Dr Jeannie MacLeod Prize - Diversity in Medicine

Dr Jeannie MacLeod Prize - Diversity in Medicine
2021-03-29

Dr Leeanne Bodkin, Coordinator of the medical humanities programme and Megan Shaw fifth year medical student and the winner of the Dr Jeannie Macleod Prize in the Diversity in medicine category share their thoughts on the opportunity to celebrate diversity through these prizes.

This month we enjoyed hearing the student presentations by those shortlisted for the Dr Jeannie Macleod prizes in Medical humanities.  In 1902 Dr Macleod was the second female graduate of Medicine at the University of Aberdeen and the third in Scotland. Tragically, shortly after beginning work at Aberdeen Children’s hospital, she took her own life. These memorial prizes, now in their 4th year, are possible due to the generosity of Dr Macleod’s family. Read her story Gerada, C (2018) Doctors and suicide. British Journal of General Practice; 68: 168

The student presentations on diversity and women in medicine highlighted historical and current issues with gender bias and inclusivity.  Anna Strachan, who is undertaking an intercalated degree in medical humanities, and the winner of the Women in Medicine prize created a collection of artworks that reflected on gender inequality within Medicine and issues that female doctors face throughout their careers. Megan Shaw, a final year medical student, and winner of the Diversity prize, shared her experience of  disability inclusivity within the NHS;

As students, medical humanities give us the chance to talk about topics like diversity and inclusion, which are normally so overshadowed by the science side of medicine. This year, I had the chance to enter the Dr Jeannie MacLeod Prize competition in the category ‘Diversity in Medicine’.  I’ve never been a big essay writer or public speaker, so the prospect of entering an essay competition with an oral presentation would have seen me run a mile! However, this was different because it gave me the opportunity to write and speak about an issue that had directly affected me. I chose to talk about my experience of working in the NHS with a disability  but particularly during the two-year period where my disability was visible to everyone I met. Being a medical student is never easy.  And a medical student with a disability brings with it challenges that go beyond studying for exams  and includes those that most people will never need to think about.  When you live with a disability, being treated as ‘different’ becomes part of life so you never think to say anything.  However, recently equality and diversity has  been brought to the top of the agenda and I felt like this was the right time to share my experiences. The presentation event, where everyone spoke about their projects and discussed the themes brought up in them, was great. It was fascinating to hear the wide range of issues written about and really rewarding to present at because it was such a supportive environment and you could tell that people were genuinely interested in what you had to say.“

One of the other shortlisted presenters Eugenie Wambui Kelbert spoke about valuing and increasing racial diversity in healthcare concluding

“At the heart of successful change and obtaining racial equality and success in the medical fields, there is a need for honesty, openness and a policy of transparency about issues to do with race.”

We hope these prize presentation provide opportunities to contribute to this openness.

The shortlist for the ‘Mental health, resilience and wellbeing prize’ included artwork, creative writing and research into the impact of COVID on the mental health of medical students.  Emily Edwards, a third year medical student, shared her artwork created in response to the pandemic. It used daily thoughts or phrases to encourage the viewer to pause and reflect on how we feel and how their own health and wellbeing has been affected.

To listen to the recordings of the presentations click on links below

Dr Leeanne Bodkin is Senior Lecturer in medical education and coordinates the medical humanities programme undertaken by all third year medical students.  For more information about the prizes or medical humanities please contact Dr Leeanne Bodkin (leeannebodkin@abdn.ac.uk) or visit the medical humanities website https://www.abdn.ac.uk/medical/humanities/

Published by StaffNet, University of Aberdeen

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