Exeter medical student becomes first British student to win international racial justice award

A University of Exeter medical student has been awarded the Racial Justice in Medicine Award by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), for supporting aspiring medical students and tackling inequality in teaching materials.

Naabil Khan, a third year student, was presented the award at the Future Physicians for Change conference in Washington DC. It is the first time a British student has won the award, which recognises exceptional individuals who have done unparallelled work and seek to mitigate health disparities.

Naabil’s achievements outside of her medical studies include hosting the “Very Junior Doctors” podcast which introduces life as a medical student in a friendly, accessible, personal manner, creating the Skin For All website which shows different skin conditions on a range of skin tones, and founding the “Future Dr” newsletter which encourages student participation in both extracurricular and super curricular activities covering over 12 medical specialities. 

Naabil, 21 from South London said of receiving the award: “Initially my reaction was stunned silence because I never would have thought that my work in medical education and representation would be noticed – let alone awarded across the Atlantic. I’m so humbled to be the first British Medical Student to be receiving this award – it’s honestly a dream come true.”

Rohini Kousalya Siva MD, President of the American Medical Student Association, said: “Naabil Khan’s recognition with the AMSA Racial Justice in Medicine Award underscores her unwavering commitment to diversifying the medical curriculum and amplifying underrepresented voices in healthcare and medical education. Through her leadership and numerous initiatives, including hosting the podcast Very Junior Doctors, launching the website Skin For All and founding the newsletter Future Dr, Naabil has sparked vital conversations and driven meaningful change within the medical community. 

“AMSA is proud to recognize Naabil’s exceptional efforts, which exemplify our core values of advocating for healthcare equity and fostering a more inclusive future for all.”

This latest win for Naabil comes after being announced as the winner of the Rising Star Award in Healthcare with WeAreTheCity, also for her work around diversifying the medical curriculum, public involvement in medicine, and continuing the conversation surrounding representation and diversity in medicine.

Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences and Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Exeter, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Naabil for all she has achieved so far – these awards are a testament to the dedication and hard work she has put into her various projects, and her commitment in particular to diversifying medical resources.”

Professor Richard Holland, Dean of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “We are so proud of Naabil for all the work underlying these awards. They are a well-deserved recognition of her dedication to tackling inequalities in healthcare, something we care very much about as a Medical School – and we pride ourselves on working with our amazing students on our ongoing commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.”