Aston Medical School students
  • Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare was highly commended by judges for benefitting society
  • Judges commended the programme for engaging talented young people who would otherwise be lost to medicine
  • The programme has engaged over 2000 young people since it started in 2016.

A scheme by Aston University to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Birmingham, the Black Country and surrounding areas with ambitions to enter medicine or a healthcare profession has been highly commended for benefitting society in this year’s Green Gown Awards.

The Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare supports young people to expand their knowledge and skills and gives them an insight into what it is like to study medicine or a healthcare-related degree at university.

The Green Gown Awards judges commended the programme for promoting a greater range of people to become healthcare professionals, breaking down ‘ivory towers’ by the early engagement of students - before they choose their GCSE subjects - across a wide number of schools.

The judges also commended the scheme for providing excellent links to health professionals as role models and making healthcare stronger through promoting diversity and engaging talented young people who would otherwise be lost to medicine.

Since it started in 2016, the Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare has engaged over 2,000 students. It is key in the delivery of Aston University’s commitment to greater access to higher education and the mission of Aston Medical School to become the most socially inclusive institution of its kind in the UK.

The Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland, in association with UKRI, celebrated the inspirational work and projects of 74 finalists in 12 different categories in total in its first ever virtual ceremony which took place on 24 March.

This year’s UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards finalists represented over 850,000 students and 130,000 staff. They are leading the way with their commitment to the global sustainability agenda and proving the value that universities and colleges bring to the wellbeing of society.

Sarah Fullwood, manager of the Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare Programme, said:

“We have learnt that delivering an outreach project on this scale which impacts so many students each year is truly rewarding. It’s been an incredible experience seeing the impact that our programme has on these young people’s lives.

“We rely on the continued support of colleagues in Aston University and the NHS to deliver this programme. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Professor Alec Cameron, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said:

“The Sir Doug Ellis Pathway to Healthcare gives local young people the step-up they need to flourish in their chosen discipline, returning newly qualified healthcare professionals to their communities.

“I am proud of the work this programme does and being highly commended for benefitting society further endorses the important contribution it makes to our local communities.”

Iain Patton, CEO of EAUC, said: “The Green Gown Awards occupy a very special place. They force us to ask what our institutions are doing well, and, of course, what they could be doing better. They raise the bar.

“Our Winners, Highly Commended and indeed all of our Finalists have shown the sector’s resilience and adaptability, in even these most challenging of times. We hope that others will be inspired to take similar actions in their institutions to benefit staff, students and their local communities.”



Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. The University also has TEF Gold status in the Teaching Excellence Framework. 

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press & PR Officer, on 07557 745416 or email

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