27 июля 2018

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 Officially, UK-Russia Young Medics Association has been there since May 21, 2018. In reality, its first projects started a bit more than a year ago.


It all began in January 2017 when Dr Denis Butnaru, Director of the Sechenov Science & Technology Park for Biomedicine, and Mr. Nikita Sushentsev, Coordinator of the UK-Russia Young Medics Association, first visited the University of Cambridge to meet with senior academics and teaching officers to discuss opportunities for collaborations between Cambridge and Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University. As part of this visit, the delegates from Moscow also met with two key representatives of the University of Cambridge Medical Society (Cambridge MedSoc), Ali Alam and Jack Bradbury, its President and Vice-President at the time. The meeting revealed several fundamental differences between medical education at Sechenov and Cambridge. 


The next meeting took place in Moscow in February 2017. The visit included lab tours and visits to various departments of Sechenov University as well as meetings with students, teachers and representatives of the University administration. It was resulted in defining specific areas of collaboration between Sechenov & Cambridge MedSoc that were described in the memorandum of understanding signed by Prof Andrey Svistunov, the First Vice-Rector of Sechenov University, Dr James Fraser and Ali Alam. Professor Svistunov and Dr Fraser both stressed that educational & research exchanges between students can be enriching and beneficial not only for students themselves but also for hosting institutions.

Multiple conversations and exchange visits that followed resulted in the first ever successful implementation of essay writing into medical curriculum in Russia. To check on Sechenov’s progress, the first Cambridge-Sechenov Biomedical Essay Competition was run in Spring 2018. As part of the Competition, students had to write an essay on the kidneys’ role in blood pressure control. The essays were marked by Dr James Fraser who outlined that the essays were generally well-written and welcomed further development of essay writing at Sechenov. The Competition winner, a 4th-year student Nina Seylanova, is about to begin a research attachment at St Thomas’ Hospital in London to study promising methods of early diagnosis and treatment of acute kidney injury.

In return, in June 2017, Sechenov University ran the first Cambridge-Sechenov Summer School in Urology that hosted 12 undergraduates students from the UK, Russia, Austria and Bulgaria. The course ran for one week and included patient communication sessions, workshops in laparoscopic surgery, lectures on diagnosis and treatment of prostate and renal cancers as well as urethral stricture disease.


The successful precedent of educational cooperation between one of the biggest medical schools of the two countries was noticed not only by students. During the UK-Russia Healthcare & Life Sciences Forum that took place at Sechenov in December 2017, Prof Petr Glybochko, Rector of Sechenov University, first announced the intention of establishing an official body that would oversee further exchanges and build a network of collaborating institutions. The initiative was supported by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Russia Dr Laurie Bristow CMG, who emphasised that establishing stronger ties between Russian and British scientists is beneficial for both countries and sets up the agenda of the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education that was successfully conducted in 2017.


In May 2018, Sechenov University received a grant from the British Embassy Moscow to establish the UK-Russia Young Medics Association and conduct a series of pilot events in 2018–19 financial year. The first event that was arranged under the Association’s umbrella, UK-Russia Summer School in Innovative Surgery, took place in June 2018.

In the upcoming year the Association is going to run two major competitions that are designed to establish long-lasting exchanges between the two countries’ young medics.

Research Fellowship Competition implies sending 8 students and early-career researchers from Russia to the UK to complete 8-week research attachments under the supervision of the UK leading scientists. Hopefully, these placements will serve as starting points for future cooperation between the corresponding research groups with prospective fellows becoming coordinators of joint projects.

Clinical Fellowship Competition is aimed at arranging 8 clinical attachments for students and foundation doctors from the UK in Russian top university hospitals. The successful experience of Sechenov in hosting two consecutive summer schools proved that such visits can be incredibly beneficial for career development and professional orientation of students and young doctors from the UK.

The results of these exchanges are going to be shown at the first UK-Russia Young Medics Conference that is going to take place at Sechenov in March 2019. Call for abstracts and details of the Conference are to be announced shortly.

Therefore, the Association has an incredible capacity of building bridges between individual young medics and their home institutions of the two countries’ thus serving as a fantastic example of science diplomacy in action.

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The full article as available at the Medium online publishing platform

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