Meet our Panel Speakers
Our on-site GEP event, taking place on Saturday 21 May 2022, will officially at 1.45pm with a panel discussion led by our Principal, Professor Jenny Higham. During this session, one of our current students will be in conversation with several of our alumni and staff about how their experiences as part of the programme's community. Read about our panel speakers below (further speakers TBC - look out for further updates on this page), and register here to join the event.
We will try to address as many questions from the audience as possible during the panel discussion. You can submit a question in advance when registering for a place at the event, or you can email email@example.com.
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Professor Deborah Bowman, former Deputy Principal (Institutional Affairs) and Emerita Professor of Bioethics, Clinical Ethics and Medical Law.
Professor Deborah Bowman is Professor Emerita of Bioethics, Clinical Ethics and Medical Law at St George’s. She has had a long career at St George's, culminating in her role as Deputy Principal, in which she led on cross-institutional matters, including Quality and Partnerships, Public and Civic Engagement, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Staff Careers, Development and Wellbeing and Athena SWAN.
She continues as a researcher, writer and broadcaster, particularly for BBC radio and she holds numerous public appointments, including sitting on the Boards of the Human Tissue Authority, Independent Office for Police Conduct, Princess Alice Hospice and SW London and St George’s NHS Mental Health Trust. She is also the Chair of the charity Hospital Rooms.
A former member of the original Graduate Entry Medicine team, she held various roles connected to the programme. She says of her time as part of the team: “To have had the chance to be there at the beginning and to be part of something so special remains one of the greatest highlights of my career. Thank you to everyone who was there with me.”
Read more about Professor Bowman here.
Dr Shehla Baig is a Reader in Medical Education and Director of MBBS Development and a member of the Senior Education team for MBBS at St George's, University of London. Dr Baig is an experienced curriculum designer, for UK and international projects. She is an active clinician and educator at St George's. Alongside her roles at St George’s, she is a General Practitioner at Balham Park Surgery, a member of the Medical Schools Council Education Advisory Group and an Education Associate for the General Medical Council.
A member of the original Graduate Entry Medicine programme at St George’s, Dr Baig reflects on the early days of the course: “Every day was new, creative and challenging. It was heartening to see the science, skills and humanity coming together and watch students bring their rich and varied backgrounds to the practice of medicine.”
Class of 2016 alumna, GP trainee and Women’s Equality Party deputy leader, Dr Hannah Barham-Brown, joined the Graduate Entry Medicine programme after studying English, Theology and Arabic at the University of Durham and then going on to study a BSc Hons in Paediatric Nursing.
Alongside her clinical and political work, she travels the UK giving talks about diversity and disability, and has spoken in venues from the House of Lords to international publishing companies. She has made several media appearances, working regularly with national and local media (including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, BBC Breakfast and Sky News), as well as giving two TEDx talks on the need for diversity in the NHS and co-hosting the ‘Salty Women’ Podcast with Olivier-nominated playwright and activist, Athena Stevens.
Dr Barham-Brown has been named as one of the Health Service Journal’s 100 Most Influential People in Health, as well as named on the Shaw Trust’s 2018, 2019 and 2020 ‘Power Lists’ (making her one of the 100 most Influential Disabled People in the UK) due to her work campaigning for increased disability representation, closing the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine and diversifying the medical profession.
Speaking about her time on the Graduate Entry Medicine programme at St George's, she says: “Being a small University in South London, St George’s felt like a very close-knit community. The diversity of students on the programme meant that you would never be the only person who had taken a less traditional path into Medicine.”
St George’s Graduate Entry Medicine alumna and surgeon, Dr Maya Shahsavari, graduated from St George’s in 2013. She joined the St George’s Graduate Entry Medicine programme in 2009 following a degree in Biomedical Science and a Masters in Genetics, and is currently an ENT specialist registrar in Scotland in Year Six of Specialty Training in Otolaryngology and head and neck surgery.
