blue shirt bedside

The main focus of teaching is for the medical undergraduates in the 1st and 4th years of the 5-year medical curriculum. We also devise and supervise a number of research projects as part of the 2nd year medical programme. Staff members also contribute to teaching programmes for other disciplines and other academic bodies.

The Human Development, Behavioural Science and Ethics Course is delivered in the 1st medical year and consists of four elements:

  1. Family Case Study (small group tutorials and family visits).  (The department offers a prize annually, based on this element of the course - Noël Browne Prize)
  2. Behavioural Science (small group tutorials)
  3. Human Development and Behavioural Science Lecture course
  4. Introduction to Medical Ethics

The course is taught by staff from Public Health and Primary Care (Family Case Study), the Department of Psychiatry (Behavioural Science tutorials) and the Medical School Ethicists. The lecture course is further supported by the Departments of Paediatrics and Psychology and with inputs from other guest/occasional lecturers.

Overall Course Aims

To give the student an understanding of the concepts of normality in physical and psychological human development.
To enable the student to develop an understanding of the evolution of man and man’s relationship with society and his/her environment.
To equip the student with a thorough and integrated knowledge of normal human function and behaviour.

To initiate the student in the study of medical ethics and help him/her to develop the skills to recognize and evaluate ethical concerns.

The course as a whole strives to give students a basic understanding of human behaviour which will inform all aspects of their future clinical practice. Information on physical, psychological and social development is delivered via lectures and small group sessions. These are incorporated with experiential learning through visits to families with young babies over the span of the year and problem based learning through behavioural science scenarios. The course will cover development from childhood through the different human life stages up to and including ageing and death.

The Medical Ethics introduction comprises both lectures and small group problem-based learning sessions. Where appropriate, aspects of the problems from the small group sessions are incorporated in the lectures. Group discussion is used in tandem with the traditional lecture format and weekly reading assignments are central. The course aims to equip students with the skills to negotiate and reflect on ethical issues, which they will encounter during the course of their medical training, and to help them develop an ethics vocabulary, discursive confidence and sensitivity as part of the foundation for their futures in the medical profession.

For the 4th year medical student, the People, Practices and Populations course provides a further opportunity to study the provision of health care in the community and to examine health issues determined outside of the health sector. The course is timetabled over a two-month period, with each student attending small group tutorials in the department, and attachments to two general practices. The general practices used for attachments are located over the whole island of Ireland, to provide as much demographic variety as possible.

At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Describe the context of primary care and general practice in the community.
  • Describe the presentation and management of common problems encountered in general practice.
  • Carry out a consultation, which demonstrates appropriate medical interviewing skills, eliciting the patient’s ideas, concerns and expectations, and arrive at a decision that involves the patient.
  • List the major health problems that occur in Ireland and in other countries.
  • Describe the variety of illness seen in general practice.
  • Describe the impact of chronic disease on individuals and their families.
  • Analyse and describe the epidemiology of disease and the impact of socio-economic status on health and illness.
  • Familiarise him/herself with the process of professionalisation.

The timing of the eight week attachment is two weeks of initial seminars with preparatory coursework, then two attachments to two separate general practices, each of two weeks duration, one in the greater Dublin area and one further afield, with a final two weeks back in the classroom. This is the main attachment outside of the acute hospital sector in the clinical years and the focus of learning concentrates on the broad spectrum of conditions that present to general practitioners and how they are managed. The course also takes a population perspective in relation to health issues. Students are expected to collect data and analyse and comment on it during this attachment.

The Noël Browne Prize (1st Year)

The discipline of Public Health & Primary Care offers a prize annually in connection with the Human Development and Behavioural Science course, specifically in relation to the Family Case Study. The prize is called the 'Noël Browne Prize' in memory of a former Minister for Health, Dr Noël Browne, and is awarded to students who make an exceptional contribution to the educational and/or pastoral welfare of their allocated family and demonstrate an understanding of the link between social deprivation and poor health.

For more information about Dr Noel Browne, see his autobiography 'Against the Tide' Gill & MacMillan, (June 12, 2007)

The De Renzy Centenary Prize (4th Year)

This prize was founded in 1929, by a gift from Lady Martin to commemorate the centenary of the birth of her father, Surgeon-General Sir Annesley Charles Castriot de Renzy. It is awarded on the result of the end of year examination in Public Health and Primary Care. Value: €953.

About Surgeon-General Sir Annesley Charles Castriot de Renzy:

Surgeon-General Sir Annesley Charles Castriot de Renzy, K.C.B., Bengal Medical Service (retired0, died at Ealing on September 24th. He was born on April 7th 1828, the son of Dr. Thomas de Renzy, of Carnew, county Wicklow. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. he took the M.R.C.S. in 1851, and entered the I.M.S. as assistant surgeon on July 29th in that year. He became surgeon on March 12th, 1864, and in 1868 was appointed sanitary commissioner of the Punjab, being the first to fill that post. On July 29th, 1871, he became surgeon-major; on November 12th, 1877, was promoted to deputy surgeon-general, and retired on December 9th, 1882. He served in Burma in 1852-54 with the Bengal Artillery, was present at the actions of Martaban, Prome, and Rangoon, and received the medal with clasp. At the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58 he was at Nasirabad in Rajputana, whence he escaped alone to Beawar, and served afterwards in the siege of Lucknow (medal with clasp). He served also on the north-east frontier of India, in the Naga campaign of 1879-80, when he was mentioned in dispatches, received the medal, and was given the C.B. (1881). On January 14th, 1882, a good service pension was conferred upon him; and in June 27th, 1902, nearly twenty years after his retirement, he was made a K.C.B. He was the author of various reports on sanitary subjects. After his retirement he filled for many years the office of chairman of the Jokai Tea Company, which presented him with his portrait in oils. His funeral, which at his own request was strictly private, took place at Golder's Green on September 26th.

The British Medical Journal [Letters, Notes and Answers], October 3, 1914, p. 608.