The proportion of U.K. medical students applying for psychiatry training continues to decline, whereas, in Somaliland, there are no public-sector psychiatrists. This pilot study assessed the usefulness and feasibility of online, instant messenger, peer-to-peer exchange for psychiatry education between cultures.
Twenty medical students from King’s College, London, and Hargeisa University (Somaliland) met online in pairs every 2 weeks to discuss prearranged psychiatric topics, clinical cases, and treatment options, completing online evaluations throughout.
Average ratings of the enjoyment, academic helpfulness, and interest of sessions were 4.31, 3.56, and 4.54 (of a maximum of 5), respectively; 83% would recommend the partnership to a friend.
This partnership enabled students on both sides to exploit psychiatry-learning resources at the other’s disposal, outside the standard medical education context, illustrating the benefits to medical students in dramatically different locations of partnership through telemedicine. This pilot study presents an innovative, cost-effective, under-used approach to international medical education.