Science Without Borders continued success!

On Friday, the 30th January 2015, the TORT Centre and the College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing (CMDN) received a visit from Dr Tania Lima, UK Director for the Science without Borders (SwB) Brazilian programme. The aim of the visit was to explore the possibilities of enhancing our current collaborations between the SwB programme and the TORT Centre, which has been leading the collaborative programme, to include a wider participation from across the Medical School; as such, it was only natural for the visit to be initiated at the TORT Centre. The SwB is currently the largest programme of exchange students in the world, with over 100,000 students being given the opportunity to set aside a year of studies in another country. Dr Lima has explained that the Brazilian government has earmarked a further £2billion for the next four years of the programme.

The CMDN was the first medical school, and still the only medical school in the UK to offer the possibility of formal clinical observation experience, including attendance to clinics and theatres in the context of the programme through the TORT Centre. This has proven to be powerfully attractive for further students as our applicants have increased from four students in the first two years to no less than 26 applications for the coming academic year 2015-16 scholarship programme.

In addition to the TORT Centre, Dr. Lima had the opportunity to visit the Cushieri Skills Centre, the Clinical Skills Centre and the Integrated Teaching Area of the Medical School, as well as brief stopover at the clinical areas of the hospital, accompanied by Professor Margaret Smith, Deputy-Principal for Internationalization and Dean of the Nursing School, and Mr Jason Norris, Head of International Office. Dr Lima was impressed with the facilities and particularly with the integration of the teaching and clinical areas as well as the simulation skills facilities.

Following the tour, Dr Lima had the opportunity to attend the presentations of the projects of our four current students who all gave outstanding presentations. Our SwB students are working to the same programme and lecture timetable as the Intercalated BMSc Honours students. Dr Lima was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by all associated staff with the initiative and spoke at length with this years’ candidates about their time and experiences in Dundee, life at the University and how they were enjoying the learning experience afforded at the TORT Centre. She was most impressed with the commitment shown by the Department to make this a worthwhile opportunity for the SwB students.

The topics of research in the PowerPoint presentations given this year included:

  • Radiology assessment of reverse shoulder prosthesis
  • A comparison of healing rates after surgical intervention to treat scaphoid non-union fractures
  • Assessment of different marker placement techniques in gait analysis
  • Analysis of gait in patients with cerebral palsy between pre- and post-treatments

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Mr Carlos Wigderowitz, the SwB Lead in the Medical School, stated:

“It is a privilege to be involved in a significant way with such a large programme. It is also a challenge to deliver a quality programme of studies which will stand competition from some of the best sister Universities around the world; however it is an exciting challenge to which we are responding with hard work, creativity and understanding of the Brazilian culture and aspirations of the programme as a whole and the students in particular. These ingredients I believe have enabled us to deliver a high quality programme of studies, including an outstanding curriculum, exciting research projects and added clinical exposure. This tripod is not only likely to result in high satisfaction levels but to lead into further developments, in particular at post-graduate level."

Professor Abboud, Head of Department and BMSc Lead, stated:

“This was a no-brainer to me; when I was alerted to the SwB initiative, I was surprised that no other Medical School in the UK embraced this initiative and I was adamant to take a risk and trial a small cohort of four students in 2013/14. Their commitments and work ethos encouraged me to approve the scheme for another year in my department and I am pleased that this has now paid dividend and we are now in a position to widen our recruitment from the TORT Centre to across the whole of the Medical School through our highly successful Intercalated BMSc Honours programme, allowing the SwB candidates to follow the same curriculum and gain a UK degree upon the completion of the relevant degree requirements. Our current batch of four SwB students has been nothing but excellent in their commitment to learning and engaging with their new temporary adopted home at TORT Centre. We are fortunate that one of our Clinical Senior Staff, Mr Wigdrowitz, who himself is originally from Brazil, has taken the Lead in overseeing their stay in Dundee and organising their clinical attachments with the NHS, which will be consolidated via the Academic Health Network Partnership (AHSP), which is led by Professor Dilip Nathwani”.