‘Inspiring Stories’ with Damian Amendra

Specialist trainee in histopathology (ST1)Ā 

This is part of the Engaged Medicine ā€˜Inspiring Storiesā€™ blog series. The blogs explore the stories behind outreach and patient-public engagement activities of staff and students from the University of Southamptonā€™s Faculty of Medicine. 

I attended 2023ā€™s ā€œGetting Started in Public Engagementā€ training course, consisting of 4 parts and attracting a breadth of researchers from the Faculty of Medicine.

Two key experiences led me to participate in this course. In 2022 I attended Science Museum Groupā€™s ā€œStandard Public Engagement trainingā€, a one-day course in London. This was my first taster in the field. At the time, I signed up purely out of curiosity and had not the foggiest clue what PPE was. Up to that point I had been very active in medical education, designing and delivering seminars to future doctors- something I enjoy and feel passionate about. I saw many parallels between medical education and PPE.

Halfway through this yearā€™s course I was put to the test as I signed up to volunteer at this yearā€™s Science and Engineering Day. It was like both a shadowing experience and an internship: I observed senior researchers publicly engaging about genomic testing and its pitfalls; then I took part myself. I really enjoyed the variety of my audience, including young families, young adults, with varying degrees of background knowledge and interest. The people I engaged with had such a breadth of experiences and knowledgebases that no two conversations were the same. This was really engagingā€¦ for me!

The course showed me the importance of PPE and the serious time and effort put into it by research groups in the UK.

Itā€™s expanded my horizons in unexpected ways. Recently I attended my first ā€œPint of Scienceā€ talk and more locally a ā€˜CafĆ© Scientifiqueā€ talk in Salisbury. I think that my appreciation of these events heightened following my training- Iā€™ve become a more willing ā€˜public audience ready to be engagedā€™. As a result, I now endeavour to attend more public science talks, particularly on topics I have very little background in (soil composition, for instance!).

In short, I gained a theoretical foundation in PPE, networked, had a go at it at a highly well-attended science festival and have a re-vitalised passion both for science and for the engagement of science.

Stay Connected! To find out more about the ā€˜Inspiring Storiesā€™ series, Faculty of Medicine educational programmes and research, or to get involved use the links below or contact Dr Lucy Green. 

University staff or students click here for the Engaged Medicine SharePoint.

‘Inspiring Stories’ with Damian Amendra

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