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QAA publishes new Subject Benchmark Statement in Health Studies

On 11 April 2024, the Quality Assurance Agency launches the new edition of its Subject Benchmark Statement for Health Studies. The previous edition was published in November 2019.

Subject Benchmark Statements are used as standard reference points by higher education providers for the design, development and delivery of courses for specific disciplines in the UK.

They are formulated by panels of academic experts in their subject areas, with inputs from key stakeholders, including industry organisations and professional bodies.

QAA’s Subject Benchmark Statement in Health Studies supports the development and delivery of higher education for professions related to health, including physical and mental wellness and wellbeing, health sciences and the psychology of health.

QAA is grateful for the work of all those who join the advisory groups and particularly the chairs and deputies who engage so enthusiastically and meticulously to produce statements that are valued by their respective subject communities,” says Dr Ailsa Crum, Director of Membership, Quality Enhancement & Standards at QAA.

The panel for the new Subject Benchmark Statement in Health Studies was chaired by Dr Jennifer Egbunike, Associate Professor and Inaugural Programme Director in Global Healthcare Management at University College London’s Global Business School for Health.

“One of the challenges for the panel was knitting together into this guidance document the key themes in a manner that is relevant and reflects the variety of our Health subjects,” says Dr Egbunike.

“The Health subject landscape is broad, encompassing various academic disciplines,” she says. “Fortunately, we got it right from the start by getting the right mix of experienced teaching staff and professionals, as well as student representatives, around the table. That really helped a lot. Our group worked tirelessly and efficiently to pull it all together.”

The document frames the subject-specific guidance in the context of a core set of cross-cutting themes, including sustainability, access, enterprise and entrepreneurship, and equality, diversity and inclusion.

“It provides sets of detailed reference points; as to what Health Studies curricula should look like, to support educators and practitioners in designing and developing rich and engaging courses,” Dr Egbunike explains. “It offers a standard and a failsafe to ensure that we include everything we need to think about in terms of how we educate, assess, develop key skills and competences, ensuring alignment with the distinctive features of Health Studies provision, effectively, flexibly and inclusively.”

She notes that one of the biggest challenges in future-proofing such guidance was to take into account the ongoing development and impact of generative artificial intelligence in the context of the Health subjects and professions.

“We’ve left it sufficiently open to speak to future developments. This is one to watch and to update in line with future developments in these fields,” she says. “We need to develop ways to observe and guide those who use these technologies in order to get the best outcomes.”

QAA’s Subject Benchmark Statement in Health Studies is published on 11th April at https://www.qaa.ac.uk/the-quality-code/subject-benchmark-statements

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