The Student Voice Prize

The Student Voice Prize Hall of Fame

We are delighted to say that year is the 10th time we’ll be running The Student Voice Prize.

For the past nine years, we’ve searched the world for the top student rare disease essays and we’re proud to say we’ve found them.

Take a look at the brilliant minds who have come before you and give their winning essays a read.

The Student Voice Prize 2022


Zheqing Zhang
Photo of 2021 SVP winner Zheqing

Zheqing was a third-year medical student at The University of Oxford. 

Essay title: Diagnosing Rare Diseases: A Family’s Story

Essay question: Diagnosis can be a challenging journey for many people living with a rare condition. Compare and contrast the diagnostic journey of two or more people/families living with a rare condition, reflecting on the impact of these experiences on their mental well-being.

Zheqing participated in the patient pairing scheme and was paired with Sarah from the VEDS Movement.

Runner up
Olivia Noone

Behçet’s Disease: Diverse Manifestations in Both Brain and Body

Read Olivia’s blog

Runner up
Chloe Yallop

The ‘diagnostic odyssey’ – a unique and unpredictable journey toward hope

Read Chloe’s blog

Runner up
Fiza Javed

One in a Million Disease with a Million Dollar Cure

Read Fiza’s blog

The Student Voice Prize 2021


Zainab Alani
Photo of 2021 winner Zainab

Zainab is a first-year medical student at The University of Glasgow. 

Essay title: Exploring Intersectionality; an international yet individual issue

Essay question: A wide range of factors, such as race, wealth, and gender, can impact an individual’s experience of healthcare and society in general. This is known as intersectionality. Use a case study to demonstrate the specific challenges faced by patients with rare diseases on a daily basis. Discuss how intersectionality can mean that these people experience greater disadvantages.

Runner up
Ana Maria Lopez-Ruiz

An Eye for an Eye – How Comparisons Between Cystinosis and Type 1 Diabetes Can Reveal Health Inequalities for Patients With Rare Diseases.

Read Ana Maria’s blog

Runner up
Gavin Choong

Intersectionality in the diagnosis and treatment of Elephantiasis- A case study

Read Gavin’s blog


Runner up
Meagan Collins

Looking Through a New Lens: Insights into Patient Participation in Rare Disease Research

Read Meagan’s blog

The Student Voice Prize 2020


Catriona Chaplin
Catriona winner of SVP 2020

Catriona was a medical student at Barts and London.

Essay title: Unmasked: an insight into three patients’ rare disease experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

Essay question: Reflect on the impact of shielding during COVID-19 on rare disease patients and their families. How has COVID-19 changed the rare disease experience?

Caitlyn Taylor

The Journey of a Rare Disease Patient

Read Caitlyn’s blog

Runner up
Molly Bowden

What is Leigh Syndrome? If you had MS, I could help you

Read Molly’s Blog 


Runner up
Sanjana Ashok

Rare Disease Research: What challenges have presented in a global pandemic?  

Read Sanjana’s Blog

The Student Voice Prize 2019

The Student Voice 2019 saw the continued growth of the competition, with more entries and more winners than ever before.

Anna-Lucia Koerling

No Friends 1

Read Anna-Lucia’s essay

Sandy Ayoub

Dual Deprivation for rare diseases

Read Sandy’s blog 

Muhammad Shaikh

Improving Rare Disease Recognition Via Medical Education

Read Muhammad’s blog

Anneliese Ng

No country for Healthcare Equity

Read Anneliese’s blog 

The Student Voice Prize 2018

The Student Voice 2018 saw us offer, for the first time, the opportunity for students to be paired with rare disease patient groups to learn from their real life stories.

Logan Williams

Repurposing a rare opportunity: a brief insight into how implicit bias towards biomedicine impacts the care received by patients with a rare illness

Read Logan’s essay

Maisha Umama

Four things I learned from an individual with fibrous dysplasia

Read Maisha’s blog 

Naomi Morka

When a mother flees from her newborn’ – comparing Harlequin Ichthyosis cases in Nigeria and the United Kingdom

Read Naomi’s blog

The Student Voice Prize 2017

Mariam Al-Attar

TRAPPED – an insight into two sisters’ struggle to access treatment for a rare genetic disease

Read Mariam’s essay

Rupa Kumar

Raising the flag for orphan diseases – opportunities and challenges for medical students and researchers

Read Rupa’s blog 

Simon Westby

An odyssey not alone

George Wood

Collaboration is helping medical professionals and patients with rare diseases to face their challenges

Read George’s blog


The Student Voice Prize 2016

Rebecca Nunn

It’s not all in my head!” – The complex relationship between rare diseases and mental health problems

Read Rebecca’s essay

Srinivasa Rambhatla

Implementing the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases more effectively: A patient perspective of the complex relationship between rare diseases and mental health problems

Read Srinivasa’s blog 

Ferenc Gutai

The rare disease revolution: how it will help shape the future of medicine

Read Ferenc’s blog

The Student Voice Prize 2015

Roberta Garau

The medical experience of a patient with a rare disease and her family

Read Roberta’s essay

Nicholas Heng

Using rare genetic diseases to understand medicine

Read Nicholas’s blog 

Mark Jacunski

There is more than one way to show a treatment works

The Student Voice Prize 2014

The first-ever Student Voice Prize essay competition was run in 2014, with the idea conceived by one of Beacon’s (then called Findacure) first interns.

Rosemary Grain
Benjamin Ng
Anne Fitzgibbon