PME Elective Bursary

PME Elective Bursary

Supporting you through your medical career

Please note PME is not currently running our Elective Bursary offer.

Sorry to disappoint. Please check back in the future.



PME Elective Bursary Winners Announced

Congratulations Jennifer Schamotta of BSMS and Sebastian M Toescu of Bristol

PME Elective Bursary – Helping Our Aspiring Medics Heal The World

Professional Medical Education (PME) was formed in 2006 with the sole aim of helping the UK’s medical students in training to achieve the highest success in their medical careers.

PME run an annual elective bursary for one lucky medical student to receive funding for their elective project. Most students choose to do their elective in their fourth or fifth year at medical school, which can be taken in the UK and overseas.

For those unfamiliar with elective projects, an elective is where a student travels to achieve a goal – which could be to undertake an audit somewhere where the health system is advanced, or to do a piece of research in the developing world.

The student gets to accomplish the goals of their project, experience the cultural differences and the differences in medical advances first hand, as well as helping to apply their knowledge of medicine around the world.

This year PME were inundated with applications for the PME Elective Bursary from students who are planning some truly astounding electives – making it near impossible to select just one winner.

For the first time in the history of the PME Elective Bursary, two winners of the Professional Medical Education National Bursary Prize for Elective have been selected and will receive funding for their proposed elective. Their prize will be presented by Dr Mark Natarajah, Chief Executive Officer, Royal College of Medicine.

The two winners are:

Jennifer Schamotta, PME Elective Bursary Winner 20123rd year student Jennifer Schamotta of Brighton & Sussex Medical School embarking on an elective entitled “Health Inequality: Mediation between a marginalised minority, the Roma, and a ‘modern’ Europe”. She will be spending 6 weeks in Bulgaria working with the minority group, the Roma, who are disadvantaged in healthcare.

I am a 26-year-old medical student, entering my 4th year of study. I grew up in Somerset, always thinking I'd run an art gallery, work in mental health, be a biologist or all three! After considering Fine Art Painting at University, I chose to study Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Nottingham. Following this I moved to Brighton to paint, found a studio and exhibited large oil canvases across the UK, pursuing this for two years. During this time I worked as a Health Care Assistant in a nursing home, and then in a hospital Imaging Department, which triggered my determination to train to become a doctor. In my first year of Medicine at BSMS I was awarded the Joint University of Brighton Scholarship for Overall Performance in year 1, and at the end of year three, have just received the Joint Best Performance in Psychiatry Prize.

Roma gypsies in Europe experience discrimination, health inequality and poverty, and have lower life expectancy than other EU citizens. During the ‘Decade of Roma Inclusion’ (2005-2015), I would like to begin to understand the ways in which a marginalised and disadvantaged minority, the Roma, access healthcare; and what differences, barriers and limitations there are, relating to social and political difficulties. I will work alongside Roma Health Mediators in Bulgaria; they work throughout the country and collaborate with the local health institutions, general practitioners and health specialists, their everyday work including visits in Roma quarters.  Exposure to a different set of cultural and societal attitudes to health will challenge me. I would also like to gain some appreciation of the role of ‘mother and child’ health in the Roma culture, and more widely, develop an impression of the role preventative medicine plays in public health.” - Jennifer Schamotta


Sebastian M Toescu, PME Elective Bursary Winner 2012The other winner is recent graduate Sebastian M Toescu, of the University of Bristol, embarked on an elective entitled “Neurology at Queen Square and Surgery in Ecuador: Two Contrasting Elective Experiences”. He spent the first half of his elective at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square, London. Following this, he travelled to Cuenca, Ecuador with the Cinterandres Foundation, assisting with their charitable humanitarian work with indigenous populations by spending time on a Mobile Surgical Unit and in rural primary care clinics.

"I am a recently graduated medical student from the University of Bristol.  I enjoyed my time at Bristol and was able to take part in the Erasmus exchange program to Granada, Spain, in the third year of my medical studies.
I intercalated in Neuroscience at Bristol, and obtained an Academic Foundation Programme rotation in Neurology at the Royal Free Hospital.  I am about to embark on my career as a doctor, starting with a job in Cardiology in North Central London.

My elective was composed of two separate, and very different, experiences.  I spent one month at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square in London, rotating through various medical and surgical firms.  This was an amazing exposure to tertiary-level investigation and treatment of patients, and the concurrent clinical lecture courses were intellectually stimulating.  A highlight for me was, on my last case in theatre, watching an awake craniotomy with cortical stimulation and fluorescence identification of tumour cells. 

After this, I went to Cuenca, Ecuador, where I worked with the Cinterandes Foundation, who provide mobile surgical care to impoverished indigenous populations in the villages of Ecuador.  We went on a week-long trip to a small town, where the team performed general surgical operations.  It was a very hands-on experience and I was involved in the peri- and intra-operative management of patients.  When in Cuenca, my time was spent in the Emergency Department of the public hospital, where I saw many traumatic cases and was able to pitch in directly with the acute management of patients. 

All in all, an eye-opening two months!" – Sebastian M Toescu



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