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This month's Tea Time chat......

By Tracey Collett

Thank you to everyone for a lovely tea time chat it was great to see you. It was really great to hear a little bit about psychology in Swansea and psychology and also widening participation from Edgehill as well as psychology from Bournemouth. Always interesting to hear about GP placements in Dundee and also, how great to hear from Jan Hanson from Washington University Missouri about the development of the new medical curriculum there and how Jan is including the SBS into the phases of the new medical degree.

The hour flew by but here is a brief summary of our discussion:

  • Reference back to last month’s teatime chat: the different uses of the biopsychosocial model – as a heuristic to help people understand / map out the scope of medicine in its broader context? Or as a causal model to ‘prove’ that there are discernible links between one’s social / psychological context and one’s physical state?

  • Psychology and sociology – are they compatible and how?

  • The issues of the valuing of knowledge types over others – the dominance of the positivist paradigm in medicine and medical education. The problem of getting important things published in medical education when there is an overemphasis on one type of understanding.

  • How a key part of the SBS educator’s role involves challenging the assumptions of others, the challenges that this poses to the educator and how support would be valued. Some practical suggestions were given – for example explaining to medical students that whole departments in Universities and a large proportion of academia specialise(s) in these things but even a basic knowledge is good.

  • The value of having a foundation year – of having introductory courses on perspectives related to medicine – so that students have a grounding in the philosophy of science, prior to embarking on a medicine course (with integrated social and behavioural sciences).

  • Social determinants of health or social context – what does everyone think?

  • The advantages and disadvantages of mixing small groups to ensure that they are diverse. (Advantages – broadens range of perspectives in group and supports students who are interesting in expanding their views, disadvantages potentially stereotyping individuals in the group who are in a minority).

  • Evaluating interventions in medical education- how do you prove they work? Leading to a discussion of hierarchies of evidence – the NSS, preparedness for practice and marketization

Readings mentioned

· General Medical Council Outcomes for Graduates

· McIntosh, Peggy . 1989. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

· Lancet – the Inside Game

Tea drinkers: Tracey Collett (Plymouth), Peter Leadbetter and Emma Pearson (Edgehill), Alice Hoon (Swansea), Kevin McConville (Dundee), Janice Hanson (Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis Missouri)

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