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Editor-in-Chief post at Medical Humanities

25 Jan, 17 | by cquigley


The Institute of Medical Ethics and BMJ are looking for the next Editor-in-Chief who can continue to shape Medical Humanities into a dynamic resource for a rapidly evolving field. Candidates should be active in the field, keen to facilitate international perspectives and maintain an awareness of trends and hot topics. The successful candidate will act as an ambassador for the journal supporting both pioneering authors and academics publishing their first papers. The candidate will also actively promote and strengthen the journal whilst upholding the highest ethical standards of professional practice. International and joint applications are welcomed.

Interviews will be held on 24th March 2017.

Term of office is 5 years; the role will take 12-15 hours a week.

Contact Kelly Horwood ( for more information and to apply with your CV and cover letter outlining your interest and your vision for future development of the journal.

Application deadline: 24th February 2017.

Start date: June 2017

Further information here.

Blog Curator and Books Editor Opportunity

18 Jan, 17 | by cquigley

Blog Curator and Books Editor Opportunity


We have a vacancy for a Blog Curator and Books Editor at Medical Humanities. It is a single, combined role as all book reviews are published on the Blog.

The role involves:

·         Commissioning and editing content, including reviews, for the Medical Humanities Blog;

·         Maintaining the Medical Humanities Blog and updating it regularly (currently on a weekly schedule, but this could be flexible within reason);

·         Liaising with publishers to receive new titles and organise reviews of relevant books for the Blog;

·         Contributing to the editorial team (comprising the editor-in-chief, associate editors and BMJ Publishing staff) that leads and manages both the journal and Blog, including attending the annual editorial team meeting;

·         Curating the content of the Blog to reflect the journal’s identity, priorities and interests;

·         Working with social media platforms to provide a coherent online presence for Medical Humanities


The role is flexible and can be adapted according to the successful applicant’s interests and availability. On average, the role takes approximately 4-6 hours per week. It is an exciting and creative opportunity to join a diverse and well-supported editorial team.

If you are interested in the role, you are welcome to contact the Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Deborah Bowman, for an informal and confidential discussion. Her email address is

Applications, comprising a letter setting out a) the reasons for applying and b) suitability for the role and a curriculum vitae, should be submitted to Deborah Bowman at the above email address

Institute of Medical Ethics Conference 2017: Call for Papers

19 Dec, 16 | by cquigley

4th IME Summer Conference, June 2017


Building on the success of three previous conferences held in Edinburgh, Newcastle and London, the 4th Institute of Medical Ethics (IME) Summer Conference will take place on the 15th and 16th of June in Liverpool. Two changes have been made to the conference format for 2017. First, the Research Committee will accept proposals for both individual papers as well as for panels. The latter will be allocated 75mins and the time can be used for traditional presentations of 15-20 mins or for more collaborative and discursive interactions. Second, there is a specific call for contributions from the medical humanities. The IME’s Research Committee hopes to include a stream of medical humanities papers across both days of the conference.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers are Prof Rosamund Scott (KCL) and Prof. Stephen Wilkinson (Lancaster).

Further information can be found here: and both the IME (@IMEweb) and various members of the IME’s Research Committee can be found on twitter if you want to get in touch.

Finally, the location and date of this year’s conference have been coordinated with the annual conference of the UK Clinical Ethics Network (UKCEN). Themed ‘Family Matters’ this will be their 17th Annual Conference. It takes place on the 14th June 2017 and there will be a short IME/ UKCEN crossover session on the morning of the 15th. For further details about UKCEN’s conference see:


Politics and Medicine

9 Dec, 16 | by cquigley

Clinicians should understand how they can use the ballot box to advance their patients’ health interests.

Jacob King, Deniz Kaya

Medical Students, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry


As a health professional working in a sterile environment one might easily find themselves feeling disparately removed from the slimy world of politics. But sadly we believe that this separation of clinic and state denies the measurable effects they have upon each other. Environmental public health acts, improving access to medical coverage, and taxes on ‘bad behaviours’ have all been platforms for political campaigns, each subsequently having shown powerful health benefits.

