Joining MedRACE and organising a facilitated discussion
Sethara Alwis and Dona Tomy, Students, Leicester Medical School
Joining MedRACE was an easy decision for the both of us. After receiving EDI teaching from members of MedRACE, we were convinced that this was the right decision. This is because of the passion from the members as well as the knowledge that this group has spearheaded actual change. In addition, we felt it was important to acknowledge that more can be done to address the lack of inclusion in our curriculum and on placement. We want to be a part of this action!
We joined the monthly meetings initially just to get a sense of what projects we could get involved in. We found a relaxed and open environment that facilitated discussions on experiences that have led to the (sometimes policy-changing) projects.
MedRACE has produced a lot of great work from the Kara to the theatre headwear but it was time to think of new ideas. As such, we were able to host an open meeting in July 2023. We celebrated previous achievements of members and also said a final goodbye to Wendy and Takunda (the amazing previous student co-chairs).
It was also a great way to gain fresh perspectives on new projects that MedRACE can work on in order to create a more inclusive and diverse learning environment. Both staff and students worked together to discuss ways we can make progress by basing ideas on the BMA racial harassment charter. Some of the key themes that were brought up during the meeting included making the process of reporting and any outcomes that come from this more transparent. In addition to this, we talked about sharing information between the UHL trust and the university as no single organization can solve this alone. It requires collaboration across the system to make greater progress. We also discussed the importance of breaking the stigma around pastoral support as well as making students aware of resources and safe spaces available to them if they are struggling.
So how did we achieve the above? We planned the main activity of coming up with new ideas. We split the room into separate areas to facilitate conversations on the four aspects of the BMA charter. We then timed these conversations and rotated the different groups. This ensured that participants were able to talk about all different domains of the charter. (In between each rotation, everyone helped themselves to cakes and other treats which of course provided energy for these meaningful exchanges). We took turns taking the lead in summarising the aforementioned conclusions everyone came up with. This lead to the entire room engaging in a conversation about what the next steps would be.
These propositions that were put forward during the Open Meeting have now been discussed at our monthly meetings and we are looking at ways to include them in future projects. We are also hoping to host more Open Meetings to invite more ideas. If anyone is looking to join, it is an amazing team to be a part of! Please keep an eye out on our social media pages (Instagram and Twitter/X) for updates on future events and we look forward to seeing some new faces.