So this Saturday, the JIC had our annual Core Committee meeting in London which is always fun because I love hanging out with everyone. Because we have quite a new team, I was keen to have a long ice-breaking session to get everyone communicating and collaborating. We spent the rest of the day brainstorming and discussing where to take things for 2018. Not going to lie, I kind of wish I got to do the team-building exercise too!
Achievements of 2017
So first of all, I wanted to summarise the achievements of 2017. Five workshops, four oral presentations and two posters at WONCA; four workshops (including one that was mentioned in Professor Howe’s closing speech), a prize-winning poster and a successful Japan and VDGM conference exchange at the RCGP annual conference; the Symposium in May was a huge success, with a the event for 2018 accepted in principle by the RCGP International; the pitch for a Global Health Roadshow (where we run local Faculty events) accepted and the first event in London was held in December (North West/Mersey and Vale of Trent due in March 2018); five articles accepted for publication and four in progress. We’ve connected with Health Education England (HEE), NHS four nations, First5 and AiT committees, Leeds university primary care department, BJGP and King’s Sierra Leone Partnership. All in all a pretty busy year and the committee members should really pat themselves on the back for all of this! A lot of this stems from hours reading and writing reports and proposals which is done outside of clinical work so I know they put in the elbow grease to get the above done!
Challenges for 2018
Although I feel that the JIC are really expanding and doing some awesome work, we are not without our weaknesses. I am aware that we are considered very London-centric and there is no getting away from this. Although we have Core Committee members from all over the UK, we are aware that many of the global health opportunities occur in London and this can be quite frustrating for our members who live outside the M25. We’ve worked on this part way by starting local Faculty events in 2017 and by securing a non-voting seat on the First5 and AiT committees (to allow smoother dissemination of information and opportunities) but also but we still have a long way to go. However, we need to know that there is need for this too so contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know where we need to go.
We have new Data Protection Laws coming in April which means that the way we hold data will change. Ultimately, it may mean that we will be pushed to formalise our membership. At the moment, it’s a googlegroup and a lot of information is disseminated by Facebook and Twitter. There will be, I imagine, a little shaky transition period and we’ll be putting a small working group towards this and we ask for your patience when the time comes!
Rebecca (Exchange team) skyped in from Oz to give us an update on the exchange program and unfortunately due to a technical hitch, Rebekah wasn’t able to join us. The Exchange Team are in charge of dealing with all the European conference exchanges as well as meeting the requests of UK GP’s who want to organise an educational visit abroad or our international colleagues who want to shadow in the UK. It’s looking a little bleak at the moment because our waiting list to visit the UK is just under two years because we’re not managing to find British GP’s who are keen to host. Despite the excellent efforts of our Exchange Team through adverts, education, publications and connecting with people at conferences, we’re not increasing our pool of host practices. The NHS and the well-established general practice system means that we get regular requests to visit the UK. We established that there was no single solution here but we plan to try out a few things this year to see if this will improve things. If you can help out and are keen to have an international GP shadow in your practice (much like a medical student) for a week or two, contact email@example.com. Actually you can contact them just to find out more about it without any commitment!
I love it when the team brainstorms. There’s a great energy when everyone is coming up with ideas about workshops and especially when we got talking about this year’s Symposium to be held in June this year. I’m not giving too much away but we’ve got a pretty great theme and some pretty great ideas. Venue and costing has been done and now we get to do the fun stuff. Looking forward to it all coming together!!
Finally, it was lovely to meet some of the JIC alumni for drinks afterwards. I finally got to meet Luisa Pettigrew who founded the JIC in 2009. She’s currently doing a PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is rather well-known in the circles that we keep – I hope I didn’t look too star-struck – at least I wasn’t carrying a watermelon. And we had the lovely Vikesh come join us too. Not sure I needed that second bottle of wine bought but it probably did contribute to me having such a great night!