The meeting was held in one of the tutorial rooms of the impressive University Place building in Oxford Street, Manchester. Tony Ridge, along with Benoit Guilbaud, the lecturer for the French component of the medicine and language degree at the University of Manchester, organised the meeting. The University is the only one in the UK that provides a joint degree course in a language and medicine. It is possible to study French, Spanish and German.
Five of the third year students on the course gave a presentation in French. They were competing for a free trip to Nantes, funded by AFMS, where they will make a presentation competing for the James Tudor prize. The Manchester meeting is an opportunity for students to promote themselves and for the AFMS to show an interest in the medical work they are doing and to tell them what the AFMS does to support students particularly for those who wish to do an elective in a French speaking country (Miss Ford Bursaries). Regrettably there were only 5 members of the AFMS and Tony Ridge at the meeting while about 15 students and their tutor attended.
Our Treasurer Martin Punter, a gynaecologist in Salford, ably chaired the meeting. The topics of the students were: Onchocerciasis and its potential elimination as a cause of blindness in Africa (L’état actuel du progrès du programme d’élimination de l’onchocercose en Afrique); Differences in screening for Cancer of the neck of the Uterus in France and the UK (La prévention du cancer du col de l’utérus); Ménière’s Disease and the production of an information leaflet in French (La Maladie de Ménière : Le mystère enfin résolu ?) ; Post-traumatic stress syndrome in the homeless (La gestion du trouble de stress post-traumatique parmi les sans domiciles fixes) and Confidentiality in Medicine (Confidentialité et médecine). The presentations were excellent, though contrary to normal AFMS practice the slides and the talk were in French. The presentations on river blindness and cervical cancer were particularly interesting while the student who had produced a patient leaflet on Ménière’s disease had clearly done a lot of background work and spoke very well. The competency in French was excellent (as far as I could tell) though two students clearly had spoken French from early childhood (one was from Mauritius) while others were making more of an effort to speak in a non-native language. However fluency in French sometimes is a disadvantage for this type of audience as there is a tendency to speak too fast and not be understood. The members of the audience scored the presentations according to a standard score sheet and we were not surprised that Paige Landy from Canada won and will be coming to Nantes courtesy of AFMS.
After the presentations we were able to enjoy some light refreshments with vin franҫais! It was a most enjoyable evening. Lets hope we get more members from AFMS there next year.