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Raising awareness of smell and taste disorders among junior doctors

Many of the people Fifth Sense represents know only too well about the lack of knowledge, or interest, in smell and taste disorders amongst much of the medical profession.  Educating doctors about the impact of these conditions is therefore a very important part of our work, so when we were given the opportunity to speak to some junior doctors about this we jumped at the chance.

The undergraduate ENT Societies of the Cambridge and Norwich medical schools recently collaborated to organise the first ever East of England Undergraduate & Foundation Otolaryngology Conference. This one-day event, on Saturday 6th October 2018 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, sought to generate interest in the ENT specialty and promote current research in otolaryngology (disorders of the ear, nose and throat) from the East Anglia region and further afield.  In the audience were nearly 80 student and foundation doctors from around the country.

Duncan Boak and Prof Carl Philpott

Fifth Sense trustees Duncan Boak and Prof Carl Philpott were invited to give a keynote lecture by conference organisers Tanya Ta and Bhavesh Tailor, both of whom are working towards a career in the ENT specialty.  Tanya has been working with Prof Philpott in a clinical research capacity which is how she became aware of the challenges faced by people with smell and taste impairments and the need for greater awareness amongst the medical profession.

Duncan and Carl gave a joint lecture, with Duncan focusing on the quality of life impact of smell and taste disorders, drawing on research undertaken amongst Fifth Sense members,  and his own experience of losing his sense of smell.  Carl talked about treating and managing patients and various research projects which he is leading or involved in, including the MACRO project.  Duncan and Carl both stressed the need for better education across the healthcare profession and encouraged the student and foundation doctors in attendance to get involved in research in this area.

From left to right: Dr. Chang Woo Lee, Bhavesh Tailor, Tanya Ta, Duncan Boak, Prof. Carl Philpott, Aurélien Guéroult

The talk received some excellent feedback from audience members, with several commenting that they had not previously been aware of the impact of smell and taste impairments.  Educating the doctors of tomorrow is a particular area of focus for Fifth Sense, going forwards, so we’re very pleased with how the lecture was received.

We’d like to say a big thanks to Tanya and Bhavesh for giving Duncan and Carl the opportunity to speak and congratulate them on a very successful first conference.

To find out more visit the EoE conference website 

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