On Wednesday 4 July, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hosted a summer school event for approximately 50 talented students from low- and middle-income homes, and under-represented backgrounds, who are interested in a career in medicine. A series of lectures and workshops exposed the attendees to radiology and clinical oncology, specialties students rarely have the opportunity to experience at such an early stage.
The event was organised by interventional radiology Fellow, Dr Neeral Patel, and academic clinical Fellow in clinical oncology, Dr Sumeet Hindocha, in partnership with the RCR and the Imperial College London Pathways to Medicine outreach programme. RCR President, Dr Nicola Strickland, opened the programme with a key-note speech which enthused the students and conveyed the sheer breadth, flexibility and opportunity that both radiology and clinical oncology careers provide.
The radiology practical sessions aimed to give the students a hands-on experience of imaging. Industry contacts kindly supplied three ultrasound machines which allowed the students to perform abdominal ultrasounds on willing volunteers. The students were given the opportunity to experience interventional radiology by learning about abdominal aortic aneurysms and endovascular treatment by attempting to perform an EVAR on a simulator. Fortunately, no complications occurred! Students also had the chance to explore the most gruesome trauma CT scans volunteers had collected, which were met with interest and a few shrieks.
The clinical oncology sessions explored how cancer is treated with a multidisciplinary and multi-modal approach. In an interactive and practical virtual simulation session, students were shown how radiotherapy is planned and were challenged to think about how they might place beams to best treat a tumour. This was followed by a tour of a linear accelerator and mould room, which demonstrated delivery of radiotherapy and the use of bolus and shells.
The attendees also learnt about the important opportunity of clinical research that a career in medicine offers. Dr Seema Dadhania, from the computational oncology lab at Imperial College, spoke about her exciting research exploring how wearable devices such as Fitbits and accelerometers in smartphones can be used to improve the management of patients with glioma.
Overall, the event not only inspired the students to hopefully pursue a medical career, but also raised the profile of the RCR and its specialties.
- Radiology volunteers: Dr Neeral Patel, Dr Mitesh Naik, Dr Sara Ffrench-Constant, Dr Deborah Olakunbi, Dr Pritika Gaur, Dr Susan Hesni, Dr Elizabeth Minas and Dr Bethan Davies.
- Clinical oncology volunteers: Dr Sumeet Hindocha, Dr Seema Dadhania, Dr Manasi Ingle, Dr Alex Aleksic, Dr Sara Kashani, Ms Sindy Singh, Mr Peter Dunn, Ms Alexandra Macleod, Mr Jackarias Doraiswamy.
- Radiology equipment provided by Canon Medical Systems and Gore Medical.