Leaders in Medical Education

Professor Trudie E. Roberts, Leeds Institute of Medical Education

Osmosis Team
Aug 29, 2014

Professor Trudie E. Roberts serves as the director of the Leeds Institute of Medical Education. She is also the president of the Association for Medical Education in Europe. Her research focuses on professionalism, evaluation, and educational transitions in the medical field. We were thrilled to speak with Professor Roberts about her experiences with medical trainees and her insight about international medical education.

How did you decide on a career in medical education?

This was by accident. I have never had a mistress plan for my career and I have really taken up opportunities as they have arisen. I have always greatly enjoyed teaching and when the opportunity to change direction to become Professor of Medical Education at Leeds came up I just grabbed the opportunity.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your position?

I would say it’s watching young students develop into graduates. It is a source of great pride and pleasure to me that these talented individuals go on to improve health care delivery for people not only in the UK, but also more globally.

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As director of the Leeds Institute of Medical Education, what do you see as the biggest challenge to medical students throughout the world?

I think the biggest challenge for future graduates remains very much as it was in the past - that is to keep politicians out of health care, to stop them interfering so that healthcare ceases to be a political football. As you will see, my generation has failed completely in this.

How do you foresee technology playing a role in education over the next few years?

I think technology and the access to information it provides is the biggest revolution since the invention of the printing press. It has changed the way all people learn, not only professionals, but also patients. This ready access to information will produce interesting challenges to medical professionals and will mean that helping patients make sense of the information that they obtain via the internet and turn it into personal knowledge will become increasingly important. Consequently communication will become more important. The future use of technology in education and particularly in health education is extremely exciting.

What changes would you make to improve the quality of medical education?

If I could increase the amount of time for teaching I would. To deliver high quality in anything requires committed individuals who are respected and valued for what they do and given the time to do it well. I would also involve patients much more in our work. When patients appreciate that for excellent healthcare delivery you need high quality education and training, they are our best advocates and they influence policy and politicians. Employers will consequently pay more attention to education and value teachers providing them with more time for their education and teaching activities.