The Oxford Medical School continues to be ranked as one of the best medical schools both nationally and internationally. The department supports approximately 160 Year 5 Clinical Students a year, as well as countless special study modules and student research projects. In 2020 the Brain and Behaviour module was launched in collaboration with colleagues at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, in which psychiatry and neurology are taught in the context of an integrated curriculum. The course has continued to develop and has led to a number of new teaching sessions being introduced, which are co-led by members of both departments and highlight the biological aspects of psychiatry and the psychosocial factors in neurology. The course has been complemented by the development of a humanities and medical professionalism curriculum in 2021, which has been funded by a Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) grant and is being delivered with colleagues across the Humanities, Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) and Medical Sciences Divisions. This year we have adapted the highly rated communications skills session for both online and in-person delivery in collaboration with the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.
We welcome Dr Katy Smith who has taken over as examiner for Psychology for Medicine, Dr Philip Wilkinson who is an internal examiner for the Year 5 synoptic exams, Dr Chris Kowalski who has been appointed as the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust simulation lead, Dr Caz Nahman who will lead the provision of children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) teaching, and Dr Alastair Reid who has been appointed as the new Director of Medical Education for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Kate Saunders who has been appointed the new Associate Director of Preclinical Studies (Welfare & Curriculum).
The Department of Psychiatry has also taken an active role in supporting the wellbeing of undergraduate medical students and a new web resource created by Dr Joe Butler, Dr Emma Brookes, Dr Lois Bran and Professor Kate Saunders has now been launched. This was co-created with medical students and funded by a grant from the Nuffield Oxford Hospitals Fund.
Professor Saunders, said:
'The impact of an ongoing pandemic continues to be felt by all involved in undergraduate education, but we are hopeful for a return to more in-person teaching in 2022.'
The Department currently has 63 DPhil and 7 MSc (Res) research degree students including graduates in psychological and biological science and psychiatric trainees. In 2021, six candidates successfully completed their course, and have either moved onto postdoctoral positions or enrolled on Graduate Research or Medicine programmes.
MSc Clinical and Therapeutic Neuroscience
The MSc course in Clinical and Therapeutic Neuroscience is now in its third year. The class of 2020/21 successfully completed the course and five class prizes were awarded. All lectures were live-streamed, with small group face-to-face journal clubs meeting in large teaching rooms in the department, and chaired by the Course Director, Associate Professor Phil Burnet and Deputy Course Director, Professor Zameel Cader, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience. PIs from all departments involved in the course provided both lectures and excellent data analysis projects that substituted some of the practical experiments.
Associate Professor Burnet said:
'We'd like to praise all of our students for their hard work and adaptability to on-line teaching, and for achieving an exceptionally high standard of work.'
Professor Morten Kringelbach, Director of the new Centre for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing, is also directing the Carlsberg Foundation-Oxford Visiting Fellows Programme, supported by the Carlsberg Foundation. This competitive programme supports up to 12 excellent postdoctoral scholars per year who will become Junior Research Fellows at Linacre College and work for two years with an Oxford academic in a University department.
The NIHR Incubator for Mental Health Research is hosted by the Department of Psychiatry. It provides career development support for aspiring and established mental health researchers across sectors and professional backgrounds. A number of our department members have contributed to its activities this year and are featured as career case examples.
Several team members in the department began NIHR fellowships this year, Dr Rebecca Murphy and Dr Rowan Diamond began a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship, Dr Sinéad Lambe began a Doctoral Fellowship and Ariane Petit started a Pre-doctoral Fellowship.