Current Occupation: Obstetrics Registrar Founder and CEO of Medics.Academy (Education Technology Company) Founder and Director of The Healthcare Leadership Academy Member of Council, British Medical Association
Former Chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee Former Member of the Board of the General Medical Council Former Member of the Board of the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board Former Member of the MMC Programme Board for England Former Deputy Chair – Education and Training – BMA JDC Former Deputy Chair – Education - BMA MSC Former University of London Medical Students’ Officer and Chair of ULU (now United Hospitals) Medgroup Founder and First Editor of The Medical Student
What other student activities were you involved in at BL?
I was not involved in any club whilst I was at Barts, I was a member of SAMDA, the widening participation initiative to try and help local students from comprehensive schools in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham get into medical school. I was elected as the External Affairs Officer in a heavily contested election in 2001. As External Affairs Officer, I grew a £3000 per annum sponsorship budget for the Students’ Association into approximately £29,000 budget in my year. The following year as President, we able to maintain the revenue at about £20,000. It resulted in a lot of investment in clubs and societies, as well as other general Students’ Association activities.
Why did you run for BLSA President?
I could see that the BLSA could have a significant material impact on the lives of my friends and cohort. I cared about campaigning for students to have a better experience as students and believed was able to deliver a different type of experience of the Students’ Association. I worked closely with my predecessor and my successor to change many aspects of the culture of life at the medical school and make it much more inclusive, with a greater focus on the needs of all students, not just the ones that the Students’ Association traditionally catered for.
How did you find the role?
It was hard. I said for many years afterwards that it was probably the hardest job I did. Students can be very unforgiving (and sometimes even unreasonable). As the student President you learned that whilst everyone thought you had some power, you actually had the limited ability to influence people and convince them. That could be hard. My year was the year of the first NUS anti-Tuition fees march. 1000 medical students from across the UK led the march of 20,000 students in central London. The ULU Medgroup (Predecessor to UH) were responsible for convincing and coordinating the medical students to turn up. I learnt a lot about leading people, especially medics. I learnt a lot about the difference between power and influence and how to affect real change. I also gained an amazing group of friends, both in my committee that I led, and all the presidents that I am still in touch with and meet with. The ex-presidents try and support each other and the new president as much as we can, and the friendships I have gained from such an incredibly diverse group of very talented people has meant a great deal to me personally.
Would you recommend it?
My year as president of Barts and The London probably was one of my defining experiences. It was hard but incredibly rewarding from a personal development perspective. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering it. Being president gives you skills and experiences you simply cannot gain anywhere else in your medical career. It now also gives you an incredible support network, which we never had when I did it. If you want to be President of Barts and The London, it is important you realise you are the President of the whole medical school, not just one aspect or one clique. We all know how cliquey medical school can be, the role of the President is to transcend that and try and help all students across the SMD get the most out of their time at Barts and The London. It is hard, if you do it for the wrong reasons, you generally get found out, so it’s worth only standing if you are ready to roll your sleeves up and get stuck into a very hard job.