Debbie Aitken (she/her) is Course Director for the MSc Medical Education and a Senior Departmental Lecturer in Medical Education.

She is also Co-Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Belonging (EDB) Committee in the Department of Education, Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the Medical School, a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA).

Prior to taking up her post at the University of Oxford, Debbie was the Director of the Clinical Educator Programme (CEP) at Edinburgh Medical School. She also had numerous roles within the undergraduate medical programme (MBChB) at Edinburgh, particularly in relation to EDI, student wellbeing, and undergraduate and postgraduate Medical Education research projects. She has also worked as a Medical Educationalist at the Royal College of Physicians of London, and as a classroom teacher in a number of schools. Debbie has won a number of awards for her work in EDI and teaching: most recently the NHS Education Scotland Medical Education Award for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Other awards of note are the NHS Education for Scotland Medical Education Award for Process and Development Implementation (for the CEP), and an ASME Travelling Fellowship which led to collaboration and teaching with Yale Teaching and Learning Center and Yale Medical School Department of General Internal Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Weill Cornell Medicine. Debbie has also worked extensively within the wider international Medical Education community, including the University of Health Sciences, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Hong Kong Academy of Medicine; and as part of the IDEAL+ Erasmus project at Université de Paris.

Debbie completed a BA in History and English at the University of Stirling, an MA in Language, Literature & Civilisation at Universit√© Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux III, a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) with Qualified Teacher Status in Primary Education at the University of Durham, an MSc in Digital Learning at the University of Edinburgh, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her PhD in Medical Education at the University of Cambridge on ‘Generational differences in perceptions of medical student experiences of clinical attachments in surgery’.


Book chapters
  • Tang, C., Aitken, D., & Skinner, J. (2015). Teaching. In The Unofficial Guide to Medical Research, Audit and Teaching.

  • Journal articles
  • Aitken, D., Shamaz, H., Panchdhari, A., Afonso de Barros, S., Hodge, G., Finch, Z., & George, R. (2023). Twelve tips for developing active bystander intervention training for medical students. Medical Teacher, 45(8), 822-829.

  • Hussain, Z., Ng, D., Alnafisee, N., Sheikh, Z., Ng, N., Aitken, D., Khan, A., Hussain, A., & Sheikh, A. (2021). Effectiveness of virtual and augmented reality for improving knowledge and skills in medical students: protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open, 11(8).

  • Ross, M., Macrae, C., Scott, J., Renwick, L., Moffat, M., Needham, G., Scott, H., Shippey, B., Jackson, C., Edgar, S., Aitken, D., Evans, P., & Irvine, S. (2014). Core competencies in teaching and training for doctors in Scotland: a review of the literature and stakeholder survey. Medical Teacher, 36(6), 527-538.

  • Andargachew, E., Macfarlane, K., & Aitken, D. (n.d.). Using simulation to identify and respond to microaggressions. International Journal of Healthcare Simulation.