RARE  RISINGSTARS - The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 5


Khadija Owusu

St George’s, University of London
Charity, Health and Medical Access
Isaiah Wellington-Lynn

Khadija started life in a council flat on Broadwater Farm Estate in north London’s Tottenham, before the family moved to Finsbury Park. She grew up in a single-parent household, with her mother and younger brothers, and attended a local comprehensive school until the age of 16. Her mother worked as a part-time cleaner, and Khadija recalls finances were hard – one of her main motivations for becoming a doctor. She also cites watching her brother grow up with sickle cell anemia, taking the family in and out of hospital, and observing how hard the medical staff worked to deliver his care.

Khadija excelled throughout school, and in March 2012 was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama, for an inspirational essay she had written about her mother. There she met with The First Lady over five days to discuss effecting positive change as women, spoke with other Black and ethnic minority women in power, and volunteered with a charity. Returning to the UK, Khadija determined to achieve her goal of becoming a doctor. That same year she received the Women in STEM Award, presented by HRH Princess Anne. Khadija also won a full scholarship to Ashbourne College sixth form, where she completed her A Levels with A*AA and secured a medical offer at St George’s, University of London.

In her third year of university, Khadija co-founded Melanin Medics, a registered charity which works to increase representation of African and Caribbean-descent students within the medical profession. As Director of Programmes, Khadija coordinates all outreach work, which involves going into state schools or schools that have a predominantly Black and ethnic minority population to educate pupils as young as six on careers in Medicine. Over the years the organisation has reached over 4,000 young people and boasts a 91% success rate of supporting anyone who has interacted with them into medical school. They have a combined social reach of more than 10,000 followers and are the largest intergenerational association of Black medics in the UK. To date, Melanin Medics has received official sponsorship from various organisations, including £20,000 from the British Medical Association. In July 2020, Khadija oversaw the launch of their mentorship programme in partnership with Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. This programme has supported 25 students to make competitive Medicine applications with six monthly sessions, including subject lectures and soft skills advice from Cambridge academics.

Khadija is the President of the Medical Elective Equipment Fund, a project that helps students evaluate the use of medical resources in healthcare settings in low-income countries when on their elective. This is operated as an online course available on the FutureLearn platform. The fund also provides these students with the opportunity to donate equipment using grants that have been donated to the project (currently up to £3000).

In addition to these responsibilities, Khadija works as an ambassador at Medics2You and the Grow, Unite and Build Africa (GUBA) Enterprise. Medics2You is a healthcare technology start-up that aims to deliver quality patient-centred care to the continent of Africa via video consultations. GUBA Enterprise is a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of native Africans and the African diaspora through initiatives such as skills workshops and business coaching. As of April 2020, Khadija serves as a Trustee for the charity Raising Futures Kenya. Their work includes practical trade and business skills training via community organisations, alongside tailored well-being support, which enables young Kenyans to overcome past traumas and realise their ambitions. She has spoken at various national and international conferences on racism in Medicine and common Black and ethnic minority healthcare issues, and been featured on BBC, ITV and Channel 5 News.

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