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A profile of... Dr Gabriela Barzyk-Sheriff


Gabriela Barzyk-Sheriff graduated from the MB ChB at Warwick in 2022 and is currently in her second year of the Foundation Programme in London. During her time at WMS, Gabriela set up In2MedSchool, a national widening participation initiative that supports students from underprivileged backgrounds who want to study medicine and get to university. It initially focused on providing virtual mentoring, matching up medical students with sixth form students to provide guidance on the application process and to share experiences of studying medicine.

Now a charity, In2MedSchool has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years, with Gabriela being recognised for her work with several prestigious awards in 2023. These include the Emerging Young Leader Award from the Institute of Leadership, Women of the Future: 50 Rising Stars in ESG, Kindness and Leadership: 50 Leading Lights, and Best Mentor in the Student Social Mobility Awards.

We caught up with Gabriela to find out more about her work and what she hopes to do next.

Lovely to speak to you again, Gabriela! How are you finding life as a doctor?

I’m enjoying it a lot! It’s really nice to be able to apply the knowledge I learnt at Warwick and put everything into practice. You learn on the job quickly as there are so many new challenges. So far, all of the teams I’ve been part of have been very supportive and the range of experiences has been fantastic. It’s really rewarding. I’ve had rotations in acute medicine (including a second block for FY2), palliative care, general surgery and now I’m in general practice.

Do you have any tips for our finalists who’ll be starting work as doctors in the summer?

I think the most important thing is to make sure you look after yourself – try and eat well, sleep well and stay in contact with your family and friends, because it can feel quite overwhelming at the start.

How have things progressed with In2MedSchool over the last couple of years?

Things have moved on quite a lot since I graduated! Back then we had around 2,000 volunteers mentoring. Now we have 4,000 volunteers who help with mentoring but also other activities like our events and work experience. When we first set up In2MedSchool we held some events but they were done online because of Covid. Now we’re able to run face-to-face events too and they’re proving really popular. We run an Applying to Medicine conference, and mock MMIs (Multiple Mini Interviews). At our last event in London we had about 200 attendees over the two days, and we ran our first one in Scotland earlier this month, which had about 60 attendees.

One area we’re focusing on more now is work experience. So far we’ve been able to offer over 200 placements for students around the country, including in hospitals, GP practices and care homes.

We’re also branching out a bit more and are doing work with younger students as well to show them the options available in medicine and healthcare at an earlier stage in their education. We now have a school engagement programme where two of the co-directors and their team go into schools to run workshops for children in years 7 – 11.

What impact is your work having?

We’ve got a lot of success stories now, with many of the students we’ve mentored and helped at events going on to study medicine at university. In fact some of them have now become mentors for In2MedSchool themselves, which is great! Seeing these results makes all the hard work worth it.

The other thing is that for a few of the students our work with them has helped them decide that actually medicine isn’t for them and they’d prefer to do something else, which is also beneficial.

We’re so pleased to see you’ve received recognition for all your hard work. How do you feel about your awards?

Honestly I still wonder how it’s all happened! I’m so grateful that people took the time to nominate me. It’s all been really great and has given me a good opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come with In2MedSchool. It was fantastic being at the awards ceremonies and meeting such inspiring people from other sectors – I’ve stayed in touch with a few of them, which is lovely.

How are you able to fit your work with In2MedSchool alongside your work as a doctor?

I’m so grateful for the amazing In2MedSchool team; all our volunteers and directors. They make everything we do possible. I do make sure I’m as organised as possible but to be honest because I really enjoy what we do and seeing the difference we’re making it doesn’t feel like work. Of course some days can be pretty exhausting though!

What’s next for you, both in terms of your work as a doctor and your work with In2MedSchool?

I’ll be finishing FY2 working in Emergency Medicine. After that I’m going to do a third foundation year to give me a bit longer to decide what I’d like to pursue – I do enjoy many aspects of hospital medicine but am also considering general practice.

In terms of In2MedSchool I want to keep supporting as many students as we can and look at new events and initiatives we can offer. This year we have a new face-to-face event happening in Nottingham, which aims to introduce students to different specialists and potential application routes. So we’re looking forward to that and based on how it goes we’ll consider introducing other similar events in the future.