Doctor speaking with patient in hospital

Why is it important? 

MEdIC's research in this area focuses on the professional identity and practice of both medical students and medical educators. Development of strong professional identities has been shown to be central to supporting students in the transition to becoming doctors who practice in ethical and professional ways. However, developing a professional identity can be challenging and cause tensions for both students and educators, particularly for those from underrepresented groups. MEdIC's work looks at ways to further understand the complex processes of professional identity development in order to better support medical students and medical educators, minimising these tensions and challenges as appropriate.  

Innovation and research  

MEdIC's work considers how both identity development and professional practice might best be supported using a range of innovative methods including medical humanities and longitudinal clerkships. We are carrying out innovative work (in collaboration with Hull & York Medical School and the University of Melbourne Medical School), into how professional identity development might be explicitly covered in the early years curriculum in order to influence students as they progress through medical school and on their future careers as doctors. Much of our work in this theme is with international partners and enables us to consider cross cultural differences in identity development and professional practice. 

In collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London, MEdIC has introduced medical humanities into the undergraduate medical curriculum and are currently undertaking research to explore the professional impact of this interdisciplinary and innovative humanities teaching. We have held creative workshops for faculty and community GP tutors to further demonstrate how the medical humanities lens can help doctors to explore issues such as clinical uncertainty, medical error, professional identity and reflective practice, all of which are essential for patient care and personal wellbeing.

MEdIC has also undertaken research exploring the influence of the norms and values within a medical school on students’ perceptions of general practice as a future career in order to understand and address the recruitment shortage in this area. In Summer 2020 MEdIC has been proud to launch a first of its kind Global creative competition, bringing together the community of medical students across the globe, exploring the impact of COVID-19 on them personally and professionally through the arts and humanities. We had nearly 650 entries from 52 countries. Finalists were presented with their prizes at a prize giving ceremony in October 2020. We are exploring research projects on the global impact of the pandemic on medical students.

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


  • Exploring the impact of students’ personal and professional belief systems on health and illness behaviours and beliefs in collaboration with Professor Jane Ogden, Professor in Health Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey
  • Cross cultural perceptions of unprofessional behaviour at medical school through a Q sort analysis - Collaboration with Dr Maham Stanyon, Professor Koji Otani and Professor Yayoi Kameoka, Centre for Medical Education and Career Development, Fukushima Medical University, Japan.
  • Exploration of early years medical students’ professional identify development – collaboration with Hull & York Medical School and the University of Melbourne Medical School
  • Exploring the impact of medical student volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ professional identity, development and learning
  • "Is the current system of fitness to practise fit for purpose? Exploring the relationship between ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status and disability"
  • Evaluation of MEdIC Masterclasses
  • Inclusion of MDT working in undergraduate healthcare curricular: similarities and differences between professions.


A UK Medical Education Masterclass Series: a tool to improve access and opportunities for careers in medical education                              Victoria Collin, Zaid Alsafi, Nicholas Sylvan, Megan Brown, Ravi Parekh, Sonia Kumar                                                                                          ASME July 2022

Supporting epistemological bridge building in the wake of Covid-19: An international study of medical student pandemic professional identity development                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Laura Beaton, Megan Brown, Jo Horsburgh, Chance Pistoll, Sonia Kumar, Viral Thakerar, Claire Mahoney Jun Hua Lim                                        AMEE August 2021

Conversations not consultations: Medical Student service-learning during a COVID volunteering programme                                                       Ravi Parekh, Samantha Coster, Sonia Kumar, Zoe Moula                                                                                                                                          AMEE August 2021

Community Action Projects: A journey to designing effective community engaged quality improvement                                                                  Sonia Kumar, Sam Coster, Nina Dutta, Molly Fyfe, Roya Hassanzadeh, Dominique Forrest                                                                                    AMEE August 2021

An international study of medical student pandemic professional identity development                                                                                Megan Brown, Jo Horsburgh, Sonia Kumar, Viral Thakerar, Chance Pistoll, Caroline Johnson, Jun Hua Lim                                                                  Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME), Annual Scientific Meeting, July 2021

A qualitative study of an approach to change management in medical education
Kumar, S., Maini, A., and Horsburgh, J.
Developing Excellence in Medical Education conference (DEMEC) December 2019

The Hidden Curriculum: An Ethnographic Exploration of Students' Perceptions of General Practice
Chan, S.C.C., Mediratta, S., Smith, R., Yuan, J., Gajria, C., Gunning, E., Singh, S., Jones, M., Parekh, R., Kumar, S. & Park, S. 
Society of Academic Primary Care (SAPC), Regional Madingley conference, January 2019  

The Art of Medicine - using humanities to move from knowledge to wisdom
Winning, J. and Thacker, N.
Society of Academic Primary Care (SAPC), Regional Madingley conference, January 2019  

The impact of Covid-19 on professional identity formation: an international qualitative study of medical students’ refective entries in a Global Creative Competition                                                                                                                                                                                      Moula, Z., Horsburgh, J., Scott, K., Rozier-Hope, T., Kumar, S.                                                                                                                                          BMC Medical Education

How creative enquiry can help educators develop learners' person-centredness                                                                                                Brown, M.E.L., Younie, L.                                                                                                                                                                                            Medical Education

Public health for paediatricians: 15-minute guide to identify and address food insecurity                                            Prendergast M, Kanella I, Milton-Jones H, et al                                                                                                                                                      Archives of Disease in Childhood - Education and Practice Published Online First: 07 February 2022. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2021-322023

I and thou: Challenging the barriers to adopting a relational approach to medical education                                                                         Brown, MEL, Horsburgh, J. Med Educ. 2022; 56( 1): 14- 16. doi:10.1111/medu.14691

Medical applicant general practice experience and career aspirations: a questionnaire study                                                                        Priyesh Agravat, Tafsir Ahmed, Esme Goudie, Shahraz Islam, Douglas GJ McKechnie, Haji Mohamed Abdirahman, Mahnoor Ahmed, Amer Al-Balah, Ayesha Alam, Fahima Amin, Sara Beqiri, Smruthy Chakka, Katy Chisenga, Roshni Goodka, Nida Hafiz, Ankita Kotamarthi, Ayobami Emmanuel Olatunji, Molly V Fyfe, Nina Dutta, Ian Chris McManus, David Harrison and Katherine Woolf BJGPOpen 2021; 5 (3): BJGPO.2021.0023. doi: 10.3399/BJGPO.2021.0023

Management and patient safety of complex elderly patients in primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK—Qualitative assessment                                                                                                                                                                                                           Alboksmaty A, Kumar S, Parekh R, Aylin P                                                                                                                                                                    PLoS ONE 16(3): e0248387.

‘Capable of being in uncertainties’: applied medical humanities in undergraduate medical education                                                        Thacker, N., Wallis, J., and Winning, J.                                                                                                                                                                              BMJ Journals, Medical Humanities, doi: 10.1136/medhum-2020-012127

Medical students experience of the hidden curriculum around primary care careers: a qualitative exploration of reflective diaries          Parekh, R., Jones, M.M., Singh, S., Yuan, J.S.J., Chan, S.C.C., Mediratta, S., Smith, R., Gunning, E., Gajria, C., Kumar, S., Park, S.                              BMJ Open, doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-049825