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Wednesday 20 October 2021

Caring medical student rewarded with scholarship

Halima Adam has been awarded the 2021/22 Mackenzie Scholarship

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student who has been inspired to train as a doctor after caring for her disabled sister has won a medical scholarship.

Halima Adam is the primary carer for her younger sister Zafirah, who has cerebral palsy, and she has been chosen as the 2021/22 recipient of the Mackenzie Scholarship.

Jointly funded by UCLan and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, it is open to all Bachelor Medicine Bachelor Surgery (MBBS) applicants from East Lancashire and covers the recipient’s tuition fees for the duration of the five-year course.

The 24-year-old, from Blackburn, said: “I was really delighted when I found out I’d been awarded the scholarship. Not only is it such a special honour but it really took the financial pressure off me. I’m the main carer for my 22-year-old sister, so to know I wouldn’t have to struggle to fit more part-time working around my studies and have the time to care for her was a huge bonus.”

"I was really delighted when I found out I’d been awarded the scholarship. Not only is it such a special honour but it really took the financial pressure off me"

Halima Adam, 2021/22 MacKenzie Scholarship recipient

She is the first of her family to study to become a doctor but caring is in her family’s blood as her sisters are also healthcare professionals in nursing and radiography and her parents work in community care.

Halima, who completed a healthcare science degree at the University of Bradford before starting at UCLan in September, has been combining her studies with working as a health care assistant at Royal Preston Hospital since 2018.

The former Our Lady and St John’s Catholic High School and Cardinal Newman College student said: “I wanted to get the experience of working with the patients, nurses and other healthcare professionals first-hand so that I’d understand more when I became a doctor. I was helping patients with their personal care needs, including feeding, and bathing them, and the interpersonal skills gained will benefit my career.”

The aim of the Mackenzie Scholarship is to provide opportunities for students who come from backgrounds that are under-represented at university to study medicine, as well recruiting and retaining local doctors to NHS employment in areas, such as Lancashire, that struggle to keep hold of healthcare professionals.

"We are absolutely delighted at Halima's success and send her our congratulations"

Professor Damien Lynch, Director of Undergraduate Education at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

Persistence has also played its part for Halima. “I have been inspired to pursue a career in medicine from a young age,” she said. “My family have seen my struggles, but I’ve persevered and have always kept believing that I’d get my chance one day. To get my place at my local University, where I’ll study at both the Preston and Burnley campuses and will undertake my placements at my local hospital is a dream.”

Professor Damien Lynch, Director of Undergraduate Education at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We are absolutely delighted at Halima's success and send her our congratulations. She personifies our ambitions for the McKenzie Scholarship, which we set up with UCLan in 2015 as part of our strategy to support people from East Lancashire applying to medical school and underpins our ‘growing your own’ philosophy where students can train and ultimately work as doctors within our health economy. We are looking forward to welcoming Halima to ELHT."

Professor Cathy Jackson, UCLan’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, added: “Halima is a very worthy recipient of this year’s Mackenzie Scholarship. Our award offers a helping hand to a deserving student who is passionate about working in medicine and contributing towards healthcare provision in the local area and Halima epitomises that.”