[Press & Publications] Visit from South African Academics Launches New University Links [Medical]

June 2000

No 120

A university in South Africa is to adapt a study module on Human Diversity developed at the University of Leicester, UK, as part of the training of undergraduate medical students.

Dr Nisha Dogra, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Module Leader for Human Diversity at the University of Leicester, will work with colleagues at Medunsa University, South Africa. The project has been awarded a British Council Grant to teach some aspects of human diversity as part of the Medunsa undergraduate medical curriculum.

Representatives from the South African team will visit Leicester from 19 -22 June inclusive, and hope to attend a training trainers day on the 22 June being run by Dr Nisha Dogra. A group from Leicester will subsequently visit Medunsa to develop the programme and train the staff who will be involved in delivering it.

This will be followed by a further visit by teachers from South Africa whilst the Leicester module is run in September 2000. The Medunsa teaching programme will be subject to critical evaluation of its effectiveness along the same lines as in Leicester.

The Human Diversity Module at Leicester has been developed to encompass the General Medical Council Guidelines of 1993. It is a twelve-session module, which addresses equal opportunities and cultural diversity, human sexuality, special needs, death and dying, substance addiction and genetic diversity.

Dr Dogra explained: "In the spirit of the new curriculum to address cultural and racial diversity, we chose to focus on attitudes that enable students to consider all patients as being unique irrespective of their cultural or ethnic background. The issues of ethnicity, racial and cultural awareness have to be addressed sensitively but the curriculum should not avoid the complex questions these issues may raise."

The teaching aimed to enable students to gain factual and practical information of other cultures and also for them to examine their own attitudes. To monitor its success, students completed a questionnaire both before and after the component on cultural diversity was delivered. The interval between stage one and two was one week. The cultural diversity component was developed using a range of sources. 140 out of 181 (77.3%) students completed the questionnaire at both stages.

Dr Dogra concluded: "There were a number of statistically significant findings, which indicate that the teaching enabled the session objectives to be successfully met. The findings include statistically significant changes that reflect more positive attitudes about cultures coming together and about specific cultures. The study indicated that attitudes changed over the period of teaching. There is, however, scope for further development of measures to enable attitudinal shifts to be measured."

This project provides the University of Leicester with an opportunity to develop links with the University of Medunsa in an area that is important to ensure equitable delivery of quality health care.

Further details are available from Dr Nisha Dogra, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Module Leader for Human Diversity, University of Leicester, +44 (0)116 225 2880.

Information for Editors:

  • The team from Medunsa University, South Africa, includes Dr Monie Naidoo, Director of Equal Opportunities, Ms Rachel Morake, Head of Department of English, and Professor Jimmy La Rose, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.
  • The team from the University of Leicester includes Dr Nisha Dogra, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Module Leader for Human Diversity, Ms Fiona McPhail, Equal Opportunities Officer, and Dr Sue Cavendish, Research Fellow, School of Education and Educationalist for the Postgraduate Dean's Office.

    There will be a photo opportunity on Wednesday 21 June at 12.30 pm in the Framland Suite, Charles Wilson Building at the University of Leicester.

    Timetable for visit by University of Medunsa, South Africa 19 -23 June to the University of Leicester:

    19 June 2000:

    9.30 - 12.00 - Introductory meeting with Dr Nisha Dogra (Module Leader of Human Diversity) at the Greenwood Institute.

    2.00 - 4.00 - Meeting with Dr Lawrence Howard (Sub-dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Biological Sciences) at the Medical Sciences Building.

    20 June 2000:

    9.30 - 11.30 - Meeting with Fiona McPhail (Equal Opportunities Officer, University of Leicester), Fielding Johnson Building, Main Campus.

    2.00 - 4.00 - Meeting with Professor Stewart Petersen (Head of Medical Education) at the Medical Sciences Building.

    21 June 2000:

    9.30 - 11.00 - Meeting with Human Diversity session leaders at the Medical Sciences Building, Room G8 (Those present will include Fiona McPhail, Dr Dixon-Woods and Dr Rudd).

    12.15 - 1.45 - Lunch and meeting with Professor Ian Lauder (Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Biological Sciences).

    2.15 - 4.30 - Meeting with Dr Sue Cavendish (Educationalist for the Postgraduate Dean's Office), Greenwood Institute.

    22 June 2000:

    9.15 - 4.30 - Attendance at Training trainers in child mental health with Dr Dogra, Conference Room at Westcotes House, Westcotes Drive.

    23 June 2000:

    Flexible day.

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    Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
    Last updated: 15 June 2000 16:52
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