London medic develops national widening participation initiative supporting medical school aspirants from disadvantaged backgrounds
A London medic has developed a national widening participation initiative that provides free support and mentorship for medical school applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds, who remain significantly underrepresented within the medical workforce in the UK.
With only 4% of current UK doctors coming from working class backgrounds, medicine still remains one of the most inaccessible professions to join. In2MedSchool was therefore set up to encourage A-level/Advanced Higher studies students by offering them free 1-1 mentoring with medical students and junior doctors.
The programme was developed during the summer of 2020 by founder Brian Wang alongside a team of fellow doctors and medical students. Brian is a foundation year 1 doctor working at Northwick Park Hospital in London, and a recently qualified MBBS/PhD Student at Imperial College London.
The vision for In2MedSchool is to provide support for aspiring medical students from disadvantaged backgrounds and create a legacy of successful medical school applicants at schools with traditionally very few or no successful applicants in this area. In the UK, 80% of all successful medical applicants come from only 20% of schools.
Brian describes how his dreams about studying medicine, and having no-one to turn to for advice, pushed him to create an avenue that could provide this foundation for others looking to pursue the same path:
He said: “When my family and I first moved to the UK, we lived in a council flat, and I struggled to learn English. At secondary school I had big dreams about studying Medicine but I didn’t know who to turn to for advice. Coming from this, to then studying my undergraduate Medical degree at Cambridge, then a PHD in Cardiology at Imperial, I have overcome many hurdles in life, and I want to remove those hurdles for others from underprivileged backgrounds to help make Medicine more inclusive.”
Today, this hard work has paid off. Despite being less than a year old, In2MedSchool was voted as the most sustainable widening participation initiative by the Medical Schools Council at their national widening participation conference in 2020.
It has also gained notable support from the Medical Defence Unit and Medical Protection Society. Brian has also been awarded an Associate Fellowship for the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) and Membership to the Academy of Medical Educators (MAcadMEd).
Brian adds: “The response of the campaign has been overwhelmingly supportive,” We now have over 2,500 medical students and junior doctors who have signed up as a volunteer to our mentoring scheme. The number of volunteers has been fantastic and surprising. However, I am not surprised that so many medical students and doctors are willing to give up their time to support the next generation of aspiring medics. Over the last 9 months, we’ve matched just under 1,000 disadvantaged students with a mentor.
Brian developed In2MedSchool as part of his scholarship with The Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA), which aims to inspire and support healthcare students and professionals to change the world of healthcare through leadership, one small step at a time.
The Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA) formed 2016 in response to demand from young clinicians and medical students to learn about leadership. The aim of the programme is to inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals and develop their understanding of leadership.
Scholars are expected to develop a community project like In2MedSchool over the course of the one-year programme, with previous projects having reached national prominence, winning prizes, publications and presentations at national events including at the House of Lords.
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About Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA)
Founded by Dr Johann Malawana, The HLA launched in 2016.Since the HLA began, it has seen the growth of a vibrant and diverse community made up of scholars from across healthcare and from several European countries. Through a combination of mentoring and learning, the HLA aims to inspire and nurture the next generation of healthcare leaders. The faculty is drawn from incredibly talented individuals from across wider society that dedicate their time and energy to help develop the scholars and the programme.