Medical students working in groups

Why is it important? 

Medical schools have a critical role in training doctors who understand the impact of societal inequity and who become advocates for the communities in which they work. MEdIC is committed to developing socially accountable medical education. Our work spans the student curriculum, widening access to healthcare careers for under-represented groups and creating an inclusive educational environment for all students and staff. 

Innovation and research 

MEdIC has developed a Community Action Project for our Year 3 medical students on primary care placements to work in collaboration with the local community to design and deliver a targeted intervention to address a local health need. These projects synergistically address community health needs and provide educational benefit for medical students. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MEdIC worked to generate a digital version of this project, whereby medical students work remotely in partnership with local community organisations to identify and address key community health needs. Examples of students’ outputs include: creating accessible caption videos in multiple languages with the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Health Forum and collaborating with the Queen’s Park Rangers Community Trust to create support packages for local residents. More details can be found here 

MEdIC supports several areas of research and innovation aimed at widening access to healthcare. This includes an innovative programme in which medical students work with a local primary school to deliver health and science education to primary school pupils. Evaluation has shown the programme to raise aspirations of school pupils as well as providing medical students with an opportunity to increase their understanding of the diverse community in which they are studying. This has led to the integration of collaborative school projects in a number of our courses, including the Longitudinal Community Clerkship, a new course for Year 5 students and a new cross disciplinary course between the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Natural Sciences for Year 2 medical students.  

MEdIC also leads the WATCCH (Widening Access to Community Careers in Healthcare) programme, which supports local school students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds to access healthcare careers via work experience, education workshops and mentoring.  Research in this area focuses on how such programmes address barriers faced by students from widening participation backgrounds in accessing healthcare careers. 


Current active projects

  • Exploring the impact of the community action project on students and communities – partnering with the BME Health Forum and local community groups
  • Follow up of our WATCCH student to track final higher education destinations  
  • Understanding the role medical students have supporting the WATCCH students and the impact on their own development
  • Exploring the barriers faced by widening participation students in choosing a career in community healthcare
  • Exploring the impact of student social capital on work experience opportunities – partnering with Dr Katherine Woolf, Associate Professor in Medical Education, UCL Medical School and UKMACS

Selected publications

Structural racism in society and the covid-19 “stress test”
Douglass C, Fyfe M, Lokugamage A. 
The BMJ Opinion 2020 Jun 8.

Widening participation: moving from diversity to inclusion
, MV., Kumar, S., Maini, A., Horsburgh, J., Golding, B
British Medical Journal 2020 Mar 12;368:m966. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m966. 

A reflection on Imperial College London’s Community Action Project
Houbby, N., Abdelwahed, A. and Kumar, S.
Education for Primary Care 2020 pp.1-2 Mar 26:1-2 10.1080/14739879.2020.1744191 

Developing socially accountable UK medical schools
Maini, A., Neusy, A.J., Pálsdóttir, B. and Kumar, S.
Clinical Teacher 2019 Aug 26. doi: 10.1111/tct.13063. 

City Health Conference: Improving Access to Primary Care Among the Homeless Population of Southall
Raines, A. and O’Connor, T

British Journal of General Practice, 2019 Aug;69(685):394. doi: 10.3399/bjgp19X704993.

Selected presentations

Cultivating an environment of social accountability: academic primary care for the future
Visani, B., Douglass, C.
Society of Academic Primary Care conference 2019

A Community Collaboration: Dalgarno Trust & Department of Primary Care, Imperial College Goodger, A., Maini, A., Douglass, C., Visani, B.  
The Kings Fund, Community is the Best Medicine 2019  

Community action projects in medical education
Dutta, N., Abdelwahed, A., Houbby, N., O’Connor, T., Raines, A., Douglass, C., Kumar, S. 
The Kings Fund, Community is the Best Medicine 2019   

Community action project – Youth Champions
Raynaud, I., Ruparell, K., Dutta, N., Maini, A. 
Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), Child Health Promise 2019  

Widening Access to Careers in Primary Care: Findings from the WATCCH Programme
Dutta, N., Chandauka, R., Maini, A., Kumar, S.
Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Annual Conference 2019   

Improving Access to Primary Care amongst the Homeless Population of Southall
Raines, A., O’ Connor, T. 
British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) Conference 2019   

Social Accountability at Imperial College London School of Medicine – Exploring intra and extra curricula activities
Mollaney, J., Fyfe, M., Douglass, C., McKeown, A., Kumar S. 
Developing Excellence in Medical Education Conference: DEMEC 2019  

The Community Action Project: Medical students leading health improvement projects via societal engagement
Parekh, R., Kumar, S.
Global Community Engaged Medical Education Muster Conference 2018