There are over 7,000 rare diseases which affect an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Despite this, only 400 have licenced treatments and medical students receive little training in their diversity and care. Back for a fourth year, “The Student Voice” aims to raise awareness of rare diseases among the doctors and researchers of tomorrow, as well as giving an outlet for their experiences and thoughts on all things rare.
Thanks to our partnership with the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases (OJRD), our competition has really grown over the last two years. Our overall winners have had their essays published as papers, and many of the best pieces have appeared as blogs on the BMC website. Last year’s winners can still be seen on the OJRD rare disease day page, and you can learn more about all of our past winners on our general essay competition page here.
Our partnership with OJRD continues for this fourth instalment of the competition, meaning that once again our overall winner will have the chance to be published free of charge in this open access, peer-reviewed scientific publication. We are opening up the competition further still by promoting it to an international audience.
This year’s competition will also have an increased focus on patients’ and students’ experiences of rare conditions. Do you live with a rare disease yourself? Have you treated a patient with a rare disease, or conducted research into their underlying causes? Do you know of or work with a rare disease patient group? If so, this competition is for you.
If you are a medical student, biology undergraduate or masters student, or studying for a health-related undergraduate or masters degree, all you have to do to see your name in print is write a compelling 1,500 word essay on one of these three topics:
1. Rare disease patients often experience a ‘diagnostic odyssey’, moving from clinician to clinician, with multiple misdiagnoses and unnecessary tests. Discuss the impact of this experience on the patient and patient-clinician relationships and, along with examples, ideas on how this experience can be improved.
2. With reference to specific rare diseases, case studies or personal experience, discuss the barriers preventing patients from accessing treatment, and how medics and researchers can improve access to treatments and trials in the future.
3. How can more medical students and researchers become involved in rare conditions? What challenges will they need to overcome to be successful?
An expert panel of scientists, clinicians and patient groups drawn from Findacure’s extensive rare disease network will judge the essays, along with the editor of OJRD.
The winning entry for each question will receive a cash prize of £100, as well as the opportunity to attend our Rare Disease Day conference on 27th February 2018. Here they will receive their prize and meet key clinicians, researchers, patients, and pharmaceutical companies from the rare disease field.
One essay will be declared the overall winner and will receive an additional £100 as well as having their essay published in the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases!
Entry forms and essays must be submitted by 9.00am on Monday 13th November and emailed to Rick Thompson ([email protected]). The entry form and rules and regulations can be found at the links below.
For more information email [email protected].