Nominated for her leadership of the primary care education team at Imperial College London, Dr Sonia Kumar has come up with creative solutions to attract medical students to the profession.
And they are badly needed, with numbers of filled trainee places falling across the country. The south London GP has been overseeing GP attachments and teaching at Imperial, while working on expanding the role of primary care in the undergraduate curriculum at the college.
Dr Kumar firmly believes that undergraduate exposure is a key to promoting general practice to the next generation of doctors. As part of this, she has helped create attachments that will launch in 2016 to give students an extended period in general practice.
The idea for these stemmed from a pilot Dr Kumar ran this year, pairing third-year medical students with third-year nursing students. The students deliver health coaching to vulnerable at-risk patients in the community. ‘I feel so proud to have seen my idea flourish into a pilot,’ she says.
Dr Kumar is also exploring whether medical students can be physician associates, describing students as an ‘untapped workforce’. This, she says, would ‘provide students with real grounded experience with patients and also provide a needed community workforce’.