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. 

MEdIC believes that all students feel that they belong within their learning environment and are able to be their authentic selves. There is however ongoing discrimination of under-represented students contributing to an attainment gap that emerges through medical education. MEdIC is undertaking a number of projects in this area. MEdIC has brought together leading medical education academics to form a National Diversity and Inclusion in Primary Care Education Working Group with the aim of strengthening approaches to diversity and inclusion within primary care education. The team is also conducting research to better understand how we can create safe learning environments that protect and promote a sense of ‘authenticity’ in medical students of BAME background.

If you’re interested in discussing a project or collaboration on this theme please contact Dr Nina Dutta



Current active projects

  • WATCCH (Widening Access to Community Careers in Healthcare): This supports Year 12 – 13 pupils from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are interested in healthcare careers by providing primary care-based work experience, workshops and student mentoring. MEdIC is surveying career destinations of participants, exploring impact on student mentors and researching WATCCH impacts on barriers students from WP backgrounds face in accessing healthcare careers.
  • Community Action Project: Year 3 students on primary care placements work with diverse  communities to design and deliver interventions addressing local health needs. MEdIC is researching projects’ impact on students and community.
  • Deconstructing BAME: Protecting, embracing and promoting authenticity in medical students at ICL: This study will explore the BAME medical students’ experience of being their authentic self in a higher education environment and what learning and teaching strategies can help to enable this.
  • Imperial at One Exploring Belonging: Imperial as One have conducted a series of interviews with academics and professionals of BAME background to explore in depth their experiences of belonging within their communities. These are currently being analysed by MEdIC and Imperial as One.
  • UK Medical Applicant Cohort Study – MEdIC has partnered with  Dr Katherine Woolf at UCL to explore the impact of ethnicity and social capital on accessing work experience and other admissions experiences.
  • Do’s Don’t Don’t Know – Perspectives in Medical Education: MEdIC is co-authoring (with international colleagues) a  commissioned paper for the Perspectives in Medical Education Journal on addressing differential attainment in medical schools.
  • MEdIC National Working Group - Diversity in Undergraduate Primary Care: MEdIC is bringing medical schools together to strengthen diversity and inclusion within undergraduate primary care.
  • Community Collaboration: Our community collaborations lead, Bethany Golding, involves students in her work with stakeholders (e.g. Healthy W12'; Mosaic LGBT Youth; National Health Inequalities Coalition, NW London CCGs, Trust, local communities) on diversity and inclusion projects related to addressing health inequity, widening participation and promoting inclusion.  One such project is "Community Voices", which focuses on community and frontline NHS staff experiences (particularly for "BAME" groups) with a view to promoting change and inclusion.
  • ‘Promoting Health Equity’ placement for selected year 3 and 5 students who are placed in healthcare and community settings focusing on marginalised groups, e.g. people who are homeless, refugees, asylum seekers or ex-offenders, and undertake project work relating to promoting health equity in these groups, protected groups and communities in socio-economically deprived areas.
  • I-explore Social Accountability in Action: Cohorts of Year 2 Faculty of Medicine students will provide extracurricular STEMM sessions for diverse school pupils in socially-deprived areas, learning inclusive teaching/communication skills and reflecting on social accountability and role of power and privilege.
  • Community Action Project- Research using activity theory to explore how students learn during the community action project. Research also being done on the community impact of student community action projects partnering with the BME Health Forum and Local Community Groups.

Selected publications

Promoting cultural diversity and inclusion in undergraduate primary care education
Dutta, N., Maini, A., Afolabi, F., Forrest, D., Golding, B., Korede Salami, R. & Kumar, S.
Education for Primary Care 2021 Mar;32 doi: 10.1080/14739879.2021.1900749

A future in general practice? Medical applicant GP experience and career aspirations: a questionnaire study

McKechnie, D.G.J., Olatunji, A.E., Fyfe, M.V., Dutta, N., Woolf, K., et al
British Journal of General Practice Open, 2021 Mar. doi:10.3399/BJGPO.2021.0023

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 

Selected presentations

The WATCCH programme: a multiprofessional approach to widening access to careers in healthcare
Dutta N., Chandauka R., Maini A., Kumar S.
AMEE 2020

Building socially accountable leadership: community needs and asset-based analysis (NABA) approach to undergraduate medical curricular change
Golding, B., Maini, A., Dutta, N., Kaur, M., Kumar, S.
Towards Unity for Health Conference 2020

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