Manchester MedX And The Students Behind It

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Manchester MedX And The Students Behind It

Three years ago, a group of medical students from the University of Manchester got together to talk about the need for a student platform in Manchester to discuss new innovations in healthcare.

In an effort to move away from the standard textbook way of learning, Tariq Ramtoola and Connor Mclaughlin joked about running their own conference which would bring the medical student community together and allow problem-solving and engaging discussion to take place.

A few months later, these medical students established themselves as ‘Manchester MedX’, holding their first stand alone conference at Citylabs in 2014 with 60 attendees. Today, the Manchester MedX conference attracts over 300 people, from medical students and entrepreneurs, to industry experts and globally acclaimed academic speakers. The success of these MedX conferences led to the creation of ‘ReThinkX’ last October, set up by Tariq, Connor and Mehfuz Patel, who wanted ReThinkX to act as the main umbrella brand to all their events.

So, who is ReThinkX and what does it do? ReThinkX is a non-profit social enterprise with three main aims: to inform, educate and empower students and academics in order to find innovative solutions to complex healthcare problems. Now ReThinkX is preparing for its third annual MedX conference to be be held at Citylabs 1.0 on 25th March, promising a huge range of interactive lectures, workshops and demos of the latest developments in healthcare.

Tariq Ramtoola said: ‘’Existing conferences in the healthcare field are often highly specialised, making them inaccessible to students and those with a casual interest in healthcare. The Manchester MedX conference aims to change all this. We want to provide a broad platform so that anyone can contribute and be at the cutting edge of healthcare innovation in Manchester. That is why the conference is completely free for students.’’

As well as the annual MedX conference, ReThinkX aim to ensure there is always an open platform for discussion, interaction and learning within the medical community. Before the first MedX conference, Tariq met with Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation at MSP. A natural partnership came about and the whole MSP team was on board and excited to support ReThinkX and its growth.

On this partnership, Tariq said: “We really wanted to transition from our one day annual conference to more, regular events but we never really had a plan. Meeting with Anne and partnering with MSP was a crucial step for ReThinkX as it allowed us to think things through strategically and have access to networks, people, space and promotion. The MSP network helped us to meet a community of innovators in the healthcare sector. We have been connected to as many people as possible which opened up lots of new opportunities.’’

ReThinkX now run monthly ‘XHorizons’ events with industry experts and panel discussions, as well as smaller rapid prototyping events called ‘Xsolve’, which bring together students, academics and industry experts to collaborate and find solutions to complex health and social care problems. ReThinkX hold all events on the Citylabs campus - an ideal location sat right next to the University and the Central Manchester Foundation Trust hospitals.

These regular XHorizons and XSolve events aim to encourage entrepreneurship and engaging debate within the medical student community, with topics including healthcare in space, antimicrobial resistance, an ageing population and big data. At these events, attendees have the chance to hear from leading speakers in the healthcare community and discuss the most interesting and important questions in healthcare today.

Looking to the future, ReThinkX plan to join with student hackathons, and to add more specialised and technical element to its events that will help ideas transform into products and prototypes.

Take a look at the full MedX conference programme and get your tickets here.

Alternatively, if you would like to get involved with ReThinkX, please contact tariq.ramtoola@gmail.com.