For the past ten years, Dr. Sam Lawson of London, a longtime friend and supporter of BGU, has been granting fellowships to BGU medical students, enabling them to travel to London for an elective at the health practice of Dr. Laurence Buckman, a family practitioner and Chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) General Practitioners Committee. Dr. Buckman takes the BGU students under his wing, allowing them to experience the wide range of services provided by his team, observe the medical staff at work, attend consultations, accompany him on home visits, and, as time goes on, to actually see patients alone and recommend treatment. As a young medical student, Dr. Buckman did his own elective in Thailand, and had an amazing experience there, after which he promised himself that “I will also give something back when it's my turn.”
The Lawson Medical Fellowship gives the students an outstanding opportunity to broaden their horizons, exposing them to what is happening in other health systems in the world, says Prof. Aya Biderman of the Department of Family Medicine at the Faculty of Health Sciences, adding that studying medicine in London is especially fascinating for BGU students due to the city's great multi-cultural diversity. Indeed, Dr. Buckman’s clinic treats patients from many different nationalities, from Israelis to Japanese, Indian, and even Iranian. “We are truly the U.N!” declares Dr. Buckman.
Dr. Buckman visited BGU this week to meet this year's Lawson fellows, fifth-year medical students Nir Pillar of Haifa and Hilmi Alnsasra of Alsera, an unrecognized village near Beer-Sheva. In April, 2010, Nir and Hilmi will land in London for their six-week elective at the clinic. In addition to hands-on training, they will accompany Dr. Buckman on a trip to Belfast, to meet with the BMA Committee of Irish GPs. Dr. Buckman also plans to take them sightseeing, to Cambridge and around London at night, “which is entirely different from London in the daylight!”
Dr. Buckman says he is very impressed with the BGU medical students who have visited him over the years. “I have noticed that Israeli students, who begin their studies after military service, are more focused on what they want to pursue, are more mature, more willing to study, and more determined than medical students from British universities.” In addition, he notes that "the training at BGU's medical school is closer to the new model of British medical training than that of other Israeli medical schools. Whereas other medical schools in Israel continue to train in what we refer to as 'the old curriculum,' BGU students study the 'new curriculum,' as we do, learning various areas of medicine in parallel, and seeing patients from day one. BGU students who have been at his clinic ask very in-depth questions the likes of which I would expect a GP trainee to ask. They are extremely sensitive to patients of various cultural backgrounds, and are much more aware of their different needs than our British students.”
Nir and Hilmi are looking forward to visiting London for the first time, and, thanks to the wonderful supporters of this program, the experience is sure to assist them on their path to becoming brilliant physicians and give them some great stories to tell in the future.