GHSM student joins volunteers delivering frontline NHS care as part of pioneering hospital experiment

Global Health & Social Medicine graduate, Deborah Olubiyi recently appeared on the BBC’s The Hospital Experiment looking after patients and assisting staff in busy NHS wards.

The Big Hospital Experiment (main)
Volunteers on the BBC’s ‘The Big Hospital Experiment’

For Deborah Olubiyi, the six-week experience at the Royal Derby Hospital was a great way to gain practical experience to complement the theory and policy knowledge she had learnt during her degree.

None of the 14 volunteers on the BBC’s The Hospital Experiment, aged between 18 and 24, had worked on a hospital ward before and some were yet to have a full-time job of any type. They were given classroom training to absorb how to complete basic observations, such as blood pressure and dementia care. The volunteers were then assigned a clinical team and under direct supervision, applied their newly learnt skills in maternity wards, A&E, paediatrics, elderly care and more

As a recent Global Health & Social Medicine BSc graduate, Deborah had picked up the theory to inform her dream of working in health management and policy. However, volunteering in the hospital helped her to gain practical experience on the frontline.

In episode one, Deborah was sent to the colorectal ward, where patients are treated for diseases of the stomach and colon. Her first assignment was to assist in cleaning a leaking stoma bag. Later in the series, we also see her building rapport with the patients as she cared for them, including those in the end of life ward.

Deborah Olubiyi
Deborah Olubiyi

Young people can be change agents. I wanted to show this, even if I had to step outside my comfort zone to do so. I came to the wards with a global health and policy background, but I wanted to be at the frontline and get an insight into what happens on the delivery end of policy implementation – by getting experience of shifts and speaking to the patients. This, I believe, can better inform my policy work.– Deborah Olubiyi

“My degree allowed me to explore both the social and biomedical science perspective to health. I think it is important to have a holistic understanding of what industry you are going into and not just rely on classroom-based learning. By partaking in the social experiment, I experienced the clinical side of things and now have the ability to tap into those different spheres.”

It may have been a challenge for Deborah to deal with a leaking stoma bag or to know how to care for someone at the end of their life, but she was equipped to recognise the importance of the NHS in the UK and how it impacts multiple lives on a daily basis.

“During my degree, I learnt about the different types of healthcare systems around the world, so I was able to walk into the NHS understanding the benefits and shortfalls of the NHS. I quickly learnt that the NHS is a national treasure – because the ability to have free healthcare at the point of need is a privilege that not many countries have.

“The best thing about the entire experience for me was knowing we were making an impact in the hospital. I really liked coming into contact with all the patients and all the people that I met. I want to thank the staff at Royal Derby Hospital and the BBC for giving me this opportunity.”

So what does Deborah see herself doing next?

“I would like to do a master’s in the near future. Soon, I will also be starting a new role at Parliament. I definitely see myself in health management and policy, where I feel I can make the greatest impact.”

The Royal Derby Hospital announced that it will be adopting the clinical volunteer training programme.

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Event: Preconception health and healthy life trajectories (HeLTI study)

25 September 2019 | 12:30-13:30 | Anatomy Museum

Join Professor Shane Norris as he explores health interventions before conception, which are proving to help offset child obesity. He will also talk about how to optimise the preconception health of women in order to offset health risks and set up healthier trajectories for their offspring.

Find more information

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Rachel Siden Bioethics & Society alumna talks about her experience as study coordinator for the “Healthy Aging and Neighborhood Study” at UMass Medical School


Rachel Siden, Bioethics & Society alumna (class of 2017)

We are delighted to announce the career trajectory of Rachel Siden, Bioethics & Society alumna (class of 2017), at the intersection of bioethics, public health, ageing and society.
Rachel is currently a Study Coordinator for “The Healthy Aging and Neighborhood Study“at UMass Medical School in Worcester, in MA. The study, funded by the US National Institute on Aging, focuses on fall risk in the elderly, and investigates how neighbourhood environment and activity level are related to fall risk and overall health.

This is what Rachel says about her job and how the Bioethics & Society programme prepared her for the job:

“There is a lot of emphasis on social determinants of health in this study, which my bioethics degree in the GHSM  department more than prepared me for! My modules and coursework trained me to look beyond individual health to the social context that surrounds it, and I do that at my job every day: Could increased fall risk be linked to something as simple as living in a neighbourhood with neglected sidewalks or streets? How greatly does income level or living in an unsafe neighbourhood impact someone’s ability to get out of the house and exercise regularly?

I do recruitment by presenting the study in different places in the community, and then I do field visits where I meet with participants, give them surveys, and give them a device that measures and tracks their location and physical activity for a week.

