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Lauren Donaldson

Lauren Donaldson is crowdfunding

49%
£4,993
raised of £10,000 target by 163 supporters

Weʼre raising £10,000 to support The Tom Donaldson Charitable Trust - Trust me, I will be a doctor.

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Story

About Tom's Trust

‘Trust me, I will be a Doctor’ was set up in 2018 in memory of Tom Donaldson, a newly qualified doctor from Derbyshire. Having completed his final exams at the University of Manchester, Tom was on his elective in New Zealand in February 2009 when he died following an accident that resulted in a head injury. Aged just 23, Tom would have helped hundreds of people as a doctor but did not have the chance to make that happen. In Tom’s memory, this Trust supports other young people to achieve their dream of becoming a doctor and help the people Tom dreamed of reaching.

Specifically, this Trust supports young people from backgrounds of social and educational disadvantage in their applications to study Medicine at university, by providing small grants and raising awareness of the work experience opportunities available.

Those underrepresented at medical schools, and therefore targets of initiatives that aim to widen access to medicine (WAM), include people of colour, young people living in the most deprived areas of England and areas with the lowest participation in higher education (HE), state school students, students whose parents do not have HE qualifications, and people with disabilities.

The need

Research in the UK shows that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face major barriers when pursuing their interest in a medical degree and career. Research by the Social Mobility Commission found that medicine is dominated by those from advantaged backgrounds: 73% of doctors are from professional and managerial backgrounds and less than 6% are from working-class backgrounds. Most university medical students are privately educated or hail from privileged backgrounds (individuals with professional or managerial parents). Research by the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2015 found that 20% of secondary schools in the UK provide 80% of all applicants to medicine. Thousands of disadvantaged students are being restricted from reaching their potential and the demographic of the UK’s medical profession does not mirror the population it serves.

Research by the BMA shows that low income students struggle to get into medical school for many reasons: the schools they attend do not offer the required subjects at A Level; their school does not know how to or cannot afford to support medical school applications; students themselves do not know how to obtain the work experience that is pivotal in securing their place in medical school; their parents do not have the contacts to secure their work experience; and pupils lack the resources needed to participate in work experience (for example, travel costs, buying professional attire, daily subsistence whilst on placement).

Universities now have widening participation and outreach schemes in place to attempt to tackle these issues. A 2009 report found that despite these schemes, there was no change in the socio-economic background of doctors between the 1980s and mid-2000s. However, a 2018 news report reported on the success of “gateway” courses, medical degrees that start with a foundation year, designed to help students who may have faced additional barriers due to their backgrounds. A report in January 2020 from the Medical Schools Council Selection Alliance revealed progress has been made by WAM initiatives over the last five years. However, presenting the report, Dr Paul Garrud, Chair of the Medical Schools Council Selection Alliance, acknowledged that “the numbers involved are small”.

A 2015 ‘Selecting for Excellence’ report recommends the NHS expand the provision of work experience for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, with steps including advertising work experience opportunities openly and prioritising applications from those eligible for free school meals, as well as providing reasonable travel expenses. The Tom Donaldson Charitable Trust aims to help meet this expansion and support more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into medical school.

Projects supported by the Trust

1) University of Nottingham - Widening Access to Medical School

In 2019, The Tom Donaldson Charitable Trust worked with the Widening Access to Medical School (WAMS) team at the University of Nottingham to support young people from low-income backgrounds in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire in their applications to study medicine at university. WAMS are a group of medical students from the University of Nottingham who are passionate about helping pupils from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in a career in medicine. This partnership is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we hope to restart activities as soon as it is safe to do so.

The following are activities that we supported WAMS to carry out in 2019 and hope to restart as soon as possible:

• Schools Officers from WAMS visit 2-3 schools every month in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. The schools WAMS work with meet particular criteria to ensure they reach those students most in need of information and practical experience to support their medical school applications. During these visits, the Schools Officers hold presentations on applying to medical school, including the UKCAT and BMAT admissions tests, help students with personal statements and interview preparation, and hold clinical skills sessions, giving students an insight into the world of medicine and a talking-point for medical school interviews.

• Derbyshire-based students are able to participate in the week-long work experience organised by WAMS at the QMC and/or City Hospital in Nottingham in July each year. The week includes a mixture of classroom-based sessions, skills teaching and practical exposure to wards and theatres. Derbyshire-based students are able to apply directly to the Trust for funding to cover travel and lunch expenses that will be incurred during the week of work experience.

