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Student recognised for charity work

Published: 30 January 2020

Students at St George’s have a wide array of extra-curricular interests, with many completing charity work outside of their studies. One such student is penultimate year Medicine student, Khadija Owusu, who is heavily involved with Melanin Medics, an organisation dedicated to tackling the underrepresentation of African-Caribbeans in the medical field.

“Melanin Medics is a charitable organisation dedicated to supporting the community of aspiring African-Caribbean medics, medical students and medical professionals in the UK. My specific role is working as a School Outreach Coordinator which entails organising, facilitating and leading outreach sessions for students from primary schools through to sixth forms,” Kadija says.

“I recruit doctors and medical students to volunteer in schools where we provide a variety of sessions from clinical skills workshops to mock medicine interviews.

“The role has unearthed a passion in me for motivating students in state schools that are currently underrepresented in medicine. Amongst these young students, I have noticed an invisible glass ceiling. Often their aspirations are dampened due to their environment or not seeing people who look like them excelling in their careers. This is a barrier that we are working towards overcoming.”

“I remember being in shock the whole time”

Khadija’s journey before joining St George’s included meeting Michelle Obama when she was still at school, which led to visiting Washington DC and the White House.

“I first met Michelle Obama in 2008 when I was in year 7 when she visited my school as a surprise guest. At the time, I was in the school choir and we performed for her. I was able to watch and listen to her and I remember being in shock the whole time. A few years after that in March 2012, I, alongside 11 other girls, were invited by Michelle to Washington DC for a five-day trip.

“We had the opportunity to meet and speak with her on several occasions at the White House. We also attended the state ceremony where we met Barack Obama. We had a tour of DC, visited an American school and volunteered to cook for the homeless at an organisation called Martha’s Table.

“I’ve also been fortunate enough to be recognised by Powerful Media magazine as a top 150 UK African-Caribbean Future Leader, be invited to 10 Downing Street to meet the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on issues relating to the youth and BAME communities and, in 2019, I was awarded the Akindolie Medical Scholarship.”

“I’ve been given a lot of opportunities and made lifelong friends”

With Khadija now close to the end of her time at St George’s, she reflects that’s she’s grown during her time at the University.

“I started studying medicine at St George’s in 2015. Studying here has been great, I’ve been given a lot of opportunities, met so many new people and have made lifelong friends,” she says.  

“Academically, I have seen myself grow. I’ve worked alongside the incredible Professor Emma Baker and her team as well as Dr Angela Bartolf over the past two years. The experience has enabled me to give, and sometimes win, oral and poster presentations at national and international conferences.

“I’m not sure what area of medicine I want to specialise in at the moment. So far, I am enjoying seeing a variety of medical specialties however I am absolutely sure that regardless of where I do specialise, I will continue to work with Melanin Medics as well as serve as a great leader for underrepresented communities.”

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