Heidi wins top medical education award in recognition of her support for students

Swansea University’s Dr Heidi Phillips has been honoured for her dedication to the next generation of GPs at a top Welsh awards ceremony.

Associate Professor for Primary Care at Swansea University Medical School, Heidi Phillips was named BMA Cymru Wales/BMJ Clinical Teacher of the Year in recognition of her outstanding commitment.

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Left to right: Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, Dr Heidi Phillips, Professor Andrew Finlay, Dr Sally Davies

The judges praised Heidi for her innovative and inspiring work on widening access to potential medical students and developing recruitment initiatives in primary care and in under-served communities. 

The award recognises a clinical teacher in Wales who has excelled in their work, supporting doctors in training and medical students. 

Heidi said: I was surprised and delighted to have been nominated for the Teaching and Learning Innovation award by Swansea University and to then go on to receive the BMA award was completely overwhelming. 

“These awards recognise a huge amount of work done by an amazing group of GPs - whose passion and dedication to teaching often goes unrecognised - and to the Reaching Wider partnership whose commitment to widening access is unparalleled.”

Dr John Rees Heidi was judged overall winner at the ceremony held in Cardiff after earlier claiming the Teaching and Learning Innovation awards.

She added: “For me, medicine and teaching have given me the ability to make a difference – to patients, to students and to those learners who would otherwise not be able to access the same opportunities.”

Heidi’s colleague Dr John Rees (pictured) won the Outstanding Achievement category in recognition of the support he has given staff and students over many years.

John, who has been a GP in Llandovery for more than 30 years, is admissions lead for Swansea’s Graduate Entry Medical programme and has played a key role in transforming the process to select and recruit medical students.

Colleagues describe his support for students as legendary as he able to build a rapport that allows them to develop and flourish. His work on promoting resilience in the curriculum has also very recently helped students overcome hurdles and with the daily stresses of medical student life.

John said: “I leave Swansea Medical School at the end of this month with great memories, having made wonderful friends. But my abiding memory will be the students I have had the privilege to meet during their interviews, see flourish as medical students and develop as caring compassionate clinicians. ”

Dr Sam CoxThanks to John and Heidi’s work with admissions, the emphasis is now on recruiting students from Wales who are more likely to stay and work in Wales.

The nominees for the national awards come from local awards given by HEIW, Swansea University Medical School and Cardiff University School of Medicine.

The winners of the individual awards were considered by an independent panel of judges who then decided the overall Welsh winner. 

The evening saw the Medical School celebrate other notable successes. The Swansea Teacher of the Year Award went to Dr Sam Cox (pictured) from the South West Wales Cancer Centre at Singleton Hospital while Dr Chris Horn was named Swansea Rising Star for the fantastic start he has made to his medical education career.

Dr Chris HornChris Dr Susan Pughand Susan Pugh (pictured) were also named runners-up in the local Teacher of the Year category.

Professor Keith Lloyd, head of the Medical School, said: “This was a fantastic achievement for Swansea University Medical School – to have so many winners across the range categories really demonstrates the calibre of medical education we are proud to offer here.

“Congratulations not only to Heidi on her well-deserved success but also to John who plays such a key role in our students’ career pathway as well as to Sam, Chris and Susan.”