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Professor Sally Curtis

Professor Sally Curtis is a passionate and committed advocate of widening participation in medicine. Her inclusive approach fosters self-belief and embraces the tremendous value of her students. Sally designs and delivers teaching, assessment and support to help students optimise their potential and to support the national and global development of widening participation.
University of Southampton
Job Title
Professorial Fellow (Education)

Sally is dedicated to providing the opportunity to study medicine to students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the field as well as to those who have been unable to realise their academic potential. From its inception in 2002, she co-designed and delivered the innovative six-year widening participation to medicine programme (BM6).

As Programme Lead, Sally prides herself on her inclusive approach, fostering self-belief and embracing the tremendous value of her students. She designs and delivers teaching, assessment and support to help students optimise their potential, develop their professional identity, self-confidence and a sense of belonging. To date, over 260 graduates from underrepresented backgrounds have entered the medical profession from the BM6 programme.

Sally works closely with universities and the Medical Schools Council, the representative body for UK medical schools, to enrich learning environments, the profession and wider society by attracting, supporting and graduating immensely valuable students from underrepresented backgrounds. In championing widening participation, Sally advises and supports universities in the UK and around the world in moving forward this agenda, providing tailored support for students and staff in this field.

She influences national policy, e.g. developing national guidance for medical schools on contextual admissions, which considers the educational and social context of academic achievements supporting widening participation in medicine. However, from working closely with widening participation students, Sally realised the need to develop additional support mechanisms during their studies. The background context of their previous academic achievement frequently remains with them throughout their time at medical school, competing for the attention needed for their studies. Sally feels it is vital that they are supported so that they may realise their full potential and maximise all opportunities that are available to them.

Working tirelessly to change the culture by increasing diversity at established universities and in the medical profession, Sally believes that simply adapting an admissions process or delivering a slightly modified curriculum is not enough. Culture change requires a determined, synchronised and supported national effort to establish what is required, an evidence base to work from, and then a shared and supported environment in which to develop and share best practice.

Advance HE recognises there are different views and approaches to teaching and learning, as such we encourage sharing of practice, without advocating or prescribing specific approaches. NTF and CATE awards recognise teaching excellence in a particular context. The profiles featured are self-submitted by award winners.