Dr Shahsavari was born in Iran, where her parents had been political activists campaigning for free speech. Her parents were arrested several years after they had stopped campaigning, and made the decision to flee Iran and move to the UK due to concerns for the family's safety. The story of her path from political refugee to surgeon has featured in The Scotsman and on BBC news online.
By the age of 13, Dr Shahsavari already knew she wanted to study Medicine and become a surgeon, and says: “My father would remind me that whatever else we had lost, we had gained freedom, which is priceless. He encouraged me to think about doing something that would make me happy while giving back to the community.”
Speaking about what motivated her to study at St George’s, Dr Shahsavari says, “I knew St George’s had the oldest Graduate Entry Medicine programme in the country and it was a place I’d set my sights on for some time. I’d wanted to study there since I decided I wanted to be a surgeon, so it felt like an incredible achievement when I was accepted onto the programme.”
Graduate Entry Medicine alumna, Dr Jane Lloyd (nee Durkin), was one of just 35 students from the very first cohort on the Graduate Entry Medicine programme at St George’s. She joined the programme aged 30, following a degree in Economics and Commerce and a career in Investment Banking in Sydney and London. he says of the programe: "Having not studied biology since GCSE equivalent in 1985, the first year of the programme was very tough; but by the end of the 4 years, the unique learning environment that GEP provided enabled me to make up the ground and I graduated with Distinction."
During her time at St George’s, Dr Lloyd was awarded a Royal Navy(RN) Medical Cadetship, providing sponsorship for the final 3 years of her medical degree. After completing House Officer jobs (F1/F2 equivalent) and a Senior House Officer post in Emergency Medicine, she undertook 3 years of 'general duties', where junior doctors in the RN take a sideways step from typical medical training pathways, for adventures, before slotting back into higher specialist training in their chosen speciality. Dr Lloyd’s military medical duties have included a wide range of exercises and deployments all over the world, along with training and experience in both diving and aviation medicine. The former led to duties within the Royal Navy submarine rescue team; a parachute-borne team designed to be deployed at sea out of the back of a Hercules aircraft over the site of a submarine incident. Following General Duties, she undertook General Practice training in Wessex, completed with a mix of NHS and military placements.
Once qualified as a GP, Dr Lloyd was posted to the RAF Centre for Aviation Medicine as an instructor. Her role was to teach military aircrew about the physiological challenges of flying (e.g., high altitude hypoxia, cardio-respiratory effects of G-force, the distortion of vestibular function at high speed, etc.) to empower them to improve their flying performance and reduce risk. It also involved teaching military healthcare professionals of all types (doctors, physios, nurses, dentists, etc.) about aviation medicine, both the altered effects of various pathologies in the air and vice versa.
Following a sea deployment in 2013 with the Royal Navy’s Antarctica Patrol Ship (which she describes as “the most extraordinary experience of my life”) Dr Lloyd returned to study to undertake further higher specialist training in Occupational Medicine (MFOM) to further build on her work with “special occupational groups” within the military such as divers and aircrew. The four- year MFOM pathway included undertaking an MSc in Occupational Health with the University in Birmingham. Her dissertation was on obesity and fitness for military duties at sea. Since qualifying as a consultant in 2017, she has gone on to develop a passion for the power of lifestyle interventions to affect both physical and mental health. She has developed a particular interest in a new field called “Functional Medicine”, which strives to get to the root cause of patients’ disease and ill-health, which usually leads to one/all of issues with: nutrition, gut health, toxin exposure, physical exercise and stress reduction. She is now considering commencing the qualification process to become certified with the Institute for Functional Medicine, but adds that at 51, with so much academic time already under her belt, it’s not an easy decision.
Reflecting on her career path since graduating from St George’s, Dr Lloyd says, “I love the variety that comes with my role in the Navy; my adventures and experiences have added multiple dimensions to my medical practice that I can’t imagine are available in civilian life. I am so grateful to the GEP team at St George’s for giving me such a solid grounding as a doctor; I am certain that GEP emphasis on patient communication skills and self-directed learning have been crucial to my successful growth and development as a clinician over the past 16 years”.