HLA:IDEAS alumnus celebrates third year of success widening participation in medicine
A not-for-profit organisation set up by a group of former medical students and dedicated to supporting students from less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds on their medical journeys is celebrating its third anniversary.
In just three years The Aspiring Medic’s Support (TAMS) has made a huge impact in the UK reaching over 3,000 students in over 100 schools.
The organisation – led by medical students and doctors – was founded in 2018 by Dr Jacob Oguntimehin, an Academic Foundation Doctor at the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, an HLA Scholar and a former student at the Keele University School of Medicine.
“Our sole aim was to change the under-representation of medical school applicants and medical students from less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds,” explains founder Jacob.
“The community we serve face several social and economic hurdles both when applying to medical school and completing their medical degrees. We exist to positively shift this narrative, with the vision that significantly more can be done to support them in both their career aspirations, career progression, and personal development.”
In 2015, the British Medical Association (BMA) released a report on the diversity of the medical workforce. The report showed that 20% of secondary schools in the UK provide 80 percent of all applicants to medicine. Additionally, it stated that between 2009 and 2011 half of all schools in the UK did not provide a single applicant to medicine.
The Aspiring Medic’s Support (TAMS) was consequently established in 2018 in response to this complex issue.
The Covid-19 pandemic then marked a pivotal year for the organisation as it introduced novel ways of developing its outreach programmes remotely, and within months it went from reaching tens of students per month to hundreds and grew from a team of 4 members to 20.
BMA medical students committee widening participation lead Raymond Effah said:
“Widening participation in medicine is crucial if we want to ensure that the medical workforce is diverse and reflective of the population it serves. All those with a capability and desire to study medicine should be encouraged and actively supported to progress in a career in medicine, irrespective of their background or their social or economic circumstances.
“There must be increased efforts to remove barriers to entry to medical education, improve the communication and transparency of selection processes, and support students from under-represented groups once they are at medical school and throughout their career. Challenging exclusions in medical education also plays an important role in improving organisational culture for the current and future healthcare professionals.”
TAMS is one of the enrolled organisations on the HLA:IDEAS programme, an incubator programme for social enterprises delivered by the Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA). The innovative programme is open to all healthcare professionals and aims to support social entrepreneurship by helping them grow their not-for-profit healthcare organisations.
Speaking about his time at the HLA:IDEAS programme, Jacob added: “HLA:IDEAS has been an absolutely fantastic experience. I have personally benefited in terms of my leadership skills and have also been given a safe space for our team leaders to discuss critical topics that are easily forgotten in the business of day to day operations. The programme leads and my fellow colleagues enrolled in this programme have created a fantastic community that has made me feel supported, challenged and inspired to effect change.”
TAMS has captured their key highlights with the release of a third-year impact report, highlighting its key activities and progress during the past three years and future ambitions. To read TAMS’ third-year impact report, please visit: https://www.tams.community/wearetams