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Society opens applications for new Inclusive Pharmacology Education Steering Group

Published: 13 Apr 2021 in Society news


Update: We received a number of excellent applications to join the group. However, we are still looking for at least one undergraduate/postgraduate member. We would also like to have at least one member currently working on drug discovery and development, preferably in industry. This is why we are extending the call for applications until Monday 10 May 2021. If you would like to apply, please send a short biography explaining how your expertise meets the requirements and how you will support the aims of the group to education@bps.ac.uk. You should send this by 10am, Monday 10 May 2021. The first meeting of the Steering Group is on Wednesday 12 May (3-4pm), but we understand if new members cannot attend this at short notice. If you cannot attend, we will work with you to make sure that you have the information you need to participate in future meetings.


Following the launch of our new Vision for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in pharmacology in October 2020, we will be supporting inclusive pharmacology education as a priority for 2021. We have set up an inclusive pharmacology steering group to guide these activities, which include a review of Society curricula and making recommendations to the Education & Training Committee to improve inclusivity of pharmacology education.
Applications to join the group are now open, with details of how to join below. We hope that the group will represent all areas of pharmacology and attract people from a wide range of backgrounds and specialist areas.
 
The new group will:
  • Contribute to the ongoing review of the Society curricula, with a particular focus on improving inclusivity
  • Recommend strategies to support inclusive pharmacology education and oversee projects agreed with the Education and Training Committee
  • Give advice to relevant committees and staff (e.g. to inform policy positions, meetings content, and engagement opportunities)
We have been carrying out activities that align with our EDI Vision, and the setting up of this new group is part of that. For example, over the past few months the Society has:
  • Funded a Teaching Grant called “Diversifying and Decolonising Pharmacology Teaching: A Pharmacokinetics Perspective” (more details available via the project site)
  • Run an inclusive pharmacology strand at Pharmacology 2020. The following talks will be available on our website soon:
    • Dr Anna Zecharia, BPS - The Society’s new Vision for equality, diversity and inclusion in pharmacology 
    • Professor Clare Stanford, BJP - Sex as an experimental variable
    • Dr Peju Oshisanya, Benevolent AI - Why inclusion in research makes sense!
    • Dr Shola Olafuyi, University of Nottingham - Diversifying and decolonising pharmacology curricula
    • Professor Nick Freestone, Kingston University - Bridging awarding gaps in Pharmaceutical Science courses
    • Dr Aidan Seeley, Swansea University - Valuing different voices
    • Dr Lauren Walker, University of Liverpool – Considering female physiology in clinical trials
  • Published a news story for International Women’s Day 2021 drawing attention to sex and gender equality in research, working with Dr Catriona Waitt on videos that raised awareness of research for pregnant and lactating women
  • Commissioned a special issue of Pharmacology Matters focusing on the needs and experiences of LGBTQ+ communities (more details will be available soon)
Dr Anna Zecharia, the Society’s Director of Policy & Public Affairs who leads the Society’s EDI work, said:
 
“Since the launch of our new vision for equality, diversity and inclusion in pharmacology, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with members and others in the scientific community who are keen to partner with the Society and use their experiences and expertise to make progress together.
 

I hope creation of this new steering group will help us to continue to expand our networks and understanding. We want to use the Education and Training Committee’s ongoing review of Society curricula as a framework to identify where resources and information can support education to be more inclusive, and where there may be a need for deeper discussion and debate.

Ultimately, we want to support educators and students to be able to have rich and meaningful discussions about addressing inequalities in research and healthcare. The Society is well-placed to bring people together to do just that.”
 
Professor Steve Tucker, VP Academic Development and Chair of the Education & Training Committee, said:
 

The new steering group is really timely. I am excited to see how taking such a proactive approach to embedding inclusivity into our review of Society curricula will shape our thinking and continue the momentum of our broader ambitions for equality, diversity and inclusion. I’ve been involved in the discussions that led to creation of this group, and it’s clear to me that it could have significant implications for how we think about pharmacology education.

Students want to engage with the societal impact and implications of their discipline and recognise barriers to accessing the benefits of pharmacology research. There’s a real opportunity to support education and discussions in a wide range of areas, like how to realise the benefits of genomic medicine for all, how to reach more patients with research that is relevant to them, and ensuring proper recognition for all contributions to pharmacology.
 
I also think discussions within an education setting will have a ripple effect into other areas of the Society’s activities. We are keen to think about how this translates into other opportunities, including consideration of these issues at scientific meetings.”