We have a duty to patient wellbeing, and some argue that this extends to advising or lobbying government. But in light of recent major democratic exercises, including the EU referendum and junior doctors’ contract votes here in the UK, and the upcoming Trump presidency, the ballot box can frequently become a vessel for enacting changes for patient health. Unfortunately, we fear that health professionals are missing out on this key opportunity to address their patient’s wellbeing from an entirely new angle, one normally out of reach for the individual clinician. In the only study of its kind Grande et al. show that US physicians were significantly less likely to vote than the general public [1]. They suggest that medical training may lead physicians to perceive voting as in conflict with their professional duties. Anecdotally, among our colleagues, we also find disillusionment with the political system, limited understanding of legislative processes and little appreciation of health and social policy impact. The GMC’s ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’ sets the framework of a medical school curriculum, and simply requires students to “discuss the principles underlying the development of health and health service policy” [2]. This limited criterion for health policy teaching, we believe, fails to adequately prepare health professionals. It follows that if greater awareness was fostered toward the impact and variety of health policy options, health professionals could more readily be able to advance patient health by means of their vote. Supplementary teaching of political systems and health policy could be incorporated into a medical curriculum which recognizes the importance of political decision in healthcare. Initially teaching politics effectively may seem implausible. Yet we have experience of teaching, and being taught medical ethics quite successfully without running into contentious arguments, cries of bias or questioning of practical use. We see no reason why politics should be any different.

There is a broader point here, however. Just as this blog routinely demonstrates, the role that accepting humanities topics (sociology, art, music, anthropology, religious and cultural studies et cetera) into medicine has progresses hidden and tangible clinical benefits – we claim that political science possesses similar potential. “A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man, he must view the man in his world.” (-Dr Harvey Cushing). Small “p” politics by any definition must also fall into the category of humanities, concerned with forms of individual thought and behaviour, power structures, interpersonal relations, as a cousin of sociology, psychology and anthropology. But while earlier we suggested that at least some measure of political science education for health professionals might theoretically improve our voting rates, fuel broader discussion of health and social policy or directly lead to effective health outcomes via the ballot box, the hidden side of recognising political belief in oneself and our patients may also (akin to its humanities cousins) result in a greater appreciation of the man in his world.

In this light we wish to make the case that political awareness will on one hand prime clinicians to appreciate on a different level the background and health beliefs of their patients, and on the other, confer a greater idea how voting one way or another may play a role in improving health and wellbeing.

Whether one ultimately does vote in what they deem to be in their patient’s best interests is a personal matter. Individuals of course have other motivations on which to base their decisions. However we reasonably believe that health professionals should have the opportunity, foundation knowledge and confidence to enact change via the ballot if they wish to do so.



  1. Grande D, Asch DA, Armstrong K. Do doctors vote? J Gen Intern Med, 2007;22(5): 585–589.
  1. General Medical Council. Tomorrow’s Doctors: Outcomes and standards for undergraduate medical education. 2009.


Medicine Unboxed: Students 2016

17 May, 16 | by cquigley


Deadline: Midnight Sunday 3 July 2016

Medicine Unboxed 2016 is on the theme of Wonder and takes place in Cheltenham on 19-20 November 2016.

Medicine Unboxed: Students brings together students of the arts, health and medicine to present their work and thinking at Medicine Unboxed.

Applications are invited for a 10-minute presentation at Medicine Unboxed: Students 2016.

Applications are open to undergraduate or postgraduate students from all backgrounds, including art, drama, music, medicine, literary studies, philosophy and other health-related subjects. Previous presentations have included conversations and debate, performances, storytelling, dance and comedy, workshops and film.

The application should be around 500 words long and include: i) Title, ii) Format, iii) Presenters names, iv) Contact email & phone number, v) Educational institution and subject being studied.

The advisory group will review all applications and will let you know if you have been selected by 25 July 2016.

From the applications received five people will be selected who, in addition to presenting at Medicine Unboxed: Students, will work with Medicine Unboxed as interns for two days helping to set up and support the delivery of Medicine Unboxed: Wonder. Interns are provided with accommodation and travel expenses and are invited to a creative writing workshop with Professor Tiffany Atkinson.





