National praise for health trust's ‘commitment to scholarship’

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is one of the inaugural winners of a prestigious prize for exceptional commitment to medical education.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 9:51 am
From left, Northumbria Healthcare’s Cath Huntley, Elizabeth Dent, Tracey Hogg, Richard Thomson, Gemma Steel, and Sonia Bussey from ASME.

It has received an ASME Institutional Commitment to Scholarship Award – the only healthcare organisation to be honoured, alongside the Research Department of Medical Education at UCL Medical School and the Scottish Medical Education Research Consortium.

ASME (the Association for the Study of Medical Education) has rewarded many individuals for excellence in medical education, but introduced these new awards for 2021 to recognise that the ‘organisation in which the individual is embedded can make a huge difference to their ability to achieve this excellence’.

Northumbria Healthcare’s Richard Thomson, a consultant in gastroenterology, said: “This is a fantastic accolade that celebrates our enduring and deep-rooted commitment to a scholarly approach to education.

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“I’m delighted that a small team such as ours within a working clinical trust has held its own against major research organisations.

“We had to provide evidence of a sustained commitment to developing our whole team, from apprentices to consultants, in an environment where scholarly enquiry is supported.

“We have succeeded on that front in large part due to board-level support, both under the current chief executive and his predecessor.

“It was unique at the time to recognise that investing in education was a way of pulling up clinical standards and making the organisation more attractive for staff recruitment and retention.

“Over 25 years, we have had 100 teaching fellows through the system and a dozen or so have returned to the trust as consultants. We have one of the longest-running programmes of nurses teaching medical students and also sustained an award-winning initiative to bring pharmacists into medical teaching.”

The award is a non-monetary prize presented to an institution that is a member of ASME and claims exceptional commitment to ‘advancing scholarship in medical education’ (research, evaluation, innovation, practitioner inquiry), including the translation of medical education ‘evidence’ into policy or practice.