Exonian Tabitha Thornton-Swan organises MedEd summer school for Palestinian medical students visiting Oxford
Over the summer, twenty medical students from the Arab American University of Palestine (AAUP), based in Jenin, visited Oxford to take part in MedEd, a two-week programme designed to teach clinical skills and give students the opportunity to observe Oxford University Hospitals clinicians.
The MedEd course was organised by OxPal, a medical student-run initiative led by Ayesha Musa (Green Templeton; outgoing Director) and Exeter College student Tabitha Thornton-Swan (2018, Medicine; current Director), which was launched in 2018 with the aim of delivering high quality virtual medical education to students in Palestine. OxPal was supported throughout by Dr Richard Harrington, Dr Elize Richards and Exeter College lecturer Dr Katy Boncey, whose support was instrumental to the project’s success.
The visiting students had completed three years of pre-clinical studies and were about to start their first clinical year. They were selected for the course by competitive application, organised by the Dean of AAUP, Professor Malik Zaben. The aim of the course was to support the students’ transition to clinical medicine by teaching foundational skills including basic clinical and examination skills and to inspire the students about the possibilities their future medical careers will give them.
When in Oxford, students attended seminars in communication skills and medical ethics, received clinical skills teaching at the John Radcliffe skills lab and simulation training with OxSTaR (Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research), and participated in a surgical skills course run by Green Templeton College’s Doll Fellow Mr Ali Ansaripour, facilitated by senior surgical trainees and consultants. They also shadowed doctors on wards and in theatre with the women’s health, anaesthetics, general medicine and surgical teams. The students had the opportunity to take a day trip to London, and were also hosted at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, for Friday prayers and lunch, and by the Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association.
Commenting on the summer school, Dr Richard Harrington, Associate Director of Graduate Entry Medicine, said: “I felt honoured to have played a part in facilitating the Oxford MedEd summer school for students from the new AAUP medical school in Jenin. We are privileged in Oxford to have such a wealth of educational facilities and inspirational colleagues; to be able to share these resources with future doctors from low- and middle-income nations feels only appropriate. I do hope this venture can be the start of a regular commitment. Particularly inspirational has been the leadership, commitment and sheer graft provided by the directors and team of OxPal, led by Ayesha Musa and Tabitha Thornton-Swan. Respect to them.”
Numerous Oxford clinicians and medical students gave their time to teach and to befriend the medical students during their stay, and OxPal is very grateful to everyone who helped make the summer school a success. The students gave excellent feedback from their experiences, and OxPal, together with Dr Richard Harrington and Dr Elize Richards, are hoping to run the summer school again to give as many students as possible this learning opportunity in the future.
Tabitha said about her experience, “I am so proud of what the OxPal team achieved through organising this summer school. Numerous Oxford clinicians and medical students were extremely generous with their time, helping to teach and befriend the students during their stay, and OxPal is very grateful to everyone who helped make the summer school a success. I’d also like to thank Dr Richard Harrington, Dr Katy Boncey, Dr Elize Richards and Dr Catherine Swales, without whom this project would never have gotten off the ground! The students gave excellent feedback from their experiences, and OxPal are hoping to run the summer school again to give as many students as possible this learning opportunity in the future.”
MedEd students in Oxford