CSH Education Fellowship, the first few weeks…

Stuart d'Arch Smith's picture

As a person, and now as father, I feel like I’ve always known on some level that the relationship between humans and the environment is a fragile one. But in recent years it has become abundantly clear to me that if the human species, or at least human society as we know it is to survive in any sustainable form, then we need to rethink the relationship between our economic system, our society and our environment in some urgent and potentially radical ways.

As a doctor training to be a psychiatrist I have come to appreciate the need for inclusive and participatory models when trying to improve the quality of healthcare service design and implementation. If a change is to be impactful and sustained, I believe QI methodologies such as the model for improvement provide the ideal framework.

For the next 12 months, I have been given the opportunity to work on combining these two ideas, by becoming an education fellow with the Centre for Sustainable healthcare to design and deliver undergraduate education on sus-QI. This is important because healthcare provision is one of the largest contributors to the UK’s impact on the climate and environment, but also provides some of the biggest opportunities to change how we think about the relationship between our economic system, our society and our environment. The next generation of doctors graduating UK medical schools to become the future leaders in healthcare provision are therefore the ideal audience for learning about how to make real practical improvements to the quality of health and healthcare that are truly sustainable.

We have developed a key partnership with Kings College London where we have really exciting opportunities to reach their students in a variety of ways throughout the year; 2nd year and 4th year QI modules, special study courses for 5th years, faculty education for their supervisors.

We are also currently part way through a special study module with 2nd year Bristol university medical students. They are running projects on incredibly diverse topics; inhaler switching and recycling, the importance of improving breastfeeding rates, the need for more sustainable management of sanitary waste and de-prescribing opioid medications. Each project takes unique approaches to sustainable QI and I am really excited to see how they pan out in the short time the students have within this module, but more importantly as sustained improvements that make real impactful differences to the communities in which they are based.

And there are more exciting potential projects in the pipeline with Kings Health Partners, Northwest HEE, Exeter medical school, Imperial college and South London and Maudsley NHS trust.

I have only been doing this for a month so far, but I already feel like I might have found my place in terms of the work I see myself doing for the rest of my career.


Dr Stuart d’Arch Smith, Education Fellow with CSH

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