What do you do now?
I’m a Professor (medical doctor) in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
I left South Craven in 1991 and studied Medicine at St Mary’s Medical School (now Imperial College) in London. I trained in General Medicine before specialising in Sexual Health and HIV.
I treat people with sexually transmitted infections and HIV, alongside teaching at the medical school. I also conduct local and national research into sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and write national guidelines for other clinicians to guide the treatment of STIs. I work in a large multidisciplinary team of doctors and nurses and train junior doctors at all levels of their training. I recently spent a year working at the University of Sydney, where I taught on an International Masters course and conducted research into HIV and STIs.
I am also involved in a project at Brighton and Sussex Medical School called ‘Widening Participation,’ which supports students from non-traditional backgrounds to apply and come to medical school. I was the only person in my year at medical school from a state educated background!
What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?
My advice to anyone is that if you have a dream career, talk to people who work in the profession. You should also get as much work experience as you can – I washed surgical equipment at Airedale Hospital during the school holidays and volunteered for Mencap in Keighley.
Don’t let anyone try and put you off your dream. Getting into medical school is tough and you need to be well prepared for the interview. Ask your teachers and friends to do practice interviews – the interviewers look for breadth of talents and knowledge, so read widely and engage your hobbies as much as your schoolwork.
I was never the best in class but I was 100% determined to go to medical school. South Craven provided me with a holistic education and prepared me for university life. I was once told by a Careers Advisor (not at South Craven) that I would never be able to apply to medical school because I went to a state school. How wrong they were! I’m so grateful for the support I had at South Craven at a time where it was unusual for people to apply for medical school.
What are you most proud of?
That’s a difficult question! Becoming a professor is something I never imagined – it was down to hard work and making sure I got the best out of my team.
I love supporting my colleagues, trainees and medical students with their work. Watching the medical students I teach become junior doctors and now consultants and GPs is fantastic – I’m extremely proud of them.