The Association of University Teachers of Psychiatry (AUTP) is one of the
UK’s leading charity for education in psychiatry. The founders recognised the need for a collaboration and therefore created a safe space to learn and share ideas many years ago. The primary focus of the association is to improve standards in teaching within psychiatry, both at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. The hope being that by improving standards in education, it encourages the brightest and the best students into the speciality.
The AUTP uses several structures in order to support its aims. The annual conference, which is held at different locations throughout the UK, encourages health care professionals in multiple fields such as social work, medicine, nursing, and service users to come together to exchange information and disseminate learning initiatives. The conference itself acts a springboard for discussion whilst sharing information about interesting and unique areas of teaching within psychiatric medical education. Previous conferences have included a plethora of subjects; from teaching dynamic psychotherapy to integrating psychiatry into other specialisations, all delivered in a compelling and a thought-provoking manner.
The AUTP has stayed centre stage of teaching psychiatry within medical education and has dedicated time at the annual conference to showcase different teaching approaches from across the UK. These question and answer session allow these creative and imaginative projects to be taken across the UK and foster different approaches to teaching.
The AUTP has also moved with the times. The introduction of the AUTP Trainees Committee has resulted in the development of a UK wide scholarship scheme which has provided funding for 5 scholars to pursue a series of projects. In addition, there is now a quarterly educational conference aimed specifically at trainees that combines lectures with small group teaching. The small group teaching is embedded within medical educational theory and maps to an overall curriculum so that trainees can progress through the curriculum with each conference. Alternatively, the conferences standalone so trainees can attend and still gain substantially from them.
We have an active social media presence, through both Facebook and Twitter. We aim to share in real time interesting and pertinent research and media articles, to fuel discussion and debate, but also to allow access to information in one easy to go to place. The Twitter account runs a series of medical educational events, including the popular #MedEdMonday strand which has covered a diverse range of topics, from teaching on substance abuse to the role of risk within psychiatry. Often these educational topics expand to discuss broader issues impacting on psychiatry. We currently have over 360 followers and rising.
We have worked in collaboration with other medical education projects to showcase and share ideas. We have also used the hashtag #saynotostigma to engage in stigmatising or ignorant views on Twitter on mental health and encouraged and signposted those who need it to more factually information.
We remain excited about the next five years and the opportunities that the AUTP can build on and develop.