Student Essay Prize Winner 2023 announced

29 May 2024

We are excited to announce the winner of our 2023 Student Essay Prize, now in its fifth year.

The essay topic for this year was "What is the most important emerging challenge for global health over the next 5 years and how could this be overcome?" We wanted to hear a personal perspective on the theme.

The student essay competition is for students studying global health as a degree, or any degree with a component of global health or medicine. It is open to current, full-time, students, based anywhere in the world.

Winning essay

The winning essay was by Zoe Raw, pictured above, from the University of Bristol, for her essay titled ‘Pandemic Planet: The Terrifying Ascent of Zoonotic Diseases in an Overpopulated, Warming World during the Anthropocene’.

Explaining her essay and what inspired her to write it, she said: “My essay examines the escalating global health challenge posed by zoonotic diseases, emphasising their transmission from animals to humans due to factors like burgeoning human populations, intensified livestock farming, climate change, and increased global movement of animals. I outline how these elements contribute to the rise and spread of infectious diseases, identifying the significant impacts in developing regions lacking robust health infrastructure. 

“I was inspired to write this essay to highlight the critical importance of addressing zoonotic diseases as a growing global health challenge, and to advocate for a One Health approach to solve this complex problem.”

Second place

Second place was awarded to Genevieve Clapp, a 4th Year Medical Student at the University of Bristol and an MSc student in Control of Infectious Diseases at LSHT, for her essay titled ‘Climate Crisis: the most important emerging global health challenge?’.

Explaining her essay and what inspired her to write it, Genevieve said: “My essay explores the different ways in which climate change poses a threat to human health and whether we still have the opportunity to prevent further destruction. I have focused on the four areas that I believe will face unimaginable challenges over the next five years due to rising global temperatures: extreme weather events, infectious diseases, food security and certain non-communicable diseases (notably respiratory disease and skin cancer). 

“I was inspired to write this essay after seeing numerous clinicians protest for change that could help avert a global health crisis; I want to lend even more weight to their pleas.”

Third Place

Third Place was awarded to Aisha Barkhad, PhD candidate Global Health at McMaster University, for her essay titled ‘The burgeoning potential for zoonotic outbreaks in times of polycrisis: The 2014-2015 West African Ebola epidemic case study’.

Explaining her essay and what inspired her to write it, Aisha said: “The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest-ever Ebola epidemic and represented a unique case study of a polycrisis. In this essay, I wanted to highlight the interplay between deforestation, land grabbing, and climate change, as well as poverty, civil war, and decimated health systems in the context of the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis to shed light on how and why the most important emerging global health challenge in years to come is the global preparation and response to potential zoonotic outbreak threats in times of polycrisis. 

“What inspired me to write this essay was the overwhelming significance of not only reflecting on our past, but learning from it, too.”

Our Student Essay Prize in an annual award and will open again for applications towards the end of the year.