Student wins award for helping aspiring young doctors from low-income backgrounds
A University of Birmingham student won a Princess Diana Memorial Prize for his work in helping young aspiring students from low-income backgrounds apply for medical degrees.
Kirsty Morrison, a 22-year-old medical student, received the Diana Award for helping to make the University’s medical school accessible to everyone. After COVID-19 banned in-person events, Kirsty founded “We Are Medics,” an online platform that offers free open access assistance to young people aged 16 to 18 from low-income backgrounds who request degrees in health care.
Through its website and eBooks, the organization offers free, dedicated support and advice to young people navigating the medical and dental application processes. The provision of support is designed to level the playing field for applicants to medicine and dentistry.
Created in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the award is presented by the charity of the same name and is supported by her two sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.
Commenting on the award, Kirsty said: “It’s really exciting to be recognized in this way and I hope it will help highlight the importance of the awareness and widening access work done by students. of British higher education. I firmly believe that the health sector workforce should be representative of the general population.
Kirsty founded “We Are Medics” the same day Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced school closures and exam cancellations due to COVID-19.
Along with a group of other University of Birmingham medical students who had previously volunteered to help expand access to medicines, Kirsty used Instagram live feeds to replace canceled outreach events at schools local.
The Instagram account was shared with partner schools in the West Midlands and the account has grown exponentially, now with over 11,000 followers.
Kirsty’s outreach work has had a huge impact on students, with “We Are Medics” online content reaching approximately 29,000 people each week.
The six free e-books were downloaded more than 50,000 times in 2020 and it is estimated that one in three young people who took UCAT (a UK medical admission test) prepared for the help of this resource.
Kirsty added: “Ultimately we want to tackle geographic cold spots, where some young people in rural UK communities cannot access broad participation programs or support.
“All of our content will always be free to use and access – we’re committed to expanding access to medicines and leveling the playing field for apps. All of our activities are designed to be scalable enough to reach anyone who needs to access them. In 2020, over 28,000 young people have applied for medicine in the UK – so we have plenty of applicants to reach. “
Tessy Ojo, CEO of the Diana Award, said: “We congratulate all of our new Diana Award winners from the UK and around the world who are bringing about change for their generation. We know that by receiving this honor, they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens. For more than 20 years, the Diana Award has valued and invested in young people by encouraging them to continue to make positive changes in their communities and in the lives of others.
Notes to Editors:
- For interviews with Kirsty Morrison, please contact Emma McKinney, Head of Media Relations (Health Sciences), University of Birmingham.
- Use this contact for other inquiries or questions regarding We Are Medics and HLA: IDEAS.
- For more information or questions regarding the Diana Award, please contact Emma Pelling on 07958 558172.
- The University of Birmingham is ranked among the top 100 institutions in the world and its work brings people from all over the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from almost 150 countries.
- Kirsty’s advocacy work was part of the HLA: IDEAS program – an incubator for social enterprises and health nonprofits. The program allows healthcare professionals to push their ideas further, to achieve the most significant impact. The two-year program offers academics tailored support to help them develop their goals and vision for the company, as well as access to mentors who can support the strategy, leadership and governance of the organization. .
- The Diana Award develops and inspires positive change in the lives of young people through three key programs which include; a mentorship program for at-risk youth, a youth-led anti-bullying ambassador campaign and a prestigious award that publicly recognizes young people. The winners were nominated by adults who know young people professionally and recognize their efforts as a positive contribution to society. Through a rigorous nomination process, these nominators were required to demonstrate the candidate’s impact in five key areas: vision, social impact, inspiring others, youth leadership, and service journey. There are 12 Diana Award juries representing each region or nation in the UK and three more juries representing countries outside of the UK. Each panel consists of three judges; a young person, an education or youth work professional and a representative of a business or government. The panels have one important main purpose: to determine which nominations from each UK region / nation / country will receive the Diana Award. Applications are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide that were created to measure the quality of youth outreach.