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conferences and talks

Rebecca Coombes: Beware the medicalisation of female genital cutting

23 May, 16 | by BMJ

rebecca_coombesI met two remarkable women this week. Actually, I met many such females at the vast Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen—obstetricians, lawyers, midwives, and former presidents (including a possible future one when Hillary Clinton made a live appearance on the big screen).

In a cast of thousands, activists Filzah Sumartono, from Singapore, and Mariya Taher, from India, made an impact with their plain speaking about female genital cutting (FGC). Sumartono confronted the growing problem of medicalisation of FGC. Indonesia and Malaysia have called for a standardisation of the procedure, essentially legitimising the practice. more…

The 7th Global Patients Congress: Patient engagement in innovation for health

14 Apr, 16 | by BMJ

Kawaldip SehmiSitting in the Edward Heath Room at the 7th Global Patients Congress at the Selsdon Park Hotel, Croydon, discussing universal health coverage (UHC) for all by 2030 (a target in the sustainable development goal for health), one is quickly reminded that if health is a political goal, then UHC is one of the ultimate political choices.

Listening to the debates, one can appreciate that the NHS needed the powerful personalities of Beveridge and Bevan to help the UK found the oldest system of UHC after great political and social upheavals in 1948.

The room, however, has ghosts. more…

Jonathan Glass: If surgeons lived Lewis Hamilton’s life

11 Dec, 15 | by BMJ

jonathan glassMany of the medical conferences I have attended recently have included sessions suggesting that the NHS is failing in its processes and that there is lots we can learn from industry. Most recently, I have been educated by the aviation industry, the energy industry, and the oil industry—as well as being shown what Formula 1 sport has to teach us. The lecturers were good and the information was interesting, but is it of any benefit to me, as an NHS clinician?

We were shown how the Formula 1 team spend their life practising in order to execute the perfect pit stop: running and re-running the events and scenarios that may crop up in any race more…

Sarah Walpole: Health through peace—mixing stories and science, and grabbing rays of hope

19 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

health through peace“We were deployed to attack civilians in their homes.” He stood in front of our 700 strong audience, bared the horrors of his experiences, and shared the pain of his realisation, all with brutal honesty. He described a standard operation carried out by British soldiers in Iraq: waking a family from their sleep with an explosion of the front of their house, holding them at gun point, separating men from women and children, bagging their heads and tying their wrists, smashing their belongings, stealing their documents, and leaving. He estimated that 95% of those on the receiving end of this procedure had no links to terrorism or militarism.  more…

Patrick Cullen: Co-design for vulnerable patient groups—transforming patients’ experiences

16 Nov, 15 | by BMJ

patrick_cullen_picRecently I attended a conference at the King’s Fund that focussed on transforming patient experience, particularly the experience of vulnerable patient groups.

To me, the day felt as much like a call to action as a celebration of good practice. Hearing from Catherine Carter, a mother with learning disabilities and Asperger’s, about the distressing experiences of parents with learning disabilities offered a stark reminder of how much stigma there still is around certain conditions.

She described a project to engage people with learning disabilities using maternity services. more…

Tessa Richards: “Millennials” seek to reshape health

6 Oct, 15 | by BMJ


What better place to debate how emerging technologies are transforming healthcare than the Silicon Valley? Bathed in sunshine, the Stanford University campus is a magnet for people with the vision and skills to create new futures, and Stanford Medicine X (#MedX) attracts health innovators from a wide range of disciplines. Now in its fifth year, the meeting, led by Larry Chu, an anaesthetist at Stanford, is notable for its “inclusivity.” Patient scholars, in particular, play a major part; both as members of the steering committee and speakers in the forum’s informal TED style talks, panel discussions, and workshops which flow with showbiz panache. more…

Jocalyn Clark: World Association of Medical Editors’ first conference—an international affair

6 Oct, 15 | by BMJ


For its first ever conference, the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) chose New Delhi, India as the inaugural location—a reflection of the global nature of medical science and publishing, and to emphasise the organisation’s growing commitment to global health.

Over three days this past week, 220 delegates from 17 countries learned about professionalism and ethical issues (including addressing research misconduct); practical issues in medical journal editing (including setting up an editorial office and harnessing digital technology); and the role of the medical editor in global health. There were a series of workshops providing training in editorial processes and best practices. more…

Ahmed Rashid on #RCGPAC 2015: We’re in it together

5 Oct, 15 | by BMJ

ahmed_rashidAt the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference in 2014, the chair of council, Maureen Baker, likened UK general practice to a dam that was at bursting point. The metaphor was a fitting one and there was a sense amongst the Liverpool audience of GPs that it captured the enormous pressure that they were facing in their surgeries every day.

Fast forward 12 months and the conference reconvened, this time in Glasgow, ready to celebrate the fact that the dam had not burst and the profession had survived another challenging year filled with austerity, high workloads, and demoralising media stories. And what a conference it was. It was the fifth time I’d attended an RCGP conference and it was undoubtedly the best I’ve experienced. The word “inspiring” has become something of a cliché when it comes to describing events and conferences, but there’s no better word I know to describe the effect it had on the GPs that were fortunate enough to attend. more…

Mona Nasser: How can research publication be improved?

30 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

The first day of the EQUATOR/REWARD conference coincided with the publication of the most recent article on reducing waste in research—“increasing value and reducing waste in biomedical research: who’s listening?” The paper explores how different stakeholders responded to the call for “reducing research waste.” This initiative started with a short paper by Iain Chalmers and Paul Glasziou on avoidable waste in production of research evidence in 2009, followed by a more comprehensive series of articles in 2014. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in England is one of the key organisations which responded to the change shortly afterwards. The quick response is promising. Doug Altman, the first plenary speaker, highlighted that throughout history change happened frustratingly slowly. He quotes Drummond Rennie, who said in JAMA in 2001: more…

Zosia Kmietowicz: One policy to reduce sugar intake—what would you do?

6 Aug, 15 | by BMJ

zosiakThe anti-sugar crusader Robert Lustig blew through town this week to film a documentary with chef Jamie Oliver, but stopped off on the way to take part in a panel discussion on the white stuff, which he launched with a talk entitled “Processed Food: An experiment that failed.”

Lustig, who is professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, is an engaging orator, combining the charm of Bill Clinton with the dogged enthusiasm granted to Tigger by AA Milne. His views on the causes of the obesity epidemic—that the body’s feedback system for satiety is broken from over consumption of sugar, especially fructose—are becoming increasingly heard and argued over in the scientific and medical communities. What was interesting about his talk on Tuesday night was his favoured solution for tackling sugar consumption levels, which in the United Sates rose from 73lbs per person per year in 1970 to 113lbs in 2000 (if fruit juice is included). more…

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