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NEWS > Alumnae News > Alumnae Making A Difference During COVID-19

Alumnae Making A Difference During COVID-19

We are always immensely proud of our alumnae and keen to celebrate their achievements. This week we're shining a spotlight on what some of them are doing to play their part during the pandemic.

Thank you to all LEH alumnae who have shared these lockdown stories with us.  Whether you are a key worker or an NHS volunteer; maybe you are fundraising or making masks; perhaps you are out on the frontline or indoors shielding - we'd still love to hear from you.  Please email alumnae@lehs.org.uk.

Catherine Salkield (nee Smailes and class of 1991) works as a GP in Cambridgeshire and says her job has changed beyond recognition since the beginning of the pandemic: "As a GP with special interest in care home work, we are striving to put plans in place to aid the nursing homes locally to face their current battle.

"PPE has been especially important with training particularly in ‘doffing’. Working as a team, using resources wisely- including technology and training carers has been paramount." Catherine adds: "I wish all my alumnae friends and colleagues health, safety and resolve to continue for the long haul. Hope favours the bold!"

Fourth year medical student Amber Broekhuizen (class of 2016) has asked us to do a shout out to show our support for her fellow alumnae medical students and student nurses who, like her, have been drafted in to help out in hospitals. She's now a support worker at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after her placement was cut short, like those of so many others.

Amber says: "It's been a bit of a challenge for us to step and and start work early, especially for the student nurses many of whom have been given a lot more responisiblity than would normally be expected of them." She adds: "It's been a really useful learning experience to get involved with the COVID-19 effort and I'm just glad that I was able to be useful."

Shivani Tanna (class of 2000) studied medicine at Imperial College London and is now a GP, practicing in Liverpool and training medical students. She works at Trentham Medical Centre in Kirkby, where she's the clinical lead in a study investigating potential treatment options for COVID-19.

Dr Megan Hume (Class of 2000) works at the Borders General Hospital in Scotland, as an acute medic, with most of her time spent in the emergency department and acute medical assessment unit. She says: “COVID-19 has been a challenging time, and I think we are only just starting to see and appreciate the longer term ramifications. However, some of the positive things I’m witnessing in our communities and amongst colleagues are incredible.”

She adds: “It’s a privilege to be able to go out of the house and have a purpose during these difficult times. Home schooling my four and six-year-olds is, in many ways, more challenging!” Her family currently has an ‘evacuee’ staying with them – her mother, Mrs Hume, who is one of the current violin teachers at LEH and is continuing to take her online classes, in between helping to look after her grandchildren as Megan is out at the hospital.

Elena Hough (nee Upperton, LEH 1991-1998) is the Deputy Head teacher at Wendell Park Primary School in Hammersmith.  The school is currently only open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. They recently made a video of some of the teachers dancing to let all the other pupils know “that we are missing them and that we’re proud of the way they have embraced online learning”.
 
It went viral and the school gates have been decorated by wonderful messages and notes of thanks. One reads: “Team Wendell, your moves are awesome! Thank you for looking after our minds and our hearts.  We miss you!” Check out those dance moves!

Natasha Wilson (nee Gillett, Class of 1994) is a Governor of two women’s prisons - HMP and YOIs Downview and East Sutton Park.  She says: “COVID-19 has made things really challenging and we have had to make a lot of changes in a short space of time to keep everyone safe.  My staff have been absolutely amazing, but no-one really thinks about prisons. We are the forgotten service.

“This afternoon some of my staff spent their lunch break recording a TikTok dance video to help raise money for the Royal Marsden.  It recently cared for our colleague’s wife before she sadly passed away.  They have already raised a significant amount of money and I’m very proud of them. Please do support us if you can, by texting Dance to 70800 to donate £3.  Thank you.”




Joy Arthur (Class of 2011) is a second year medical student at Anglia Ruskin University. After her placement was cancelled, and in between studying for her exams next month, she has dedicated herself to raising funds for Med Supply Drive UK.

They are running a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to buy essential supplies of PPE for NHS healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis. So far they have raised nearly £10,000, but hope to reach a total of £30,000. Please click here if you feel you can.

Epidemiologist Dr Daisy Fancourt (class of 2008), who is an associate professor and research fellow at UCL, is running a vital survey about the psychological and social effects of Covid-19 and social isolation measures.  She needs your help to reach the target of 100,000 participants.  This important research will reveal the impact on mental health and loneliness and is being used to help inform the advice that people are given about how to say well at home.
 
She says: “This is a very distressing and challenging time, with people having to cope with worries about family, friends, work, and finances as well as increasing numbers of people having to enter full isolation.
 
“This research will help us to understand what psychological and social challenges people are facing and what factors can protect against negative effects on mental health. The data will be analysed in real time to inform the support people are given and the advice about how to stay well at home. We are keen to recruit more people from around the UK so all voices are heard. The survey is already generating really useful and meaningful data.”
 
The research team will provide public data each week and are liaising with key policy and healthcare bodies within the UK and other countries to produce cross-national comparisons. The study is open to all people over age 18 in the UK. Participation involves answering a 15-minute online survey now and then answering a shorter 10-minute follow-up survey once a week whilst social isolation measures are in place. To take part, please visit www.covid19study.org
 
Clea Fawcett (class of 2013) is currently working as a doctor in A&E in Yeovil District Hospital. “Every day has brought its own new challenges. We have a large part to play in our patient’s experience, and now more than ever I think patients are pretty scared when they come to hospital.  We can do so much to help relieve their anxieties and begin treatment as the first point of call in hospital.”
 
She's also been playing for the premiership rugby team Bristol Bears who, like us, are also very proud of her and celebrated her achievements with a profile on their website:- https://www.bristolbearsrugby.com/news/we-all-have-our-part-to-play-fawcett/
 
Here are some more of our alumnae NHS heroes who have featured in our recent social media posts:-
 
Danielle Berenson and Jo Nelson (both class of 2008) and Kathy Melotte (class of 2011) are all doctors at St Helier Hospital, taking their turn on the COVID-19 ward.
 
Anjana Dua (class of 2009) is working on a COVID-19 ward at Frimley Park Hospital with other colleagues from LEH and Hampton School.
 
Dr Emma James (class of 1999) and Dr Sadie Syed (Class of 1995) are both Anaesthetic Consultants at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College NHS Trust, London, and are working on the COVID-19 front line.
 
Anna Sri (Class of 2008) is now a psychiatrist at Bodmin Hospital, Cornwall. She says: "I'm supporting my mental health inpatients and outpatients in the community. We have COVID-19 isolation areas on each ward. I am currently looking after a few inpatients who have COVID-19 symptoms but are mentally unwell. It’s been hard but we’ve been keeping it afloat."
 
And here are some of the lovely stories we’ve also picked up from non-frontline workers:-
 
Annabelle Stoney (class of 2018), who is part of the Team Bath Lacrosse Club, cycled 405km as part of the team’s fundraising mission to support NHS Charities.
 
Elizabeth Goodwin Johnson (class of 1989), who usually works as an approved driving instructor, is spending her lockdown making scrubs and face masks for West Suffolk Hospital.

Mary Holmes (class of 1965) is spending the quarantine in her holiday home in Crete after the return flight was cancelled at the beginning of lockdown.  She says it has never been so tidy: “All the books are in subject and alphabetical order, the cupboard are all sorted and the vegetable patch has been planted up with tomatoes, peppers and aubergines.”

Remember Hope Favours the Bold! We salute you, one and all.  Please keep those stories coming: alumnae@lehs.org.uk.
 

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