For over a decade, a team of senior clinicians based in Oxford had been making annual visits for one week at a time to Al Quds Medical School, primarily to assist with external validation of final examinations and to provide intensive bedside teaching in history and examination skills. In March 2011, a small contingent of current Oxford medical students were invited to join this annual visit. Based upon their observations of the various difficulties encountered by students to access clinical learning environments, the team looked for ways of supporting medical education in this unique geopolitical context that would sustain educational exchange between the short annual visits.
Using existing distance-learning technology developed and pioneered by MedicineAfrica for use with partners in several Africa countries, the first eight pilot tutorials with a small group of twelve fourth-year Palestinian medical students were held between March and June 2012. A cumulative total of over 140 hours of student contact time were delivered during this period by four clinical tutors.
During our second term (September – December 2012), the program expanded to include over fifty Palestinian medical students and twelve Oxford-based clinical tutors. A total of 42 tutorials and approximately 350 hours of student contact time were delivered. Throughout, we have gathered feedback from participants in the program, and adapted our model to their requirements.