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Dr Chris Bridle

Chris is Reader / Associate Professor of Health Psychology at Warwick Medical School. His research interests centre on the design, conduct and analysis of randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews of health behaviour interventions, such as those promoting smoking cessation, physical activity and healthy eating. Chris receives research funding from a range of sources, including the ESRC, NIHR, HTA, Diabetes UK and The King's Fund.

Systematic reviews of social, psychological and behavioural interventions for clinical conditions

Publication of Tomorrow’s Doctors by the General Medical Council (GMC) (1993, 2003) set the curriculum framework for all undergraduate medical education in the United Kingdom. The framework, in both the original and updated editions, represents a substantial departure form traditional medical education. In particular the focus moved from a curriculum dominated by clinical sciences and shaped by fact-based knowledge acquisition, to a curriculum informed by social and behavioural sciences and shaped by the development of integrated competencies. The practice of medicine commonly requires the practitioner to integrate her/his knowledge of the different core components. This integration of knowledge is facilitated when an ‘Education in breadth’ approach is adopted and the insulation between subjects is breached (Bernstein, 1996). The introduction of cross-curricular themes that subordinate subjects breaches the boundaries between subjects. We facilitated this process by providing the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of social, psychological and behavioural interventions in the context of clinically defined conditions: anxiety in adults with autism; depression among adolescents; exercise for survival in bowel cancer.

We developed a training programme for systematic review methodology, supported students as they defined, conducted and completed their systematic reviews, and we have enabled them to be active participants in the process of disseminating research findings. This new teaching-research relationship will not only give our students added value as they leave Warwick and begin their medical careers, but will also improve the teaching-research experience of future students who will be exposed to peer-led teaching. In addition, we have shown that there is a great desire among our students to engage more fully with research. Finally, investment from the medical school in a systematic review group focussed on medical education interventions will ensure that the benefits to undergraduate students deriving from greater engagement with research will continue to be available.