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MSEC – what is it?

I remember stumbling through each letter of the MSEC acronym (Medical School Education Consultancy) in my first interview for its new Business Manager position before being corrected by Divisional Manager Heather Mitchell, ‘we call it M-SEC here, it’s easier’.

This new MSEC acronym I was grappling with was quickly joined by an avalanche of acronyms like the MRCP, MBBS, GMC, TIPS (‘well it’s TtTs now, but everyone still calls it TIPS’, which added to my confusion), BMJ, BMA, PLAB, PTTLS and they kept coming.

MSEC logo

Once I was confident with getting all the MSEC letters the right way round I ventured out to meet my new colleagues in the Medical School. Everybody I met was warm and welcoming, but I started to find that when I said I was the new MSEC Business Manager people’s faces would slip from smiles into a more quizzical look. Another response was ‘I’ve heard of it, but I’m not sure what it does’. Reflecting on my own troubles with acronyms and appreciating MSEC was still quite new it seemed an understandable response.

So what is it? And who are we?

Our current web page states that:

‘The UCL Medical School Education Consultancy harnesses UCL Medical School expertise to offer a range of consultancy services designed to enable, inform and support high-quality, scientifically rigorous and patient-focused education and training for doctors. Our expertise is offered in a variety of ways including face-to-face courses, online and blended learning resources, tailor-made training and support packages, and visiting consultancy, and it can be tailored to particular educational needs. We also provide state of the art selection, training and assessment delivery facilities in our purpose-built, central London education and assessment centre.’

MSEC is all these things, but it is also an opportunity. An opportunity for all categories of staff across UCLMS to develop their ideas, experience and skills to support people and institutions who want to improve and develop both overseas and closer to home. It is also an opportunity for UCLMS to celebrate what it is best at and to share this with a wider audience.

Already we have begun working with Ningbo University and the 12 doctors who are currently here attending a staff development programme. The feedback we have received from them and their host university has been very positive. It has also been great to see how everybody has got involved from across UCLMS and given their time and expertise to support this programme. This has not just been a one way process, as more recently the Ningbo doctors have been running some Mandarin language classes for Medical school staff.

In recent months Professor Jane Dacre has been flying around the world banging the MSEC drum and I am no longer surprised to get emails from India, China, Burma, Abu Dhabi, Iraq, Egypt, Brazil and Basildon, from people enquiring about how MSEC might be able to help them. To date we have received enquiries from 16 different countries.

MSEC also has an Executive Board, Chaired by Professor Sir John TookeJN headshot and includes representatives from UCLMS, SLMS, UCLC, UCL’s Office for International Affairs (OfIA) and external key stakeholders.

As a unit within UCLMS, we are very much in our infancy, but we are learning fast and gaining valuable experience every day. This is a very exciting venture for the Medical School and I hope as many of you can get involved as possible as we continue to grow and develop the consultancy service.

If you would like any further information about MSEC and the services we provide, please do not hesitate to contact me at john-george.nicholson@ucl.ac.uk.

John-george Nicholson

Business Manager, MSEC

UCL Medical School


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