Elly led a national global health charity to further education, advocacy and community action

Elly Pilavachi

Elly Pilavachi, who graduates today from Brighton and Sussex and Sussex Medical School (10 July, 2013) will be starting work as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, and hopes to have a career in infectious diseases, inspired by her background in global health.

While a medical student, she wanted to explore global health and NGO management, and took a year out to lead and manage a global health charity and network, Medsin-UK.

The charity is dedicated to tackling global and local health inequalities through education, advocacy and community action and has 30 branches across the country. Her involvement introduced her to the world of medico-politics, and she later became the co-chair of the British Medical Association’s national Medical Students Committee, as a result. 

Her interest in Medsin began in her third year when she set up a BSMS branch committee. By the end of her third year, she was elected onto the National Committee and became Vice President of Externals, which involved working with external organisations on common projects and campaigns. She dedicated many hours a week, most weekends, and holidays to working for Medsin over the following years – as she was inspired by the work of the network, and wanted to help ensure all students in the UK would have the opportunity to work in the arena of Global Health.

Elly says: “A lot of my work was involved with fundraising, and sponsorship, to create a financially sustainable organisation to increase the capacity of the network. During this year I created Medsin’s ethical fundraising framework, and did training workshops with local branches, campaigns and projects so that they could utilise the framework, as well as leading workshops on fundraising, and financial management.”

The following year, Elly took a year out of medical school to become National Director and spent the year managing the national committee, national project and campaign directors, board of trustees, and liaised with national and international external organisations. She did this with the overall aim of creating an accessible network that empowered students to be able to reduce health inequities through education, community led action, and advocacy on a local, national and international level. Elly also represented the network and Medsin to external organisations, ranging from the BMA, the Royal Colleges, to the media, and the Lancet, and sat on various boards and committees to represent student’s views in global health. 

Elly says: “BSMS has provided a unique education; not only the training to allow me the confidence to become a new doctor, but also opportunities to further my education in other areas, gain a diverse range of skills and explore a variety of extracurricular interests. The experience has given me the impetus to explore career choices in public health, and infectious disease, and how to include medical education and research in whatever field I choose. I have been really inspired by those I have met along the way, and hope to have a varied career that no matter what I choose to do, I will aim to improve health inequity and further global health education.”

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013