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IRF Interns
Students and staff from the internship scheme at the Inflammation Research Facility.

An internship scheme at the Inflammation Research Facility (IRF), part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), has shown the benefits of collaboration between UHB and the University of Birmingham.    

Sadhika Yasmin, a biomedical science graduate, helped at the IRF in the autumn and winter of 2017.

“I started by meeting patients at the front desk, and walking them through to the IRF,” Sadhika explains. I also made blood packs and helped with documentation and paperwork. It was great to interact with patients and staff, and the whole experience will be really helpful when I begin Physician’s Associate training.”

Aya Osman, a biomedical science student in her second year, is currently interning in the IRF. “It was a great opportunity to work as part of the team,” Aya said.

"It helps you appreciate all those who are involved in the IRF, especially the really friendly team. Working in the IRF has really opened my eyes to the range of possible careers that I can work towards. The IRF internship is a really great way of exploring potential future careers.”   

Kirsty Bugajski, who studied Psychology and will be starting a Master’s in the autumn, has also recently started at the IRF, continuing the collaboration.

“When I received an email that mentioned the opportunity to intern with the IRF, I thought it sounded like a brilliant opportunity to get experience of working in a hospital,” said Kirsty. “I would like to work in neuroscience research in the future, and this internship programme sounds like a great way to work with NHS staff and help patients.”

The IRF is part of the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at UHB, with patients taking part in experimental, innovate clinical research studies across a range of conditions.

Jo Dasgin, Senior Research Sister, said: “The internship programme has been great for us, the students and our patients. The interns have great enthusiasm and a positive outlook on life, and it’s been really helpful having them around.  

“They have gained communication and interpersonal skills as well as experience in working in a clinical research environment which will hopefully help them in their future careers. We hope the scheme continues as they have contributed greatly to the unit.”

Parini Mankad, Rheumatology Research Group Manager, added: “ The patient intern scheme is funded by a donation to the University's Institute of Inflammation and Ageing from the Michael Marsh Trust.

“This year the scheme selected students who were studying at the University of Birmingham through the ‘Access to Birmingham (A2B)’ scheme, allowing us to offer the opportunity of clinical research experience to students who may not necessarily have the contacts to set up their own placements.

“There is currently two more years of funding available to offer more placements and we hope to continue after that, as this is a fantastic support for the Inflammation Research Facility. We are really committed to helping people gain experience towards future careers in clinical research and helping UHB and the University to continue developing innovative ways of collaborating.”

The internship programme is one example of collaboration between UHB and the University. UHB, the University and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust comprise Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance to develop better treatments and care to patients.