Meet our National Teaching Fellowship candidates

Dr Jo Hartland (they/them)

Jo is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Education and a Deputy School Education Director, they were recently nominated by the University to apply for the Advance HE, National Teaching Fellowship scheme in 2024.

I first joined the University in 2018 after 5 years working as a doctor in the NHS, taking on a small role on the undergraduate medical program as the 3D (Diversity, Disability and Disadvantage) Helical Theme Lead. I joined at a time of curriculum expansion and transition, as the previous MB16 curriculum was replaced by a new innovative MB21 curriculum.

As a result, I was able to implement radical changes to the 3D helical theme: expanding taught content, scaffolding throughout our case based learning, and co-producing teaching with students and the Bristol public. During this time, I took on an hourly teaching role with the Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals Certificate, and as a graduate of the course I found it incredibly satisfying to further embed my work in pedagogic theory relating to medical education.  

At the core of my curriculum development was the idea that medical students should be empowered to be change makers of the future, and that this meant giving them the skills to critically examine the bias they bring to clinical decision making. With this as my broad aim two problems rapidly became apparent. The first was that I was not always the right person to be leading this teaching, and as a result much of my time is spent with people or charities from marginalized groups building teaching that meets both their aims and the aims of the General Medical Council. In this way the voices of marginalised patients now sit at the heart of our teaching, and they are a vital part of our ongoing decolonisation work within the medical school. 

The second problem was that we cannot just give students the tools to reflect and be critical, we also have to make it safe for them to do so. This meant engaging in open conversations with student groups and valuing their perspectives, especially during moments of sociopolitical change. Working with students led to the founding of groups such as the Medical Anti-Racism Taskforce (MART) and more authentic representation within teaching of marginalized groups. 

Over the next few years my time working at the University increased, and I am now full-time with a role as a School Deputy Education Director. My work focuses on student equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI); providing educational leadership and training that helps to create a culture of challenging discrimination and tackling the success gaps we see affecting especially global majority and disabled student groups. I am also leading the development of a reflective curriculum review process using a decolonial lens to examine what we teach, why we teach it and the systems of oppression that exclude particular people from being heard or seen in professional programs.  

Outside the University I have developed a strong national profile for my work in health education. I sit on the Medical Schools Council Executive Board for their EDI Alliance, leading work nationally which challenges the exclusion of marginalized people in health education. I am also a LGBTQ+ health activist and have been honoured to receive invitations to speak at royal colleges, opportunities to work with the media on the so-called conversion therapy ban and win some wonderful awards that I am very proud to have received.   

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