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Department of Education

Debbie Aitken

Course Director, MSc Medical Education

College Affiliation: Harris Manchester College

Debbie Aitken (she/her) is Course Director for the MSc Medical Education and a 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 Université 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’.

Doctoral Applications

Debbie welcomes doctoral applications from students interested in the following research areas:

  • Equity, diversity, culture and belonging in Medical Education
  • Teaching and learning in Medical Education
  • Ethnography
  • Generational differences between medical students and medical educators

Publications:

  • Book chapters

    • Tang, CM, Aitken, D, Skinner, J (2015) “Teaching”, In: The Unofficial Guide to Medical Research, Audit and Teaching.

  • Conference papers

    • Macfarlane, K, Andargache, E, Aitken, D (2022) “638 Challenging microaggressions in the clinical environment: developing an educational intervention for medical students”, Paediatric Educators’ Special Interest Group. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2022-rcpch.625

    • Andargachew, E, Macfarlane, K, O'Neill, T, Afonso De Barros, S, Aitken, D (2022) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Clinical Environment: Educational Intervention for Medical Students.

    • Afonso De Barros, S, Aitken, D, Kluth, D (2021) Active bystander intervention - workshops development.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/tct.13424

    • Aitken, D, Afonso De Barros, S (2021) Equipping medical students to be Active Bystanders by co-creating training.

    • McAdam, H, Aitken, D (2021) Recruiting Medical Students from Underrepresented Backgrounds to a Project to Identify Support Challenges Amongst their Peers whilst Encouraging Early Career Engagement in Psychiatry.

    • McAdam, H, More, S, Shoveller, L, Loy, G, McKinnon, S, Aitken, D (2021) From Peer-Support to Peer-Leadership: how medical students from underrepresented backgrounds can provide fresh insights and improvements to the curriculum, healthcare and beyond.

    • Aitken, D, Harden, J, Young, I, Shoveller, L, O'Neill, T, Cunningham-Burley, S (2020) Developing an inclusive curriculum: LGBTQ+ Teaching and Learning in the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum.

    • Aitken, D (2019) Generational differences in perceptions of medical student experiences of clinical attachments in surgery.

  • Journal articles

    • Hussain, Z, Ng, DM, Alnafisee, N, Sheikh, Z, Ng, N, Khan, A, Hussain, A, Aitken, D, 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) e047004-e047004.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047004

    • Ross, MT, 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.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.3109/0142159x.2014.907879

  • Posters

    • Aitken, D, Han, M, Mautsi, C, Porth, E (2019) Understanding the impact of BME diversity in a UK medical school: an ethnographic approach.

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