HLA:IDEAS student receives award in memory of Princess Diana for promoting diversity in medicine
HLA:IDEAS participant and junior doctor Khadija Owusu has been awarded The Diana Award for her work educating the medical community on how to support colleagues and patients from racially diverse backgrounds.
The award, established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, is the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts.
Khadija (aged 24), who has just finished studying medicine at St. George’s, University of London, is part of the HLA:IDEAS programme – an incubator for social enterprises and non-profit organisations in healthcare.
The HLA:IDEAS programme empowers healthcare professionals to take their ideas further, to achieve the most significant impact. In Khadija’s case this was becoming a founding member and Director of Programmes for Melanin Medics – a registered charity and home to the UK’s largest intergenerational network for current and future African and Caribbean doctors.
Melanin Medics’ mission is to promote diversity in medicine, widen aspirations and aid career progression through educational programmes, social empowerment and valuable resources. The organisation is focused on implementing positive, practical solutions to support African and Caribbean aspiring medics, medical students and doctors in the UK who have been found to face a number of challenges on their career journeys.
Khadija said: “We want young people to know that a career in medicine is possible no matter where they come from, and they have a community rallying around to support their dreams. We want black medical students and doctors to exist and thrive without fear of racism and discriminatory treatment affecting their careers.”
In just four years Melanin Medics has:
- grown to a community of 1100+ network members
- held 21 educational events with 1400+ attendees
- engaged with 4000+ young people through school outreach
- supported 700+ aspiring medics with free application support services
- amassed 13,000+ followers on social media
- delivered 17 Allyship & Advocacy in Medicine workshops to 700+ medical students and doctors
As well as her active role at Melanin Medics, Khadija is also a Medics2You Engagement Lead and Ambassador, a GUBA Enterprise Ambassador, a Trustee for Raising Futures Kenya, and President of the Medical Elective Equipment Fund.
Khadija added: “When I was initially informed, I was shocked. I have just graduated from medical school, so will shortly begin practising as a doctor in the UK. I plan to continue and expand my work on the various initiatives I am currently involved in but also explore avenues in healthcare leadership and global health in order to effect change in healthcare across the world. I am truly grateful for the recognition of such a prestigious award.”
The Diana Award develops and inspires positive change in the lives of young people through three key programmes, which include: a mentoring programme for young people at risk, a youth-led anti-bullying ambassadors campaign and a prestigious award which publicly recognises young people – The Diana Award.
HLA:IDEAS Director – Dr Ali Jawad, said: “Our community in The HLA are incredibly proud of Khadija and all she has achieved so far. The work Melanin Medics has been doing and continues to do is having a significant impact on the healthcare environment in the UK NHS and beyond. Khadija is an incredible example of why The HLA and HLA:IDEAS exist; to support the next generation of healthcare leaders and, particularly through IDEAS, to support social impact.”
Khadija has just graduated from medicine and will soon be working at the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.