Jessica O’Logbon, is a medical student at Kings College London. She is also the President of KCL African Caribbean Medical Association (KCL ACMA), a society set up by Jessica and a group of black students from across all year groups of the MBBS programme last year.
KCL ACMA aims to inspire and equip African and Caribbean students to pursue careers in the field of medicine and thrive within it. They provide a platform that facilitates networking and encourages medical students and doctors to accomplish their career aspirations.
As president, one of Jessica’s goals this year is to push the society even further with a special focus on an outreach programme called ACRA (African Caribbean Raising Aspirations Programme) which they have received the WP fund for. They are excited to roll this out to secondary school pupils in Year 9 onwards, in South London schools, to get them thinking about studying medicine and enforce that they have the potential to achieve that goal.
Additionally, Jessica has an interest in the cause of health disparities and what we can do to spread awareness of these. She has run events which delve deeper into these inequalities such as ‘BAME in Psychology and Psychiatry’ that had a turn-out of over 200 attendees. Jessica recently organised KCL ACMA’s first national conference called ‘Let’s Talk About Black Women and Breast Cancer’. Jessica is keen to shed a light on health inequalities and most importantly, possible solutions to address them and has discussed this at these events. She is in the process of writing a report on ‘the effect of breast cancer on black women’ to raise awareness of the condition.
This year, Jessica was invited to No 10 Downing Street with 13 other medical students from London universities for a round table discussion with Mr Nero Ughwujabo, Special Adviser on Social Justice, Young people and Opportunities to the Prime Minister. The objective of the meeting was to discuss ways to increase the number of BAME students attending UK medical schools thereby increasing the number of BAME Doctors in the UK so that they can help address health inequalities in the UK.
“It was an unforgettable day. Everyone had their names at their assigned seats, which solidified that feeling for me: I’m supposed to be here. In addition, Mr Ughwujabo made us feel very welcome and put them at ease.” One of the insights gained at this meeting was the importance of attending board meetings, even as medical students – an opportunity that is open to all individuals. This way, students can learn about policies that could potentially deal with some of the race disparity issues that we currently face and strive for the top positions within the NHS, such as Medical Directors, so that we would be able to influence policies from the top and affect change that way. Another was to continue mentoring our younger peers. Jessica is really happy that she had the opportunity to talk about such pressing matters directly with someone high up in government and the advice given will ultimately have a positive effect on future patient care.
This year as well, Jessica was featured in the Future Leaders magazine, an annual publication which profiles 150 of the UK’s most outstanding African and African Caribbean students and graduates.
Throughout Jessica’s medical degree so far, she has worked alongside her studies and was awarded the NHS ‘Make a Difference’ award by a patient who felt that she had contributed greatly to her care and wanted me to be acknowledged for it. Jessica was then featured in the NHS 70 campaign to celebrate 70 years of the NHS and shared the story of her journey of getting into medical school.
Advice to your younger self:
“Dreams don’t work unless you do” is a motto I live by. Every aspiration you have is achievable, but not without hard work and effort!