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Affinity groups update - Education and Skills

Published: 03 Jan 2018
Category: Affinity groups
By Michael Seed, Andrew Webb

For a Society Affinity Group, the Education & Skills Affinity Group is unusual in that it aligns with a British Pharmacological Society committee - the Education and Training Committee chaired by Dr Lisa Wallace and managed by Dr Anna Zecharia, Director of Policy & Public Affairs at the Society. This gives group members important opportunities to inform the Society of pharmacology educators’ needs and concerns, and to advise of developments in innovative practice. It also allows Lisa and Anna direct access to members for ‘on the ground expertise and opinion’.

Members of the group have both presented and reviewed the education contributions at Pharmacology 2016. See the previous issue of Pharmacology Matters for a full report on the highly successful education symposium and workshop. Members have also been very active in contributing to the development of the new pharmacology core curriculum through the expert group run by Dr Lisa Wallace and Dr Anna Zecharia. Members are now involved in the In vivo Skills Expert Group.

Following these successes, the Affinity Group is committed to ensuring that education is embedded at the Society’s annual Pharmacology meetings. This year the Education Committee and Education & and Skills Affinity Group are running a workshop ‘Innovation in pharmacology education’ on Wednesday 13 December from 9 to 11am. The session will start with updates on pharmacology education activities in 2017-18, followed by the hugely popular interactive demonstration workshop. The day will include oral and poster presentations and there will be the opportunity to take part in small group discussions that will formulate the direction of the Society’s next efforts in the education sector. What can the Society do to support you? And, what can you do to support the Society? Affinity Group members were recruited to review abstract submissions aligned with the Affinity Group for Pharmacology 2017.

The Affinity Group acts as a source of information and networking for pharmacology educators and has already been involved in discussions on the teaching of ‘wet’ and in silico organ bath practicals. 

This year pharmacology education has experienced unprecedented pressures, from the impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), to small degree programme sizes, graduate recruitment and graduate employability, and the maintenance of ‘wet lab’ practical work in pressured curricula. The Affinity Group wishes to address these issues through a series of symposia, local to university nodes of pharmacology education throughout the country. Proposals are sought for pharmacology education activities, events, and relevant symposia from across the national education sector, and further afield. These symposia would bring together universities to discuss issues topical to pharmacology education. If you would like further information on the support available from the Education & Skills Affinity Group, please do contact us on

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About the author

Michael Seed (BSc and PhD Pharmacology, University of Bath) is Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, University of East London. A past member of the Society's Council, his interests include pharmacology teaching, in vivo arthritis/inflammation modelling, human and animal research ethics, anti-rheumatic sulphated carbohydrates, and Loin Pain Haematuria Syndrome. He has Pharma experience, and worked at the William Harvey Research Institute with Biotech, EU, and Wellcome SDDI initiatives. These encompassed immune modulators, kinases and dissociated steroids. Teaching includes Bath Pharmacy/Pharmacology, QMUL MBBS, and UEL Pharmacology/Medical Physiology/Pharmaceutical Science. Co-awarded the BPS Rang Prize 2014, he is Director of the UEL Clinical Research Group.

Andrew Webb qualified from Charing Cross & Westminster Medical School in 1994 and after General Professional Training in Brighton, he started his Specialist Registrar training (ABPI-scheme) in Clinical Pharmacology & General Medicine at Barts & The London in 1998. He moved to King’s College London in 2010. Andy contributes to undergraduate teaching and assessment, particularly in pharmacology and prescribing. He is a Senior Editor for the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and he is a member of the Prescribing Skills Assessment Steering Group, established by the Medical Schools Council and the British Pharmacological Society, to develop a National Prescribing Assessment.