I absolutely love my job, because I get to meet many interesting people and learn an incredible amount about aging. I am also learning about the process for running a study from start to finish and all that goes into it. I also love the people I work with, and my supervisor is a wonderful mentor to me by giving me projects that will help build my skills and my resume. Right now, we are working together on a paper on our methods for recruiting participants from minority populations. The principal investigator, Dr. Wenjun Li, had the very ambitious goal of recruiting at least 33% from minority populations, and we managed to exceed the goal and enrol a very racially diverse group of participants.

I have also just finished working on a small second study for the Massachusetts Department of Health surveying Massachusetts-based pharmacies, and I still occasionally write for the UK-based website BioNews [as you can see a list of my articles here].

I have recently decided to apply for my PhD, so I know this fall will be a busy one for me! I want to continue studying issues in bioethics and I potentially want focus on issues at the intersections of religion and medicine. I’ve already spoken to an administrator from a medical anthropology program that I am interested in, and she confirmed that my MA in Bioethics & Society will be an excellent plus.

Overall, I’m so thankful to have a job in the health research field that I enjoy, especially one that has hired me full-time and gives me all of the benefits and security that comes with it. For now, life is pretty wonderful, and I’m so thankful for my bioethics education and where it has brought me!”

Congratulations Rachel for everything you’ve achieved so far and best of luck  for your  upcoming PhD applications!

You can contact Rachel at:

and follow her on twitter at:

You can learn more about the Bioethics & Society programme here:

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Congratulations to Dr Frances Butcher Bioethics & Society alumna for being awarded a prestigious Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship for Health Professionals

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Dr Frances Butcher

Dr Frances Butcher, Bioethics & Society alumna (class of 2016) and currently a Specialty Registrar/Doctor in Public Health at the Oxford School of Public Health, has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship for Health Professionals to fund a DPhil/PhD at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, for a project titled “An Ethics Account of Global Health Security”, under the supervision of Professor Mike Parker and Dr Patricia Kingori.

This is what she says about the Bioethics and Society programme:

“The Master’s in Bioethics & Society at King’s College London has been instrumental to both my career and successfully applying for this fellowship and DPhil.

In public health practice, I don’t think ethical aspects are always given the high degree of attention they deserve, but the master’s equipped me with the ability to identify, approach, and analysis issues I encounter in my practice.

I’m now excited to combine my practice in public health with my research interest in bioethics by considering ethical dimensions of global health security for my DPhil.

As well as research skills for writing the application and defending it at interview (which have been invaluable!), the ongoing support I’ve received whilst at King’s, and even after graduating, really makes you appreciate just how much the faculty care about your future and aid you in your career.

Recently, I’m been working on developing an biosecurity eLearning project, ‘Act like a Pro’ which brought me back to King’s to film Dr Filippa Lentzos whom was one of the lecturers on the master’s. As well being a key biosecurity expert filmed for the eLearning scenarios, Filippa’s been a fantastic mentor for this project.

Opportunities like this eLearning and the DPhil just wouldn’t have been possible without King’s Master’s in Bioethics & Society”.

Frances graduated from Brighton and Sussex Medical School and worked as a clinical doctor in Bristol before studying Bioethics & Society at King’s in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine. In 2015/16, Frances was the recipient of a competitive Postgraduate Bursary to support her studies at King’s College London.

For info about the Bioethics & Society programme contact Dr Silvia Camporesi.

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Announcing the 2019 Lewis Headley Public Lecture “Complex Decisions in Paediatric End of Life Care” Friday September 20th

We are delighted to announce the 2019 Institute of Medical Ethics Lewis Headley Public Lecture, which will take place on Friday September 20th at Imperial College and focus on the important and timely topic of “Complex Decisions in Paediatric End of Life Care”.

This year’s lecture will feature a panel consisting of Stephanie Nimmo, Giles Birchley and Emma Nottingham and will be chaired by Prof Dominic Wilkinson.

This event is free to attend but booking is required. Click here to book.


5.00-5.45 Registration
5.45-6.45 Lecture
6.45-7.15 AGM
7.15 Drinks reception


Professor Dominic Wilkinson, Professor of Medical Ethics, Director of Medical Ethics, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. Dominic is a physician specialising in newborn intensive care and medical ethics. He is a consultant neonatologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and Director of Medical Ethics at the University of Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.


Stephanie Nimmo: Stephanie is an award-winning, London-based writer, freelance journalist, marketing consultant, trainer, public speaker & campaigner. She is focussed mainly on the health & social care sectors with an emphasis on issues around paediatric palliative care, disability, learning disability, autism and issues affecting carers.

Giles Birchley: Giles is a children’s intensive care nurse who has been working in bioethics at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Ethics in Medicine since 2012. The ethical dilemmas surrounding children’s medical treatment, as well as wider issues raised by decision-making on behalf of others, are a key interest.

Emma Nottingham: Emma is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Winchester. Her research specialises in children’s rights and medical law & ethics. She is particularly interested in the legal & ethical implications of medical decision-making concerning children.

For info about this event write to:

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