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Published: 15 Aug 2019
Category: Your Society
By Jono Bruun

Creating your networks

You may be aware that we have been reviewing the effectiveness of our Affinity Groups and how we can better support valuable connections and collaboration between our members. I’m delighted to say that, after gathering your feedback, we can see that there’s a clear opportunity to make a big improvement to this aspect of the Society.

We want to respond to your feedback and to raise the game for how we interact with you, as well as making it easier for you to talk to each other.

For that reason, we are planning to create a new, fresh and highly functional online community. We think that this will stimulate better networking and sharing of ideas, encourage the creation of valuable content and support scientific meetings and events across the Society.

This online network will allow us to build different forms of communities to suit all our members. These could be created according to geography, career stage, specialism and interests. We want it to be as flexible as possible, so that it can seamlessly become part of your professional and social life.

We’re currently engaged in detailed planning, and consulting with providers and stakeholders, including our members.

In the meantime, we would love to hear more from you about how you would interact with a new community or build your own group to support your research interests.  We know that a community like this needs engaged members, so we need to know what that means for you. We also need volunteers to help populate and test the online community in its early stages! If you’d like to help, please get in touch. You can also contribute to this consultation by responding to our survey.

Leading the way in education

With the launch of the new undergraduate Clinical Pharmacology BSc at St George’s, University of London just a few weeks away, I wanted to take time to recognise the huge impact that the Society has on pharmacology education, through supporting the work and needs of our members.

Led by Prof Emma Baker, Prof Iain Greenwood and Dr Mark Preece, the St George’s course is the first of its kind in the UK. It aims to teach students about every aspect of clinical pharmacology, while properly equipping them for careers or further study in drug development and research. It will address the clinical pharmacology skills gaps that we know exist - particularly around clinical trials and statistical design experience – and help to create work-ready graduates.

The Society has been instrumental in identifying clinical pharmacology skills gaps by joining forces with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Health Education England to form the Clinical Pharmacology Skills Alliance (CPSA). The CPSA has been reaching out to industry partners who have worked with us to come up with really exciting and innovative ideas to prepare students for life after university, which have been incorporated into the St George’s BSc. It is a great example of the Society doing what it does best; combining leadership and team work to support the core needs of our members and the disciplines of pharmacology, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics.

While the Clinical Pharmacology team at St George’s has been hard at work to introduce novel content, delivered in a novel way, Prof Lisa Wallace and Dr Aidan Seeley have been doing the same at Swansea University. At Swansea, they have embedded the BPS undergraduate curriculum into their Medical Pharmacology BSc, using it as a framework to redevelop existing modules and design new ones, to make sure every aspect of basic pharmacology is addressed. This works so well because the BPS curriculum is flexible, allowing educators to explore certain topics in more depth so that students can develop key strengths according to their desired research expertise.

Our curriculum can be used by the Quality Assurance Agency and external examiners as a benchmark for quality assurance, and it also encourages collaboration within pharmacology education too. It helps identify areas where students need more exposure to certain topics, and it sparks conversations between colleagues who then go on to share resources and ideas at our Educators’ Workshops.

Within just a few years, our members have driven change in teaching so that we are now closer than ever to ensuring that all graduates within the global pharmacology community have a consistent experience that will see them through to bright futures. Thanks to our members’ work, we are at the forefront of clinical, research and basic pharmacology education, which will support the development and safe and effective use of medicines for many years to come.

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Published: 15 Aug 2019
Category: Your Society
By Jono Bruun

About the author

Jono Brüün

Jono joined the Society in 2009 as Head and then Director of Communications. He became CEO in June 2012 and is responsible for delivering the Society’s five-year strategic plan across seven main areas of development, including its plan to diversify revenue. As CEO, Jono has overall responsibility for strategic and financial management, business development, human resources, policy development, governance and the oversight of projects that are designed to support the UK and international pharmacology community.

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