Many of us enter medicine with the idealistic view that we can help people, that we can change and improve a healthcare sys- tem for the benefit of all patients. Whilst scoffed by some to be an unrealistic goal, one to be obliterated by ‘real life’, it is perhaps the one thing that we should hold on to as we navigate our way through our medical careers.

The pertinent question that always remains is: how can we affect change? It would appear that all change begins with some- thing small, be it an experiment or a hypothesis put forward by an individual. These small actions raise awareness, generate discussion and challenge current best practices, eventually culminating in a change in patient management. Likewise, the UCDsmj began as a small step. More importantly, it now acts as a gateway to the exploration of the field of medicine, which will, we hope, drive future change. Within this journal we pro- mote the publication of student-based laboratory and clinical research to demonstrate the evolutionary journey of a hypothesis to the generation of results. We also include review and expert articles that highlight new clinical developments as a means of encouraging students to gain contact with advances in evidence based practices and to promote the development of future clinicians that will hopefully place themselves at the forefront of the Irish healthcare system.

In medicine, there are inevitably some things we cannot learn from text books and lectures. The experiences of others around us can help develop our personal insight. Appreciating how an illness impacts on a patient’s life, overall wellbeing and imposes itself upon a family and their environment can often be the ‘pathology’ that we easily, but unfortunately, miss. Some of our best teachers during our careers will be the patients and families that we meet along the way. Thus, we feel compelled to share their views through this journal. Written media is not the only forum through which we can encounter such experiences. We can also acquire these experiences for ourselves by organising medical electives, such as those reported in this volume, or through multimedia resources such as podcasts, which are be- coming an increasingly important adjunct to our didactic learning as we progress through our degree.

It is almost two years since Norella Broderick gathered a small group of students with the aim of establishing UCD’s own Stu- dent Medical Journal . Many people have helped us tremen- dously during this journey. Without their support, the publication of this first volume would have been very unlikely. In particular, we would like to thank Dr. Jason Last, Dr. Amanda McCann and Dr. Jane Dolan who have strongly supported the project from the outset. We would also like to thank Professor Powderly and the School of Medicine and Medical Science and the Societies’ Office for their financial support and Bank of Ireland, Montrose for their sponsorship. Many thanks also to Mark Byrne of the School of Medicine and Medical Science for his guidance on the design and marketing of the journal. We would especially like to thank the students, both published and unpublished, who submitted their articles to us and endured many edits of their work. Without their committment, there would be no jour- nal. We hope we have done them proud. Lastly, we would like to acknowledge the huge help, support and patience from our families during the past two years.

The path to the completion of this journal has been an arduous one. However, not once did we doubt the potential and positive impact that this could have on the current and future education of the students of School of Medicine and Medical Science. We hope that this potential is something that will become apparent to you all and something that we can share together.

We welcome any student who has an interest in medical re- search, writing, design, marketing, and information technology to join the UCDsmj team. This is a group-learning environment, whereby those with experience, share and reflect on this for the benefit of others. This is the ethos on which this journal was built, and upon this ethos it will grow.