Khalid Ali: Film review – A political leader declares war on stroke

2 Mar, 16 | by Ayesha Ahmad

A political leader declares war on stroke  

Churchill’s secret- ITV drama- shown on Sunday 28th February 2016

                               Directed by Charles Sturridge 5* 

                                Released on DVD later in 2016


Stroke back in 50’s England was not the well-characterized disease we know so much about today with effective interventions such as thrombolysis that can save lives. In a fascinating account of what the director Charles Sturridge describes as ‘secret history’, the ITV drama tells the story of Winston Churchill’s stroke in the summer of 1953. Churchill’s wife, Lady Clementine, and the Conservative Party conspired to hide the news of his stroke by keeping him out of the public eye for three months to recover. That well-kept secret became public knowledge when his private doctor Lord Moran published his autobiography ‘The struggle for survival’ years later (1). The book was faced by a storm of criticism as a breach of confidentiality and an exploitation of doctor- patient relationship by Lord Moran.


Screening of ‘Radiator’

26 Feb, 16 | by cquigley


Described by the Guardian as ‘an absorbing portrait of ageing and unhappiness’, Radiator has been the recipient of a number of nominations and awards at national and international film festivals.

There will be a special screening of the film on March 4th, followed by Q&A with Tom Browne (writer and director) and Daniel Cerqueira (co-writer and actor).

Read a review of Radiator by Dr Khalid Ali on this blog.


All welcome.

Friday March 4th, 7.30pm

Venue : POSK, The Polish Culture Centre, 238 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 ORF

Sapphire Room, 2nd Floor

Nearest Tube Station :Ravenscourt Park







Khalid Ali and Jane Peek: Cinema of splendour: Reporting from Dubai international Film Festival (DIFF) 2015

29 Jan, 16 | by Ayesha Ahmad

Cinema of splendour: Reporting from Dubai international Film Festival (DIFF) 2015

Dr Khalid Ali, Screening Room Editor

When I visited Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF for the first time in December 2015, I was not expecting to find so many films exploring health and well-being from all over the world. The variety of films on offer explored contemporary issues such as euthanasia and the right to die (Last cab to Darwin, directed by Jeremy Sims, Australia 2015), terminal illness (Dry, hot summers, directed by Sherif El Bendary, Egypt,2015,, doctor-patient relationships (Waiting, directed by Anu Menon, India 2015), sports medicine and its ethically challenging medico-legal implications (Concussion, directed by Peter Landesman, USA 2015), and the aftermath of an epidemic of sleeping sickness (Cemetery of splendour, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand 2015).

Old age and its colourful diversity of frailty alongside resilience, health and disease, creativity and cognitive decline were also present in ‘The lady in the van, directed by Nicholas Hytner, UK 2015’ and ‘Youth, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, Italy 2015’. I was once again reminded that arts and films in particular have a lot more to offer. By portraying artistically the lived experience of human suffering, healthcare professionals can begin to understand the determinants of physical and mental well-being and subsequently deliver dignified compassionate care. Films are no longer entertainment vehicles only; they do have a ‘healing power’. An elegant example of such ground-breaking ability of ‘healing through understanding’ came from the film ’23 Kilometres’ that will be reviewed here.


Nadeem Akhtar: Film Review – “Wake in Fright”

29 Jan, 16 | by Ayesha Ahmad

‘Wake in fright’ directed by Canadian director Ted Kotcheff’s film is considered a masterpiece for its innovative, daring storyline, psychological focus and exceptional visual imagery [1]. The film premiered in Cannes in 1971 to great critical acclaim, but in its homeland of Australia (where the film was set), it was poorly received.


Khalid Ali: Taxi Ride To Eternity: Review of ‘Dry, Hot Summers’,

4 Jan, 16 | by Ayesha Ahmad

Taxi ride to eternity: Review of ‘Dry, hot summers’,

Directed by Sherif El Bendary Egypt, Germany, 2015, 4*

Premiered at Dubai International Film Festival, December 2015, and due to screen at Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in February 2016

Available to view on major TV channels, and to buy DVDs in late 2016

Traditional teaching in medical schools and hospital practice recommends that doctors should share with patients and their families the prognosis in terminally ill patients, emphasising ‘the worst possible outcome’ to avoid giving unrealistic hopes when discussing resuscitation. However the film ‘Dry, hot summers’ challenges the above notions through the story of an elderly man terminally ill with disseminated liver cancer.


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