Guest blog: Dr.eam Senior 2022 – virtual medical applications conference

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Today on the MDS Outreach blog we have a post, from Alicia De Vidal, a medical student at the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Widening Access to Medical Sciences (BWAMS) Dr.eam Senior 2022 Conference Chair.

On Saturday 1st October 2022, Birmingham Widening Access to Medical Sciences (BWAMS) society hosted its annual flagship, free-to-attend Dr.eam Senior Conference for Year 13 students who were interested in how to begin their journey into the field of Medicine. This virtual event, held on Zoom Webinar, was a great success, with over a hundred attendees and 12 brilliant speakers who delivered a range of interesting and informative talks and panels.

The Dr.eam Senior Conference aims to provide the opportunity for state school students to gain an insight into Medicine and other healthcare related careers. If we were to judge by the number of questions the panel answered, which were in excess of 150, there would be no doubt that the aim of the event was achieved.

As Conference Chair, I began planning the first event of the academic year in August 2022 with the help of the Vice-President of BWAMS who acted as an overseer and provided assistance with the conference. We prepared a clear and concise plan to map the direction of the event and an effective method to communicate with our target audience.

The conference was a one-day event from 9am to 3pm. It was filled with a variety of subject areas, from how to ace the BMAT to life as a doctor. A fantastic set of medical students and doctors from Birmingham and other parts of the UK contributed to the conference, delivering knowledgeable sessions and sharing unforgettable experiences for not only the Year 13 students, but also for our volunteers who learned a thing or two – at least I did anyway. We were amazed at the turnout and the level of engagement of the students, and some questions truly sparked deep thinking from some of our panelists.

There were two aspects of the 6-hour conference that really resonated with me and made me think. The first was the ‘Introduction to Medical Ethics’ talk by Dr Heather McNeilly, a lecturer from the University of Birmingham. She mentioned that by using genetic engineering to eradicate a certain condition, such as deafness, one is essentially executing genocide of that population. This simply teaches the importance of balancing medical ethics with medical conditions before issuing a prognosis.

The second part that really struck a chord was the ‘Dealing with Rejection and the Importance of Reflection’ talk by Dr Sabena Jameel-Choudhury, another lecturer from the University of Birmingham Medical School. She shared her experience of some past failures and her imparted wisdom in the benefit of hindsight. It reminded me of my own past challenges, brought the acceptance that some failures are inevitable, and made me realise that surviving through such past failures has actually shaped me into the person I am today: a medical student and future doctor. This provided me with the opportunity to reflect on how I have dealt with those failures and how I can and will use them in the future to strengthen myself.

To conclude, I would like to thank everyone who made Dr.eam Senior a success this year. Thank you to all the students who attended: it was our pleasure to give you a taste of Medicine and the flavour of what life is like as a medical student; and more importantly, to deliver to you useful information about applying and getting onto this course. I would also like to thank our brilliant speakers for taking the time out of their busy schedules to speak at our conference and answer the many questions that were sent throughout the day. Thank you to the University’s Medical and Dentistry Outreach team for their opinions and support in the preparation of this conference. In particular, I would like to thank my conference team, Usman Raja, Ashmethaa Ashokkumar, Riazul Zannat, and Andeep Ghataure, for their hard work planning, organising, and running this event – without them, much of this would not have been possible. This year’s Dr.eam Senior Conference has been another success!

By Alicia De Vidal, BWAMS Dr.eam Senior 2022 Conference Chair

To find out more about BWAMS and the work we do to widen access into Medicine and healthcare degrees, take a look at your website ( or follow us on our social media platforms (Instagram: @bwamsbirmingham, @dreambwams; Twitter: @bwamsbirmingham).

MDS Outreach can be found using the following links:
Twitter: @UoB_MDSOutreach
Instagram: @uob_mdsoutreach

Author: Clare Ray

Clare Ray is the College of Medical and Dental Sciences lead for Outreach and Widening Participation.


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