01 April 2010
HYMS chosen for "other-worldly" SSC
The Hull York Medical School has been selected to pilot a new course for trainee doctors -- preparing them for the challenges of the next generation of medical practice.
The course, entitled 'Xenobiology and Xenophysiology in the Twenty-First Century', will be available as an elective module to undergraduate medical students from 1 April 2011.
HYMS has been selected to trial the course by the General Medical Council, which oversees the training of doctors in Britain.
Its focus will be on diagnosing and treating disease in extraterrestrial life forms.
Dr Menos Lagoupoulos, a HYMS senior lecturer who will be leading the module, said:
"Putting together this module has not been easy, considering that we are dealing with a large number of hypotheticals. We don't know, for instance, exactly what as-yet-undiscovered alien physiology will be like, though we can make a few informed guesses.
"But the search for extraterrestrial life has been underway for decades, and it is imperative that the next generation of young doctors in the UK is well-equipped to provide medical care for whatever sentient beings arrive on our doorstep in future years -- whatever they may be like."
Professor John Cookson, Dean of Medical Education at HYMS, added:
"HYMS has a reputation for cutting-edge medicine. We were one of the first medical schools in Britain to adopt the problem-based learning method, which has been proven to provide an excellent grounding for the next generation of doctors.
"So we are delighted to have been selected by the GMC to pilot this latest development, and we look forward to being at the forefront of innovative medical education once again."
The module will not be compulsory at first. Student-selected components, or SSCs, are a part of every UK medical school's curriculum. They allow students to broaden their understanding of subjects that do not form a part of the core medical curriculum.
But HYMS is so far the only school to offer an SSC focusing on alien life forms.
A spokesman for the General Medical Council, Dr Andrew Journey, confirmed that the course had not been ruled out for inclusion in a future revision of its national guidelines for medical training, depending on its success at Hull and York.