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Awards and achievements

UCL student Sarah Lawrence wins London Gold Medal Viva

We are immensely proud to announce that Sarah Lawrence, UCL Medical School graduate, has won the University of London Gold Medal Viva 2013.

Sarah Lawrence, University of London Gold Medal Winner 2013

Sarah Lawrence, University of London Gold Medal Winner 2013

Each year medical schools across London put forward a small number of final year students who have excelled in their course, to compete for this prestigious award.

The Gold Medal Viva itself involves being interviewed by experts on pathology, medicine, surgery, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and paediatrics. The criteria examined are knowledge, clinical context, therapeutic relevance and evidence-base, social and community context and relevance, recent advances, and judgement and reasoning.

In order to win students must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the six subjects, and be able to perform under significant pressure.

UCL is extremely proud of it’s record in the Gold Medal Viva. We take in students with great academic potential, and the MBBS degree helps them to flourish academically, whilst also enhancing the many other skills and attributes required of a 21st century doctor. Since its introduction in 1903, the Gold Medal has been won on almost half the years by candidates from UCL and its constituent medical schools. Results from recent years show that UCL students won in 9 of the last 12 years:

  • 2001, Lisa Browning, University College London
  • 2002, Nadya Samantha James, St George’s Hospital Medical School
  • 2003, Sarah Eisen, University College London
  • 2004, Caitriona Niamh MacDermott, King’s College London
  • 2005, Etienne Wang Cho Ee, University College London
  • 2006, Jake Declan Foster, University College London
  • 2007, Chris Kai-Hu Chang, University College London
  • 2008, Christopher Allan Seaborne Lane, University College London
  • 2009, Anish Bhuva, University College London  and Eliza Gil, King’s College London (joint winners)
  • 2010, Edward Joshua Casswell, University College London 
  • 2011, Matko Marlais, Imperial College
  • 2012, Alasdair Scott, Imperial College
  • 2013, Sarah Elizabeth Lawrence, University College London 

Professor Jane Dacre, Director of UCL Medical School, said:

“We are incredibly proud of Sarah who has not only thrived academically at UCL, but has surpassed our expectations. She is a credit to us, and we wish her every success in her future career. We are very happy to have regained the Gold Medal, as we’ve got quite used to holding it at UCL over the last few years!”

Sarah Lawrence, Gold Medal Winner, said:

“Transferring to UCL from Oxford for my clinical years was initially a daunting prospect but the friendliness and camaraderie of my peers made it very easy to enjoy my first experience of clinical medicine. There is also a certain culture of ambition which, when coupled with the depth and breadth of resources available, including world-renowned tertiary centres and clinicians who are leaders in their fields, encourages one to immerse oneself in this strange but exciting world. Above all, it has been the many healthcare professionals who, through their everyday practice, teach the value of compassion and empathy that has made it an honour to study at UCL.

No one enjoys exams, but the sense of community and the willingness of students to help each other through made finals bearable despite the pressure. In the end it has made me feel well prepared for the year ahead as a junior doctor. Being asked to take part in the Gold Medal Viva was an unexpected bonus and, although I tried to prepare a little beforehand, it was the previous three years of quick-fire interrogation from consultants during ward rounds, group discussions in tutorials and interactions with expert patients that really led to being able to respond to the questions I was asked. Not to mention a large amount of luck! It was a fantastic way to round off my time at UCL and I’m grateful to everyone who helped and supported me throughout.”

We wish Sarah, and all our graduates, every success with their future careers. We hope to see many of them again soon: as doctors, teachers and researchers, excelling at what they do and really making a difference.


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