WINNERS: The 2021 Auwal Shanono/OCI Foundation’s Literary Award for Medical Students, LAMS, with Virtual Award Presentation on November 13, 2021)

WINNERS: The 2021 Auwal Shanono/OCI Foundation’s Literary Award for Medical Students, LAMS, with Virtual Award Presentation on November 13, 2021)

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Here are the winners of the  2021 Auwal Shanono/OCI Foundation’s Literary Award for Medical Students, LAMS. A virtual (Zoom) ceremony for handing out the awards was held on Saturday, November 13th, 2021.

Assoc. Prof. Chris Ifediora, the President and Founder of the OCI Foundation, was the guest speaker at the event. The OCI Foundation rewarded the top 10 performers from this 2021 edition. This award is in fulfilment of the OCI Foundation’s resolve to support and improve the literary skills of Nigerian doctors-in-training and is being delivered in partnership with the Nigerian Medical Students Association (NiMSA).

The Literary Award for medical Students (LAMS) became a national event in 2021, and will be held annually. Essays for the 2021 edition were received from September 14th to October 14, 2021. Here are the top 4 essays:

  1. First Position: LAMS ENTRY 32 Nater P
  2. Second Position: LAMS ENTRY 36 Egwuda J
  3. Third Position: LAMS ENTRY 24 Folarin
  4. Fourth Position: LAMS ENTRY 9 Ogbonna C

TASNEC was established by NiMSA in honour of its former President, the late Auwal Shanano, who died in 2011 while on active service for NiMSA. The maiden competition in late 2020 was initiated by NiMSA, and at the time, independent of the OCI Foundation. Due to difficulties in fulfilling the benefits tied to the award, the OCI Foundation was approached to assist, and the Foundation’s Board graciously voted in the affirmative.

NiMSA is the national body that represents all the medical students in Nigeria, and is made up of medical schools from all six geo-political zones in Nigeria.

Scrub outfits produced as part of LAMS sponsorship

It should be recalled the, in August 2020, the OCI Foundation sponsored the first-ever Literary Award for Medical Students (LAMS). At the time, it was staged only for the medical schools South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, who initiated the idea. With this announcement, all geo-political zones will compete in this annual essay competition, a declaration that reflects Prof Ifediora’s firm commitment to inspiring youths and medical undergraduates across the Nigerian nation.

LAMS is designed to identify, inspire, and reward medical students who show literary dexterity. Its next edition, which will be concluded before November 2021, will be in combination with TASNEC, and will be sponsored solely by the OCI Foundation, for all medical schools in Nigeria. In addition to cash awards, the OCI Foundation will be providing branded medical scrub outfits and stethoscopes for the top performers in the competition, with automatic membership to the OCI Foundation offered to the top 3 as well.

The OCI Foundation’s decision to support the Nigerian medical students via the LAMS Initiative was an easy one, given that the Foundation’s Founder, Assoc Prof Chris Ifediora, was very active in NiMSA activities in his undergraduate days. He was also an alumnus of the SE Zone of NiMSA, having been a prominent member of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical Students Association (NAUMSA).

As a medical undergraduate, Dr Ifediora, who was nicknamed “the Scribe” due to his literary prowess, served as the Secretary-General of the Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations, FAMSA (the body of all African medical students) in 2001. Before then, at the NiMSA General Assembly hosted by the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (Nigeria), he contested for, and lost narrowly in a very keenly contest election for the Director of the NiMSA Standing Committee on Medical Education (SCOME). He remained active in NiMSA, featuring prominently in the associations national activities across all regions of Nigeria between 1999 and 2002. He was also an invited delegate to the General Assembly of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) in Taipei, Taiwan (2001), but, for reasons beyond his control, he failed to attend, despite obtaining the required visa.

Dr Ifediora also served as the Secretary Generals of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical Students Association (NAUMSA) and the ROTARACT Club of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (ROTA-NAUTH), among other positions. He was a recipient of the inaugural Most Academically Outstanding Medical Student Award”, offered by the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Medical Student’s Association (NAUMSA).

His exposures to a balanced mix of academics and politics helped him hone his literary skills, which has guided him to achieve excellence in his careers to date as a medical practitioner, researcher and academic. Those skills were also vital in his sojourn through institutions in the United Kingdom (University of Liverpool), the United States of America (Harvard Medical School) and Australia (Griffith University).

These underlie his firm convictions that developing literary skills among doctors can unlock huge potentials that significantly complements medical practice, and the LAMS Initiative is his way of inspiring our upcoming doctors in this regard.

For the records, the OCI (Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora) Foundation is an international (Nigerian-Australian) non-profit, charity organisation established with the aim of breaking down barriers to the attainment of excellence among Nigerians through Education, Health and Empowerment/Charity Activities. The LAMS Initiative is a component of the Foundation’s Educational project, which has 5 other scholarship schemes under it. These scholarships can be found HERE.

Even though only the Eight Medical Students’ Associations under the SE Zone of NiMSA will be benefiting from this LAMS Initiative for now, the OCI Foundation is open to the possibility of expanding the program across the entire Six NiMSA zones in Nigeria.

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