Reaching out: medical students leading in local communities

Aidan Bannon, Niamh O'Hare, Michael Corr, Margaret Sterling, Gerard J Gormley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Queen's University Red Cross is a medical student-led volunteer group with a key aim of promoting social change within local communities and empowering young people to aspire to higher education. We describe ‘The Personal Development Certificate’, a 12–week community development programme devised by third-year medical students at Queen's University Belfast to target young people who are lacking educational motivation, are disengaged at home or are marginalised through social circumstances.

Context: Community-based education is of increasing importance within undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in the UK, and further afield. We evaluated the perceived improvements in key skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and problem solving in students following participation in this programme, and the extent to which their attitude and appreciation of community-based medicine changed.

Innovation: Following facilitation of this community-based initiative, all students reported a perceived improvement in the acquired skill sets. Students made strong links from this programme to previous clinical experiences and appreciated the opportunity to translate a series of classroom-learned skills to real-life environments and interactions. The students’ appreciation and understanding of community-based medicine was the single most improved area of our evaluation.

Implications: We have demonstrated that medical students possess the skills to develop and facilitate their own educational projects. Non-clinical, student-led community projects have the potential to be reproduced using recognised frameworks and guidelines to complement the current undergraduate medical curriculum
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Teacher
Issue number3
Early online date25 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Reaching out: medical students leading in local communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this