Year 12 Medical Sciences Career Webinar

For a number of years, we have been running a session of lectures for Year 12 students from Ealing who are considering applying for a medical sciences course.

Organisation for this should have started last December or January but, perhaps not atypically, I was a bit slow to get things moving. When it got to February, we started to put a few feelers out and then came March, the pandemic and lockdown. For about 6 weeks it was just unthinkable to be asking medics and dentists to give up their time, but by the beginning of May we were able to start thinking about what we might do.

We decided that a webinar would enable the conference to go ahead without any concerns over social distancing. This enabled us to open the meeting up to the GDST as well as local Ealing schools. We were really privileged that 6 speakers have gave up their time to pre-record their presentations and be present for live questions and answers on 2nd July. About 140 students registered to participate, from local schools including The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, Ellen Wilkinson School, Elthorne High School and Dormers Wells High School. Participating GDST schools included Blackheath High School, Bromley High School, Croydon Hig School, Newcastle High School, Northampton High School, Nottingham Girls High School, Portsmouth High School and Sutton High School.

The sessions were expertly chaired by the Year 12 MedSoc reps, Aya Jarah, Kitty Shaw and Milli Datta.

The first speaker was Chamith Halahakoon, a psychiatric registrar who is currently working on a PhD at the University of Oxford. He explained his research, clearly explaining the nature of depression, and his use of MRI to scan the brain and assess the effectiveness of antidepressant drug treatments weeks before this can be done using behavioural assessments. Professor Anton Emmanuel, is a consultant neurogastroenterologist, and until recently was in charge of admissions at University College Hospital. He spoke about the ethos of joining the medical profession and his passion for opening it up to all ethnicities. Two recent Old Girls spoke about their experiences. Sarah Ashraf, a 4th year medic at UCL spoke about applying for Medicine and Hafsa Malik spoke about her route into Dentistry. In the final session, consultant paediatric cardiologist at GOSH, Shankar Sridharan spoke about his varied roles, as clinician, IT champion, and even his occasional work as cardiologist at London Zoo. The evening was brought to a close with Tara Clarke, talking about the crucial role and possible specialities that can come with being a GP.

We are incredibly grateful to our speakers who showed great adaptability and generosity of spirit.

By Dr Sheldon

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