the course I feel confident to react in emergency situations, which is essential as I am studying medicine. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found the first aid trainers extremely helpful.”

Paula Powell, the Red Cross’ Project Manager for community based first aid, said: “We’re delighted to be working so closely with Queen’s Medical School. Of course we believe that first aid is a skill that everyone should learn. You don’t have to be a medical professional to provide appropriate help in an emergency and we’d encourage ordinary members of the public to either enrol for one of our courses, or at the very least, to go to the Red Cross website and read up on some basic common-sense advice that could make all the difference in a crisis.”

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Advice for staff and students: suspected cases of Meningococcal Meningitis

The University and the Public Health Agency (PHA) were informed at the weekend of a case of meningococcal meningitis in a Queen’s University student. Since then a second suspected case of the disease has been reported. The Senior Medical Officer of the University has been working closely with the PHA since the weekend to ensure the effective implementation of necessary actions.

All appropriate Public Health and University measures have been taken and preventative antibiotics have been organised for contacts. Both students are in first year Dentistry and steps have been taken to offer antibiotics to all students in first year Dentistry and first year Medicine who share lectures, as a precautionary measure.

Although not particularly common in this age group, all young people aged 16-24 years old, particularly those attending University need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.

Staff and students who may experience symptoms including severe headache, dislike of bright lights, vomiting, neck stiffness, a non-blanching rash and drowsiness should contact their GP or local A&E department immediately. Staff, students and young people should also watch out for these signs and symptoms in their friends.

The Public Health Agency and the University continue to work together to monitor the situation and will take further action if necessary.

Students should note that all classes are continuing as normal.

Further meningitis information can be found on the Health Protection website at or

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GP Tutors Meeting

This year's GP tutors meeting will be held in the Ramada Hotel, Shaws Bridge Belfast on Wednesday 29th September 2010 from 1.00pm.

The guest speaker will be Professor Ed Peile Emeritus Professor of Medical Education, University of Warwick:

Professor Ed Peile is Professor Emeritus of Medical Education, University of Warwick. As Associate Dean (Teaching) and Head of the Institute of Clinical Education at Warwick Medical School until 2008, Ed had responsibility for delivering undergraduate medical education, postgraduate education, and research on medical education. Prior to this at the University of Oxford his roles included that of Associate Advisor in the Postgraduate Deanery. He is also editor of 'Education for Primary Care'.

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Medical & Healthcare Library Temporary Relocation

The Medical & Healthcare Library will move temporarily from  the Mulhouse Building on the Royal Victoria Hospital site on Friday 9th July 2010 to allow refurbishment and essential maintenance to be carried out. The Library will re-open in the Science Library, Queen’s University Belfast at Chlorine Gardens, Belfast BT9 5EQ on Wednesday 14th July and be based there until October.  Further information on the exact date of the return to the Mulhouse Building will be given as soon as it is available.

We will do all we can to minimise inconvenience to users. Books can be renewed via My Account, by phone or left at any of the Queen’s University or Health Care Libraries. There will also be book drops at the Royal Victoria Hospital in the lobby of the Clinical Sciences B building and in the Centre for Medical Education, 2nd Floor Mulhouse Building,  Most material will be available in the Science Library but anything in store will be collected daily. All individual email contact addresses will remain the same and you can also contact us by phone on 028 90974111 or by email at

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Queen’s young medics go back to school!
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie and Sentinus Chair Jim Stewart prescribe Medics in Primary Schools for Cairnshill Primary School pupils Sarah Dawson, Lara Horner and Jack Diver
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students Professor Ellen Douglas-Cowie and Sentinus Chair Jim Stewart prescribe Medics in Primary Schools for Cairnshill Primary School pupils Sarah Dawson, Lara Horner and Jack Diver

Hundreds of primary school pupils from the greater Belfast area are set to benefit from healthy living advice, thanks to medical students from Queen's.

The 2010 Medics In Primary Schools’ scheme, which takes place over 12 weeks, is being run in partnership with Sentinus, the largest provider of science and technology programmes to schools in Northern Ireland.  As part of the initiative, primary schoolchildren study four topics including healthy skin, heart and lungs, brain and general well-being.

Professor Paddy Johnston, Dean of the University’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, said: “Medics in Primary Schools is a unique teaching programme offered by second year medical students at Queen’s. We are delighted to welcome Sentinus as our collaborators for this year’s programme.  Medics in Primary Schools offer both partners an opportunity to promote engagement in science-based subjects among P7 pupils in schools in the Greater Belfast Area. 

“During the next 12 weeks medical students will guide schoolchildren through a health education programme that will focus on the heart, lungs, skin and the brain.  The medical students will act as positive role models encouraging primary school pupils to consider a career in medicine or science. The students, in turn, will gain experience in communicating information to schoolchildren from a variety of backgrounds.”

Jim Stewart, Chairman of Sentinus, said: “Throughout the programme the primary school children gain awareness on a number of health related issues – they also get exposure to inspiring role models who can help shape decisions regarding their future career.  The Medics in Primary Schools programme grows in popularity year on year with more schools wanting to get involved. It offers fantastic learning opportunities for both the graduates and young students. ”

The programme is offered as a student selected module within the medical students’ second year course. Students have a placement one afternoon a week throughout February, March and April in a primary school, during which they deliver a short science and health education programme to P6 or P7 pupils.

The MIPS Teaching and Learning Guide can be downloaded at

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