This year’s top scorer in the HealthWatch Student Prize was one of last year’s runners-up. Nicholas Heng, who has just qualified in medicine at the University of Dundee, used his experience in our 2018 competition to hone his evidence-spotting skills and went on to scoop a cheque for £500 in this year's. First prize in the Nursing category went to Sylvestor Odame-Amoabeng, a BSc adult nursing student at Kings College London. While Nicholas' duties as a new doctor meant he could not collect his prize in person, Sylvester and the runners up received theirs from HealthWatch's president, the broadcaster and author Nick Ross, at this year’s HealthWatch Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 30th October at the Medical Society of London.
The 2019 winners are:
First Prize (£500) for Students of Medicine and Dentistry
Nicholas Heng, a student of medicine at the University of Dundee, Scotland
"I am extremely honoured to be awarded the 1st prize this year! Taking part in the competition has been immensely rewarding, pushing me to learn how to develop and apply my skills of critical appraisal.”
First prize (£500) for Students of Nursing, Midwifery, and Professions Allied to Medicine
Sylvester Odame-Amoabeng, student of BSc Adult Nursing at King’s College London
"I jumped at this opportunity to do some real critical appraisal of clinical research protocols right after a module in Evidence-Based Practice! I belong to a faculty where clinical research is a big driver, so this competition has key relevance not only to students but to any clinical researcher."
Runners-up (£100 each)
Robert Grant, student of medicine at the University of Leicester
“I see critical appraisal as an essential skill. The competition was excellent, great practice! I would recommend it.”
Pavithran Maniam, student of medicine at the University of Dundee
“I would love to conduct groundbreaking clinical and molecular research.”
Nader Raafat, student of medicine at the University of Oxford
“I’ve been impressed with my university course’s emphasis on critical appraisal of research. I hope one day to be able to bring my knowledge back to my home country of Egypt.”
Charles Southey, was a student of medicine at Kings College London, now a Foundation Year 1 doctor
“I am getting my peers involved in critical appraisals and quality improvement projects.”
This year's talented students shared a photo-opportunity with the investigative journalist, Dr Faye Kirkland, who received the 2019 HealthWatch Award which each year recognises an individual who has helped protect the integrity of science or to aid public understanding of health issues. Faye Kirkland went from being a practising GP to investigating healthcare scandals as a journalist for national media including the BBC and the Guardian. Accepting the 2019 award in front of a packed room she said, “Investigative journalism has taken me to places I never imagined, secret meetings, being given leaked documents and holding power to account. Continuing to be a doctor is a privilege but helping to create change on a national level can be an even greater one.”
Like Dr Kirkland, we fully expect that the growing number of young HealthWatch Student Prize winners will also use their evidence-spotting skills to make positive impact on healthcare and understanding of science in the years to come.
Left to right: Nader Raafat, Robert Grant, Sylvester Odame-Amoabeng, Faye Kirkland, Charles Southey
Since 2002, HealthWatch's annual Student Prize competition has been giving trainee healthcare professionals the chance to showcase their evidence detection skills. To enter, the students have to scrutinise four pre-supplied research protocols (a protocol is a "recipe" for how to conduct a study to answer a particular scientific question). Hidden in each protocol are scientific, methodological and ethical flaws, which the students need to identify in a short essay. The competition opens each spring and welcomes entries from all medical, dental, nursing and midwifery students, and students of professions allied to medicine. Winners receive a cheque for £500, and runners-up receive £100 each, thanks to generous sponsorship from the Royal College of Physicians. A list of student prize winners from this and previous years can be found here.