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Alumna, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, shares her experiences and offers advice to new graduates.

Published: 09 July 2020

In a video message to students graduating from St George’s, Professor Stokes-Lampard says, “I’m proud to be an alumnus of St George’s and I hope that you will be too”. 

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard graduated with an MBBS (Medicine) from St George’s in 1996 following a sabbatical in 1994 when she served as Students’ Union President. Since graduating, she has had a rich and varied career in Medicine, and is now GP Principal in Lichfield, Professor of GP Education at the University of Birmingham and Chair of the National Academy for Social Prescribing. She has also recently been elected as Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.   

As a cohort of St George’s students prepares for their next chapter beyond university, we asked Professor Stokes-Lampard to share her experiences and offer advice to new graduates. 

Professor Stokes-Lampard says, “My career has been shaped more by serendipity than design! Once I graduated, I had an enjoyable few years as a Gynae trainee but then retrained in academic general practice and ‘found my home’.” 

After becoming involved with the Royal College of General Practitioners, she balanced academic and medical political careers with frontline General Practice, and adds, “I took interesting opportunities as they arose and took time to learn about myself and my strengths and weaknesses”. 

In 2011, Professor Stokes-Lampard was appointed the first female Treasurer of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the largest Medical Royal College, before being elected its Chair in 2016. She says, “That was an amazing experience and since finishing that many other opportunities have arisen”. 

Speaking to the students following in her footsteps as St George’s alumni, she says, “Keep your options open early in your career and be open to possibilities and opportunities – if something looks really interesting, make time to find out more, give yourself permission to change direction, to stop doing something after a few years. 

Read a full profile of Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard.

“If you care about something don’t just mutter about it, do something positive to improve it – that can be extremely and unexpectedly satisfying. Finally, make space for life outside work.”

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