RARE  RISINGSTARS - The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 10


Olamide Dada

MBBCh Medicine
University of Cardiff

Olamide Dada

With her parents as her main source of inspiration, Olamide has been able to combine her academic prowess with sheer determination and perseverance to inspire thousands of young aspiring medical students across the country who identify as black African-Caribbean. Her organisation, Melanin Medics, has established a community of future leading medical pioneers which aim to tackle the diversity issue within the medical industry in the UK.

Olamide grew up in a part of Luton which is particularly well known for gang violence and criminal activity. Determined to keep her out of the way of criminal activity, her parents decided to send her to schools that were relatively far away from their home. Her secondary school was based in South Luton; her sixth form was based further afield in Hertfordshire. During her school years, Olamide was involved in sports and mentored younger pupils. She eventually went on to become deputy head girl of her secondary school and became the highest achieving female in her year group.

“Education is the reason why I have been able to do a lot that I have done. Luton has played an important role in helping me to achieve my ambitions.”

Olamide gained a place at Cardiff University to study Medicine in 2016. Here, she started a blog where she documented her experiences as a black, female medical student so that she could share this with others. Olamide quickly realised that there were very few African-Caribbean students in her medical school and thought that this would be the case in other medical schools across the country. Determined to find a way to share her journey and encourage prospective African Caribbean students to apply to study Medicine at university, she set up Melanin Medics in June 2017.

Melanin Medics is a non-profit organisation which is comprised of a team of 15 medical students and professionals throughout the UK, all led by Olamide. Thanks to Melanin Medics’ Doctors’ Network (which contains over 55 doctors) and Mentorship Scheme, they have been able to connect medical students with specific interests to medical professionals and mentor prospective medics. Since starting 11 months ago, their blog has received over 18,000 views and they now release a quarterly newsletter. The team has visited several schools with the aim of improving the number of black pupils applying to study Medicine. Academic support and free personal statement checks are given once pupils apply to be a part of the Melanin Medics community. Students have subsequently received university offers from universities such as Cambridge and Nottingham. Melanin Medics has recently been recognised by the British Medical Association – they will be working together very soon.

Olamide has not only managed to balance Melanin Medics and her degree, but she also founded Cardiff University’s first gospel choir, of which she is the current President. With a passion for music and singing, she was the leader of her high school and sixth form gospel choir. She is the assistant vocal director of a local vocal group in Cardiff and back in Luton.

Determined to provide socio-economically disadvantaged individuals with a brighter future, Olamide pioneered a project called Hampers for the Homeless. She led a small team of young people and raised over £1,000 for the initiative in just one week. She has also worked with NOAH, Human Appeal, Red Cross and Age Concern and has volunteered at her local homeless shelter as well as a local care home.

Olamide hopes that Melanin Medics will continue to expand. She wants the impact of her initiative to be on a global scale and aims to inspire black African-Caribbean aspiring medics around the world. As a female STEM Ambassador, Olamide will continue to amalgamate her two loves, science and social equality, in order to positively influence and inspire the next generation.

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