With her fight against the taboo on heavy menstrual blood loss, Yara Dixon, Medicine student at Erasmus University Rotterdam, has been named Medicine student of the year 2021. She is the first winner of the KNMG Student Award.
This new prize - an initiative of the KNMG medical federation and De Geneeskundestudent - is intended to increase the social involvement of medical students. In the final round, Yara Dixon received the most online votes. The second place was also for medical students of Erasmus University Rotterdam: Jeanne Arnold received the prize as representative of the group 'Geneeskundestudenten In De Samenleving (GIDS)'.
Dixon and Arnold were chosen from 32 inspiring initiatives, of which three were designated as finalists by the jury. Tackling a taboo, the social impact and her intrinsic motivation were the jury's main reasons for selecting Yara Dixon's project as a finalist: 'This is a good example of identifying a social problem during your studies and then taking responsibility yourself to do something about it. Dixon thinks it is good that the election draws attention to this, she says in Erasmus Magazine: "More and more students are dedicating themselves to society and I am very happy about that. It is one of the things that makes a doctor a good doctor."
Making heavy menstrual blood loss a subject of discussion
In order to make heavy menstrual blood loss (HMB) more open to discussion, Yara Dixon made an infographic - the HMB symptom checker - and translated it into English, Turkish and Arabic. Doctors use the infographic during consultations and women can also use it for a self-test. In addition, she collaborated with the student organisation IFMSA-Rotterdam on a fundraising campaign for women who do not have enough money to buy tampons, sanitary towels and the like (menstrual poverty). She also provided a cabinet with free menstrual products at her medical faculty.
In Erasmus Magazine Dixon says that in the coming period she will also focus on providing information to health care providers. "Now girls or women who have heavy periods are given a pill to take home to reduce their symptoms. But in some cases it is better to investigate underlying factors. For example, there may be a blood clotting disorder. It is also important to do diagnostics on anaemia, because anaemia can, for example, cause concentration problems. The approach of healthcare providers can therefore be improved. I hope to be able to make a difference.
Medical Students in Society
With 'Geneeskundestudenten In De Samenleving (GIDS)' (Medical Students in Society), students are given the opportunity to see social problems with their own eyes and to help solve them. GIDS has now set up twelve social projects with and for students. Third prize went to Coen Vulders, medical student at Radboud University. He started the Open Boek Nijmegen foundation and organises symposia in which young people suffering from depression share their personal experiences.
The aim of the election is to increase social involvement among medical students and to show that studying medicine is not just about 'CV-building' and good grades. In the final round, the finalists were neck-and-neck for a long time, but in the end Yara Dixon came out on top with 37% of the votes. GIDS came second with 34% of the votes and Coen Vulders came third with 29% of the votes. Besides the title, Yara Dixon wins a cash prize of 5,000 euros.