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Barts and Lancaster medical students win history of medicine prize

Medical students at Lancaster University and Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry have won the Royal Society of Medicine’s 2023 Norah Schuster prize for the history of medicine. 

Alexandrina Braniste (Lancaster) and Conor Taylor (Barts) presented their prize-winning work at a special event at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London and online on Wednesday 15 February 2023. 

The event was hosted by the RSM’s History of Medicine Society, which awards the prize every year for the best essay or essays on the history of medicine or medical science. 

Before presenting her paper on Fogarty's embolectomy catheter and its impact in vascular surgery, Alexandrina Braniste, a final-year medical student, said: “I’d just like to begin by saying how delighted I am to be able to do this. I’m very honoured with this prize, so thank you to the Royal Society of Medicine.” 

Her fellow prize winner, Conor Taylor (pictured, right), is also in the final year of his medical degree and plans to become an army doctor after graduating. He gave a history of the Finsen Light Department at the London Hospital. He said: “It’s a real honour to be here and I’d like to thank the Royal Society of Medicine for inviting me to speak this evening and for thinking my essay was of merit.  

“If truth be told, I probably should be revising for my finals at the moment but this was something I couldn’t turn down.  

“I just want to stress it’s an absolute privilege to be here with you this evening.” 

The Royal Society of Medicine awards dozens of prizes every year to recognise and reward the best ideas and innovative thinking across healthcare, medicine and science.  

Find out more about our prizes and awards 

The prize presentations were followed by the Bynum lecture. Sponsored by Cambridge University Press, the Bynum lecture is named after medical historian Professor W. F. Bynum and is given annually by a practising social historian. This year’s lecture was given by Dr Jonathan Reinarz of the University of Birmingham, who spoke about his project exploring how burns and scalds shaped Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Professor Bynum, who was in the audience, said: “I’d like to say how much I’ve enjoyed these presentations and long may the Norah Schuster prize and, I hope, Bynum lecture continue. We’ve had absolutely wonderful variety and standards of presentations. Thank you all.” 

Dr Christopher Gardner-Thorpe (pictured, left), President of the RSM’s History of Medicine Society, welcomed the speakers and audience and chaired the event.  

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