Clinical Research Fellow awarded Turner-Warwick Lectureship for innovation in medical education

Dr Punith Kempegowda
Dr Punith Kempegowda

In recognition of a new and unique real-time simulation-based medical training programme that has helped enhance medical students’ and junior doctors’ learning experience and connected them across the globe, Dr Punith Kempegowda has been awarded the prestigious Turner-Warwick Lectureship for West Midlands by the Royal College of Physicians. 

SIMBA (Simulation via Instant Messaging - Birmingham Advance) is a real-time simulation-based medical training model where learning is facilitated by interaction between a moderator and a participant via WhatsApp and Zoom. It provides a unique opportunity for students to explore medical conditions in its entirety and fine tune their decision-making skills. As medical students master the skill of moderating, SIMBA also provides opportunities to expand their skills in leadership and medical education. SIMBA has also had a significant international impact with 332 different participants in 41 countries participating in 10 SIMBA sessions till date; and 199 participants from the UK alone.

Dr Kempegowda, a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow and specialist trainee registrar in endocrinology, diabetes and general internal medicine, created the concept of SIMBA and then enthused over 100 medical students and junior doctors to implement the system. Although the simulation part of SIMBA has always been delivered virtually via WhatsApp, expert discussion was held face to face during pre-COVID times. During the COVID-19 crisis, Dr Kempegowda and his team immediately adjusted and moved SIMBA to an entirely online system.

Celebrating the life and achievements of the RCP’s first female president, Professor Dame Margaret Turner-Warwick, the Turner-Warwick lecture series features presentations from the winning trainees in each of the UK’s regions and nations.

Dr Kempegowda greatly appreciates continuous support by Professor Wiebke Arlt at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham Endocrine Society, and West Midland Physicians’ Association. In response to receiving the award and on behalf of the whole SIMBA team, Dr Kempegowda said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Society for Endocrinology, European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) and ESE Young Endocrinologists & Scientists (EYES) for recognising and endorsing SIMBA as an efficient teaching activity in endocrinology. Special thanks to Dr Eka Melson and Meri Davitadze for their ongoing support in managing the team and supporting all SIMBA sessions. But my most heartfelt gratitude goes to all the medical students and junior doctors who have worked enthusiastically to develop and improve SIMBA.”

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