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Student mentoring weekend, January 2012

In support of its goal of developing the workforce of the future, Arthritis Research UK hosted a very successful mentoring weekend for previous winners of its medical student prizes. 

Fifteen students and junior doctors from all over the UK attended the event in Brighton on 14–15 January 2012, supported by 7 clinical mentors from rheumatology, orthopaedics and general practice with expertise in education, research and treating patients with musculoskeletal disease.


On day 1 prizewinners got the opportunity to practise examination of the musculoskeletal system and then were able to teach their peers and give feedback. This was followed by a visit to the anatomy lab at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, where Professor Darrell Evans and his team gave an interactive tutorial on the anatomy of the spine, an area that is often not taught in depth at medical school.

As this is Olympic year, Professor Evans also talked about the Scanning For Gold project, a fascinating insight into how medical resonance imaging (MRI) illustrates how the anatomy of elite athletes such as weightlifters or those doing the triathlon (swimming, cycling and running) differs from that of ordinary mortals!

Professor Chris Buckley then gave a truly inspiring lecture on the importance of research in helping to answer questions about the origin of inflammation at different sites in the body.

On day 2 there was a "Rheumatology Challenge" quiz, hosted by Professor Kevin Davies, who was very impressed with the level of knowledge on arthritis and musculoskeletal disease displayed by the participants. The contest was won narrowly by the team from the South of the UK.

Finally, all the participants and mentors were involved in a discussion on careers in musculoskeletal disease, and the options for pursuing research and educational interests.

Feedback on the event was excellent, with attendees really appreciating the expert teaching and career advice, something that no other similar charity had previously offered. Comments included:

"Reignited my interest in research" 

"It was good to learn how to teach others and give feedback – there isn't usually formal teaching on this"

"Really enjoyed the sessions, fantastic re-introduction to rheumatology"

"Very relevant info and training on aspects relevant to all levels and specialties"

As well as improved musculoskeletal examination skills, attendees felt that they had come away with "greater knowledge about how to get into research/teaching", "insight into academic medicine" and "insight into various career paths in MSK (musculoskeletal) medicine".

Each of the attendees now has an allocated mentor to help them with future musculoskeletal career choices. It’s hoped that the attendees will contribute to charity activities such as the upcoming online musculoskeletal resource finder, and one attendee is already establishing his own learning groups to help students and junior doctors develop their musculoskeletal examination skills. 

The event was an exciting venture and one we hope to repeat on a regular basis to develop a cohort of enthusiastic doctors in training who will potentially be our clinical, research and education leaders of the future.

Many thanks to all the mentors and speakers who took part:

Sonya Abraham, Senior Lecturer in Rheumatology, Imperial College

Chris Buckley, Arthritis Research UK Professor of Rheumatology, Rheumatology Research Group, School of Immunity and Infection, MRC Centre for Immune Regulation, The University of Birmingham

Marwan Bukhari, Consultant Rheumatologist, University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool

David Coady, Consultant Rheumatologist, Sunderland Royal Hospital

Kevin Davies, Foundation Professor of Medicine, Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Honorary Consultant Physician and Rheumatologist, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust (BSUHT)

Inam Haq, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Mark Lillicrap, Consultant Rheumatologist, Addenbrookes Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Associate Clinical Dean, Cambridge Medical School

Nick Little, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Epsom and St Hellier Trust

Tom Margham, Specialist GP in Musculoskeletal Medicine, Arthritis Research UK and General Practitioner, East London 

Chandini Rao, Consultant Rheumatologist, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and Honorary Lecturer, University of Liverpool

Student handbook

Download 'Clinical assessment of the musculoskeletal system: a guide for medical students and healthcare professionals'

Funding opportunities for medical students

Resources and opportunities for medical students (video)

Find out how Arthritis Research UK helps medical students develop their interest in musculoskeletal medicine


a website for students of musculoskeletal medicine.  Register for free access to personalised learning features, or just browse.

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