• Each autumn, WAMS holds ‘Dr for The Day’, a one-day event which allows 20-30 students to experience a medical simulation centre at the QMC in which they will learn a range of practical skills including laparoscopic trainers, ultrasound and endoscopy simulations.

2) University of Nottingham Medicine with a Foundation Year

In 2019 we supported a student from the University of Nottingham’s Medicine with a Foundation Year programme to travel to Malaysia to study a module in tropical medicine. Students on the Foundation programme come from neighbourhoods in the UK that are less advantaged in terms of income, education and other factors. The student we supported said that "Most importantly, studying this module has developed my medical and clinical knowledge. Being able to experience Medicine in a totally different healthcare setting has given me a global view of healthcare and how I can contribute positively to that. All of these experiences will allow me to be a better medical student and a more informed, skilled and well-rounded doctor."

Conscious that the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving disadvantaged students even further behind due to school closures and issues of unequal access to remote learning, amongst other factors, in 2021 The Tom Donaldson Charitable Trust has formed two new partnerships:

1) Melanin Medics

Melanin Medics is a UK-based charitable organisation for the present and future African and Carribean doctor. According to the General Medical Council Data on Medical Students and Doctors in Training Report (2017) , only 3.3% of medical students identified themselves as Black or Black British. In November 2020 Melanin Medics launched applications for a new programme focussed on Year 12 Black students across the UK looking to apply to medical school. They have done a lot of work supporting aspiring medics previously, but this is their first nation-wide initiative. The programme started in January and we are in the planning stages with them as to how we can support their participants based in the East Midlands, given that is the geographical remit of our Charitable Trust.

2) In2MedSchool

In2MedSchool was established in 2020 and supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds with their applications to medical school by providing 1:1 mentoring with medical students and junior doctors, and providing a variety or resources surrounding entrance exams, personal statements, interviews and work experience. Many of their team come from widening participation backgrounds themselves, so bring a lot of knowledge and experience to this work. We plan to work together in 2021 to support some of the students they mentor in the East Midlands with small grants to cover some of the costs of applying to Medical School.

Through our partnerships, The Tom Donaldson Charitable Trust aims to provide information and practical experience to students wishing to apply to medical school who would otherwise struggle to access it, thereby strengthening their applications. On a local level, we will be making our own, small contribution to breaking down the barriers that restrict thousands of disadvantaged students from reaching their potential and mean the demographic of the UK’s medical profession does not mirror the population it serves.

We aim to continue these partnerships and expand our support year on year so this page is always open for donations.

Many thanks for reading and for your support!

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Updates

4

  • Lauren Donaldson2 years ago
    Lauren Donaldson

    Lauren Donaldson

    2 years ago

    This summer we supported Afra, a student from the University of Nottingham’s Medicine with a Foundation Year programme, to travel to Malaysia to study a module in tropical medicine. She said, "studying this module has developed my medical and clinical knowledge. Being able to experience Medicine in a totally different healthcare setting has given me a global view of healthcare and how I can contribute positively to that. All of these experiences will allow me to be a better medical student and a more informed, skilled and well-rounded doctor."

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Lauren Donaldson3 years ago
    Lauren Donaldson

    Lauren Donaldson

    3 years ago
    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

  • Lauren Donaldson3 years ago
    Lauren Donaldson

    Lauren Donaldson

    3 years ago
    Update from the Page owner

    Share this update to help us raise more

3 years ago

Lauren Donaldson started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 6/11/2021 09.20

Supporters

163

  • Em & Fredo

    Em & Fredo

    Jun 11, 2021

    For Tom and a brilliant cause. Xxx

    £20.00

  • Rosie’s Auntie

    Rosie’s Auntie

    Mar 12, 2021

    £20.00

  • Rosie’s Mum

    Rosie’s Mum

    Mar 11, 2021

    £40.00

  • Jo Burns

    Jo Burns

    Mar 11, 2021

    For Tom, for the Donaldson family!

    £30.00

  • Sheila Butterly

    Sheila Butterly

    Mar 11, 2021

    Donation match for Kerrie McCabe, Ninety One

    £500.00

  • Judy Handsley

    Judy Handsley

    Mar 9, 2021

    The photograph of Tom said it all. You must be so proud of him,Lauren and what his memory is achieving.

    £40.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Mar 1, 2021

    Good luck 😉

    £10.00

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Lauren Donaldson

Lauren Donaldson

East Midlands

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