Clinical Dean, Honorary Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
MA MB BChir PGCertMedEd DCH MRCPsych MD
Fellow, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Starting a new job can be stressful in the best of times but what about during a once-in-a-generation global pandemic?
Dr Paul Wilkinson started in his new role as Clinical Dean and Director of Medical Education on January 4. Paul has been in Cambridge for many years, initially as a student from 1991 to 1996, then moving up the ranks as an academic child and adolescent psychiatrist. He led the Clinical School’s psychiatry placement for the last 11 years from 2009 to 2020, and more recently was the Year 5 Course Coordinator, Medical Education Research lead and a Director of Studies at Emmanuel College.
Paul took over as Clinical Dean from Dr Diana Wood (2003-2020) during the winter 2020/21 spike in Covid-19 cases. His main priority was continuing the education of nearly 900 medical students as restrictions tightened, infections rates rose and clinical as well as administrative staff became more stretched.
Despite the disruption, he took a forward-looking stance on topics ranging from delivering teaching and online resources, to placements and assessments. An ever-changing landscape meant systems needed to be put in place for everything from isolating students and staff working from home to electives, vaccinations and student travel and even the recent celebration our new doctors in an online Declaration Ceremony.
His work has not just focused on Covid. A big priority has been leading the work to make our course relevant to doctors treating patients from all backgrounds. This work initially started (locally and nationally) with reducing the racism embedded within Western medical school curricula. This has broadened to our ‘Health for All’ strand, which is enabling our graduates to be well-prepared for treating patients from all marginalised and oppressed backgrounds.
“It has been a great privilege to take on the leadership of the clinical medicine course at this great university. It has certainly been hard work, but has been enjoyable (most of the time!),” Paul said. “I look forward to continuing the great work of my predecessor, Diana Wood, and hope to keep taking this course forward to being one of the best medicine courses in the world.”