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Health Sciences

Dr Kizanne James-McCarthy awarded Rising Star Accolade as part of University of Southampton’s Inaugural Outstanding Alumni Awards

Published: 28 July 2022
Dr Kizanne James-McCarthy
Dr Kizanne James-McCarthy

The School of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton is delighted to announce that School alumni, Dr Kizanne James-McCarthy, has received the Rising Star award at the University’s Inaugural Outstanding Alumni Awards this year. The Rising Star Award is presented to an alumnus who graduated from Southampton no more than five years ago, and who has made an outstanding contribution in their field or to society. The University of Southampton’s Inaugural Outstanding Alumni Awards, launched in the University’s 70th year, recognise excellence in our alumni community and offer a chance to celebrate the achievements of the many outstanding individuals who have passed through Southampton’s doors.

Dr Kizanne James-McCarthy (MSc Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care, 2018) is a multi-award-winning leader, Chevening Scholar, women’s rights and health activist and physician with a passion for global health. She has been promoting family planning since she was at medical school through activities including voluntary talks on sexual health at institutions including prisons and developing a phone app and website giving information about contraception.

In 2016 she was chosen to become a World Contraception Day Ambassador. She has volunteered with numerous third-sector organisations within the Caribbean and the UK, with a special focus on youth empowerment, women’s development and health. Her commitment to youth leadership and work in the field of sexual health is a shining example of both professional achievement and public good.

Kizanne is currently a National NHS Management Trainee in Scotland being prepared for senior management roles in the NHS. Her training includes strategic and operational responsibilities, quality improvement and multi-level stakeholders working in women’s health. She has also been recruited as a policy advisor and strategist for the Scottish Government in Women’s Health and Equality.

The award was presented by Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton at the Vice-Chancellor’s Celebration Dinner on Thursday, 21st July 2022 at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton.

Professor Sara Demain, Professor of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation and Head of School, Health Sciences said, “We are thrilled that Kizanne has been chosen as the recipient of the University’s Rising Star award this year. She is an inspiration to all of us at the School of Health Sciences and we are very proud to be part of her journey. I know I speak for the whole University when I say that we are incredibly proud of how much she has achieved in such a short time, supported by her study and graduation with an MSc from Southampton, and the positive difference that she is making in the wider community.”

Professor Julie Cullen, Professorial Fellow: Health Education and Leadership at the School of Health Sciences added, “I am privileged to have taught Kizanne during her MSc in Leadership and Management and to have nominated her for this award. She was a star student and I have witnessed the ongoing impact she has continued to make on a global scale. I look forward to seeing where this rising star shines her light in the future”.

Dr Kizanne James-McCarthy commented, “I feel absolutely honoured to have been selected for this award. As an Afro-Trinidadian woman from a humble background to be recognised by one of the top universities in the world is among my wildest dreams. I owe so much to my mother, a single parent who worked as a security officer, so that we could have an education. To Michael John, then Head of Strategic Planning at an oil company in Trinidad, who stood in as a father figure and mentor. To the support of my aunts, teachers, and church members; successful people are created by a community of kindness.

Growing up in poverty, I faced so many obstacles in acquiring an education. We couldn’t always afford to go to school, to get books or uniforms, and we were often teased for being poor. This within the backdrop of the multiple vulnerabilities you are exposed to in society, without financial and social capital. When trying to acquire my first degree, I worked three jobs for a year to pay my first semester’s tuition, and sometimes failed courses, but I kept going. Today, I have four degrees and I’m completing my fifth. The journey towards getting an education is not about perfection but dedication.

I believe that we should all live in a society where basic needs for all are available, on a planet rich in resources poverty should not exist. It is this belief that drives me and my work to help develop healthcare systems into equitable centres of care. My upbringing and exposure grounds me, while using my education to positively impact lives, as education should be a tool for good to create the world we want to see.”

Notes for editors

Dr Kizanne James-McCarthy Biography

Dr. Kizanne James-McCarthy (MSc. MBBS. B.Med.Sci. BSc.) is a multi-award-winning, development professional, Chevening Scholar, reproductive health advocate, and physician, with a passion for improving quality healthcare access to marginalised communities. She has a wealth of experience leading SRHR campaigns and community development programmes geared towards the advancement of youth and vulnerable populations in the global south that spans 10 years.

She is one of 10 World Contraception Day Ambassadors, a 120 Under 40 Global Family Planning Champion (Bill and Melinda Gates Institute), and a Women Deliver Alumna. She holds a Masters degree with distinction from the University of Southampton, U.K. in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care (Chevening Scholarship), and attended the University of Oslo, Norway, completing postgraduate studies in International Community Health, Accessibility, Equality, and Human Rights (full scholarship).

Kizanne is an emerging thought leader in SRHR, as published in Marie Claire UK, Family Planning Voices, PSI Impact, among other local, regional and international media platforms. In 2017 she shared insights into the use of mobile health technology to advance SRH in developing countries as a TEDx UK Speaker.

At present Kizanne is a National NHS Management Trainee in Scotland being prepared for senior management roles in the NHS. Her training includes strategic and operational responsibilities, quality improvement, multi-level stakeholders working in women’s health. She has also been recruited as a policy advisor and strategist for the Scottish Government in Women's Health and Equality.

Awards (2015-2022)

● Bayer Scholar Award 2022 - Scholarship to attend John Hopkins-Bloomberg School of Public Health Summer Institute in Data to Policy in Population, Family and Reproductive Health.

● Recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Rising Star Award - University of Southampton inaugural Outstanding Alumni Awards July 2022. Recognises the work of exceptional alumni over the university’s 70 anniversary.

● Winner of the Ingenuity Fund, by Bill and Melinda Gates Institute managing a grant provided to create positive disruptive change in my community. With this we provided Manual Vacuum Aspiration a safer, cheaper procedure for women in Tobago. (2019-2020)

● Full Scholarship to study International Community Health: Accessibility, Equality, Human Rights at the University of Oslo, Norway Summer School 2018.

● 2017-Winner of the 120 under 40 Global Family Planning Champions by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and John Hopkins University.

● 2017 SEED Grant Winner, University of Southampton for Access Sexual Health, a social movement and enterprise aimed at providing sexual health services in developing countries using digital media.

● Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Award 2017 from the University of Southampton for my contribution to the development of women in STEM.

● Seed Grant Winner 2016 and 2017 from Women Deliver to create a digital platform to promote sexual health and family planning.

● Chevening Scholarship 2016/2017- UK government scholarship scheme for future global leaders 

● Jamaica Medical Students’ Association, President’s Award 2015 and Excellence in Leadership Award 2016.

● University of the West Indies Premier Award for Excellence in Leadership 2016, Award for Outstanding Leadership 2015 and Award for Excellence in Leadership 2015.

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