Peer-supported learning during ‘Health Mela’

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SUMMARYBackground:The Lancashire Gujarat Health Users Forum has organised several successful ‘Health Mela’ events in Preston, where medical students actively volunteered in health-promotion activities. The participating students enjoyed these events, but we were keen to assess whether students derived any benefit from it in developing their clinical skills.Methods:A focus group of 12 medical students with varied experience was set up following one such event and a semi-structured interview was conducted. Their experiences were analysed qualitatively and grouped into various themes.Results:The students found that the ‘Health Mela’ was very useful to increase their clinical skills and communication skills. It also improved their understanding of preventative medicine, which is not well covered in their curriculum. In addition, these events developed teamworking and leadership skills. Students were also very pleased because they could use their personal skills creatively in the planning and smooth running of the ‘Health Mela’.Discussion:We believe that medical students should be encouraged to form groups to engage in health-promotional activities in the community. This will no doubt be beneficial to the community, but in addition will also improve the students' knowledge and skills, which will help them to be successful doctors in the future.

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