Bioethics & Society alumni series – featuring Gemma McKenzie, ESCR funded PhD candidate at King’s

Gemma McKenzie 2019

Gemma McKenzie, PhD candidate in the Department of Nursing at King’s

Gemma McKenzie (Bioethics & Society, class of 2017) is an ESRC funded PhD candidate at King’s (Department of Nursing) exploring women’s narratives of freebirthing in the UK.

“I first had the idea for my PhD subject when I was working in an entirely different and unrelated career. However, I had no academic contacts, no bioethics background and no idea where to start when searching for funding. I contacted Silvia and immediately knew that a post graduate qualification in Bioethics and Society at King’s would provide me with a solid foundation of knowledge, while also offering me the opportunity to explore my own interests in bioethical issues relating to pregnancy and birth.

The course enabled me to make valuable contacts and refine my ideas. Silvia was a fantastic support in helping me put together my funding application and successfully win a four year scholarship to pursue my research idea.

It has been two years since I graduated, but I still regularly rely on the knowledge I gained from Bioethics and Society, and Silvia continues to be a great support as I pursue my academic career.”

Gemma has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in law and has previously worked in the legal sector in the UK and abroad. She completed her Bioethics and Society postgraduate certificate in 2017 and is currently in the second year of her ESRC funded PhD at the Florence Nightingale School of Midwifery, Nursing and Palliative Care at King’s.

Applications for the Bioethics & Society MSc for entry September 2019 are open. For info contact Dr Silvia Camporesi.

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2019 Bioethics & Society alumni series – Featuring Richard Gibson, PhD candidate in Bioethics & Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Manchester


Richard Gibson

Richard Gibson, Bioethics & Society alumnus (class of 2016), currently a PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Law at the University of Manchester, UK, says about the programme:

“Before undertaking the MA in Bioethics & Society, my primary academic interest revolved around the ethical and social implications of radical human enhancement. However, as the course progressed I found the inverse of such a topic to be more interesting; not questions of how science and technology can make people ‘better’ than healthy, but rather, how do we understand what it is to be healthy in the first place, and specifically, how the idea of ‘the normal’ influences such a concept. This newfound approach stuck with me throughout the MA, and I found it to be such a rewarding approach that it now forms the foundation of my PhD thesis. In short, my PhD examines the ethical, social, and legal implications of providing therapeutic, elective healthy limb amputation in cases of Body Integrity Identity Disorder. To do this, I primarily use the work of Georges Canguilhem, as well as theoretical analysis from principlism, disability theory, and the medical humanities. Pretty much every aspect of my PhD, in one way or another, draws from the knowledge and skills I gained during my time at King’s, courtesy of the Bioethics & Society programme. Due to the course being based in a social science department, the variety of subjects, authors, approaches, and schools of thought which are drawn upon is excellent as well as unique. King’s itself has a vibrant research culture in which those on the MA were wholeheartedly encouraged to participate. And, as a result of the university’s central London situation, it provides students with unique opportunities to apply their research in the broader societal and policy capacity, as well as drawing the highest quality staff, both visiting and permanent. It is safe to say that without the Bioethics & Society MA, I wouldn’t be doing a PhD in a subject I find captivating, teaching at a Russel Group University, or giving both domestic and overseas presentations. To conclude, I cannot recommend the course, nor endorse the hard work of Silvia Camporesi and the others that make the programme possible, highly enough”.

You can follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardBGibson

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Gerontology MSc alumni Rochelle Amour discusses her work on dementia in the Caribbean

The MSc programme is a good idea for both clinical and non-clinical professionals. I’m a Caribbean national with a background in psychology and writing, who enrolled at IoG because I was interested in ageing policy. I found the programme extraordinarily strategic. I met guest lecturers from international NGO’s, universities and local hospitals who offered insight on issues applicable to my region. I also learned from my peers. I sat in classes with doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and gained insight into their work with older patients.
Ageing is an extremely diverse and interconnected issue- the teaching staff at IoG gets this. My interest in policy was supported by robust training in research, as, of course, the two go hand in hand. My lecturers were progressive and very supportive, making themselves available when needed so I could do well, despite my initial aversion to statistics.
After completing my programme and returning to Trinidad, where there was very little awareness of ageing issues, I co-founded a company with a local clinician. We worked with other local professionals to offer multi-disciplinary services like retirement seminars, dementia care training and awareness campaigns.  This work eventually led to an offer from the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, where I now serve as a Research Fellow on the STRiDE dementia project.
STRiDE- Strengthening responses to dementia in developing countries– is a multidisciplinary research study being conducted in seven developing countries. Jamaica is the only Caribbean site. The project is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, UK and is being led by the London School of Economics, with a colleague from King’s College London serving on the project’s international advisory group(!)
In terms of my writing, I continue to flex those muscles in guest blog posts for the International Longevity Centre, UK and in my work with Alzheimer’s Jamaica. And in terms of other international opportunities, I’ve been able to present at conferences like the International Federation on Ageing’s Global Conference in Toronto, and have recently returned from an incredible STRiDE team meeting in South Africa. My MSc programme undoubtedly provided a strong base for me in terms of networking, competencies and international perspectives. I suspect it can do the same for you, too.
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New Videos: Discover Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s

Discover our Global Health & Social Justice MSc:

& learn more about Gerontology here at King’s:

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New Videos: Discover Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s

Hear from Sophie about our Medicine Health & Public Policy MSc:

& from Lienkie about our Bioethics & Society MSc:

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