Muslim Doctors Association (MDA)

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Co-creating Inclusive Learning Environments for Muslim Medical Students

We had a brilliant turn out from heads of medical schools across the UK on our event held jointly with the University of Manchester ISOC and AskDoc “Co-creating Inclusive Learning Environments for Muslim Medical Students” as part of a series of events we helped for Islamophobia Awareness Month 2021.

We had such an inspiring panel of student, faculty and chaplain speakers who shared powerful testimonies of personal and collective challenges and described how they came together to channel these difficult experiences to create a solution- focused resource “The Manchester Muslim Medical Student Guide”.

Sections from the guide that were highlighted during the webinar included:

1. Starting university, accommodation, Freshers Week and the alienation Muslim students may feel during this period.
2. Prayer and fasting and the central role these play in the day to day life of Muslim students.
3. Dress codes and variation in Trust policies for students on clinical placements- headscarf (hijab), Bare Below the Elbows policy and beards (especially in the context of Covid and PPE), and the impact these can have on learning opportunities.
4. Islamophobia- the diverse manifestations including staff creating a false dichotomy between religious and student identity and the moral injury and distress this can create for Muslim medical students.

There were strong calls to action to academic staff, faculty and doctors to become authentic allies, learn and reflect through creating safe spaces for listening and holding difficult discussions, adopt an attitude of cultural humility, and to collaborate, act and empower the next generation of doctors.

And we’re pleased to report that many medical schools have come forward and responded to our call for action, expressing their solidarity and commitment to embedding the learning from the guide and replicating it in their medical school to support Muslim students.

EDI work requires support and sustained efforts. And so in this spirit, we are creating a community of practice to learn, share, embed and scale best practice, as well as support each other in the journey towards inclusion and belonging where each medical student thrives and becomes the best version of themself and the doctor they want to be.

Panellists

Dr Enam Haque ( Medical School Faculty)
Dr Enam Haque is a GP & Clinical Senior Lecturer in Manchester. He is co-chair of the new Medical Schools Council EDI Alliance, which aims to improve inclusivity in medical schools in the UK. He is Chair of AskDoc, a Manchester based community organisation working on health inequalities and is also on the committee for DIMAH (Diversity in Medicine and Health).

Mohammed Ullah (Medical School Chaplain)
Mohammed Ullah is the Muslim chaplain to the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. He is involved in student welfare issues affecting Muslim students on campus and is a co-author of the Muslim Medical Student Guide.

Abdul Hadi Kafagi (Final Year Medical Student)
Abdul is a final year medical student at the University of Manchester. He is involved with the Student Islamic Society and other Muslim organisations across Manchester. He is co-author of the Muslim Medical Student Guide.

Aziz Al-Qaisia (Fourth Year Medical Student)
Aziz is a fourth year medical student at the University of Manchester and is co-authorsof the Muslim Medical Student Guide. He is involved with ISoc, Fosis North and a number of Manchester Muslim community and youth organisations.

Maliha Momo (Final Year Medical Student)
Maliha is a final year Medical at the University of Manchester. She is one of the co- authors the uslim Medical Student Guide is involved in Manchester University’s Islamic Society, and other organisations in and around Manchester. She is also a weekend Islamic Studies teacher at one of her local institutes.

Sara Bahadur (Third Year Medical Student)
Sara is a third year medical student at the University of Manchester. She is a co-author of the Medical Student Guide.

Moderator
Dr Hina J Shahid
Hina is a portfolio GP who also works in research, medical education, public health and humanitarian medicine. She is a GP Appraiser, tutor at Imperial College School of Medicine and Chair of the Muslim Doctors Association. Her research interest is the impact of Islamophobia on health and healthcare systems. She holds a Masters degree in Public Health with a focus on refugee health and health inequalities from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and holds diplomas in women’s health, children’s health and sexual and reproductive health. She is a consultant to several national and international academic, professional, regulatory and third sector organisations on health policy, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and culturally sensitive health promotion.

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