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Dr Joanne Harris appointed as Deputy Head of Undergraduate Medicine at Imperial College London

Every on in the Department of Primary Care & Public Health at Imperial College London was very pleased to learn that one of our academic general practitioners, Dr Ho Harris, has been appointed as Deputy Head of Undergraduate Medicine at Imperial College London, Dr Harris comments on her new role.

"I am delighted to share with you my new appointment as Deputy Head of Undergraduate Medicine at Imperial College London. It is the first time that a General Practitioner has been appointed to a senior role in the school and shows that the medical school is committed to training future doctors in the speciality of Primary Care. Imperial College is keen to ensure our students are not only academically excellent but also well versed as generalists. In this role, it is exciting to have an overview of the whole six years of the course as well as start to think how our students could be better taught in the future.

As the way medicine is practised changes with GPs seeing more complex cases and increasing numbers of health encounters occurring in the community, we must make sure our students learn medicine in the most appropriate place. As time goes on this will increasingly be the GP surgery, the Urgent Care Centre or the Community Clinic. Our students need exposure to you as excellent, highly committed GPs if we are to meet the government target of 50% of our graduates selecting Primary Care as a career. 

We are mindful that asking you to take on extra teaching at a time when you are so clinically stretched is not easy and we are grateful for all the effort you put in for our students. Without the input from our dedicated GP teachers there would be no teaching in the community and our students would miss out on this vital part of their education. We recently surveyed our final year students on thoughts about their future career. Those that said they wanted to pursue Primary Care as a career chose to do it because of the quality of the GP placements they had at Imperial and seeing their GP teacher as a role model. It’s you that makes the difference!

Many of you have had a chance to comment on the new strategy for the School of Medicine; and, in this role I will be working with the Head of the Undergraduate School, Mr Martin Lupton and the Board to deliver this strategy and improve the quality of learning experience for our students. One exciting development that will take place in the next academic year, is the full mapping of our curriculum. With a few clicks you will be able to place the students' learning in context seeing what they have learned before they arrive at the surgery and where they will encounter similar material in the future. 

In addition to this new role, I have begun a Doctorate in Education (EdD) at the Institute of Education particularly looking at how we teach and assess professionalism in our students. I will be still be working in my other roles of Deputy Director of Primary Care and Director of Curriculum and Assessment as well as working one day a week as a sessional GP so I am expecting to be busy!

We are always happy to hear your comments and views on our students and curriculum so please do get in touch."

Dr Joanne Harris MRCP MRCGP MA (Med Ed)

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