April 30, 2021, by School of Medicine
50 at 50: The Dean’s Symposium: Transformative inclusion: The future of healthcare
Celebrations of 50 years of Medicine and 30 years of Nursing at Nottingham are in full swing. The Dean’s Symposium on Transformative Inclusion was held on the 28 April and it was a fitting part of these events. The programme included three speakers talking about three very different but thought–provoking subjects.
The virtual event began with a warm welcome from Professor Brigitte Scammell, Dean of Medicine and Head of School to set the scene for the event, the aim of the symposium was very much to work towards ‘transformation’ and ‘being more inclusive in what we do’. Brigitte acknowledged that even though she has felt very fortunate through her life there have been challenges faced through her successful career. She shared some of very intrusive questions she faced during interviews throughout her medical career and talked about systemic inequalities faced as a female surgeon.
A Medical Student’s Journey with Mental Illness – the lessons learnt and the barriers to address
The first guest speaker was Usama Ali, a Medical Student at Imperial College in his final year. Usama’s talk was truly inspirational and shared his lived experience about mental illness and his passion for supporting students who may be struggling with their mental health.
Usama’s story started in 2013 when he was taking his A levels and went through to present day, sharing his journey and experiences with mental illness as a medical student. He highlighted both the good aspects of care received as well as potential areas for improvement. Usama’s story ends on an upbeat note as he shared his academic achievements with us along announcing that he recently passed his finals.
His ultimate aim with the talk was to help anyone listening to his story and suffering from mental illness to hopefully feel a little less alone. Judging by the comments received following the talk, Usama’s talk was an incredibly powerful success.
The audience for the symposium had this to say about Usama’s speech.
- Utterly, humbled by you.
- We heard you Usama – thank you for being so brave to share
- Totally emotional. Thankyou for sharing your experience.
- Incredible story and journey. A HUGE congratulations.
- I think it is very important to tell the negative about mental health, people need to understand how bad it can be. Thank you for sharing some very deeply personal experiences.
- We appreciate your openness and honesty in conveying your story.
We cannot thank Usama enough for sharing his experiences with us.
The Three-Year Waiting List – mental health issues Trans people face and the current problems with the Trans healthcare system
The second speaker welcomed to take the centre stage was Nat Thorne, who is currently a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. Nat was an LGBTQ+ journalist for 16 years before coming to the University of Nottingham to study for a Masters in Psychological Research Methods. More recently Nat has moved onto a PhD exploring gender diverse identities and mental health symptomatology. Their research is based in the Medical School but they have also collaborated with the Nottingham Gender Identity Clinic on several projects. They also volunteer for local transgender charity Notts Trans Hub and have carried out consultancy work on transgender issues with the Royal College of Physicians, Nottinghamshire University Hospitals Trust, and Age UK.
The talk started with a quick round-up of language relating to Trans people to help understand the rest of the presentation. It covered some background of treatment paths in the UK and some of the current issues such as waiting times, gatekeeping and attacks to the system. Finally to close Nat outlined some possible paths to improving the service and treatment of Trans people in general.
Nat’s thought provoking talk was well received by the audience, and stressed how importance it is to learn how to talk to Trans people during medical training.
Some of the comments on Nat’s talk were:
- Thank you very much, I found this very helpful! Very insightful
- Great presentation. Thank you.
- Human beings are complex. Not just inclusion but treating others as one would like to be treated is fundamental for progress.
Are you ready to talk about…
The third and final talk was provided by a Stacy Johnson MBE, Associate professor in the School of Health Sciences. Stacy is an adviser and speaker on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and leadership in the health and social care sectors.
Stacy’s talk started with her arriving in the UK in 1991 at the age of 19 from her home country of Trinidad and Tobago to study Nursing. Throughout her talk Stacy referenced her favourite Calypso singer’s, David Rudder, words while reflecting on various deaths of unarmed black citizens across the world up to the present day.
Stacy stated that she is optimistic and has hope about starting to address these issues and that we need to talk, and have these kinds of difficult conversations. Stacey asked the delegates are you ready to have big conversations about EDI that position us for the next 50 years? Conversations need to be everywhere and with everyone. Difficult, critical and safe conversations.
Stacey then led a panel discussion with Brigitte Scammel, Usama Ali and Nat Thorne answering questions provided by the audience.
A few of the comments following Stacey’s talk;
- AMAZING! Thank you for such an inspirational talk Stacy.
- Such a fantastic, dynamic speaker.
- Thank was amazing, so motivational and inspiring.
Many thanks to the speakers involved for giving their time so generously and for being so engaged, and also to the delegates for making the Q&A sessions so interesting and motivating.
The conference was organised behind the scenes by Julie Hall and Richard Kish.
The full list of contributors and titles can be found at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/go/deansymposiummedicine
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