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Written by:
Paul Holland
21 Sep 2021

Trinity Hall alumnus Dr Waheed Arian (2003) has been recognised for his incredible work in the NHS and the journey he undertook to realise his dream of becoming a doctor.

He was presented the Award for Best Doctor on Friday night by football legend David Beckham, in a glittering awards ceremony.

Beckham said: “It is an absolute honour to be here tonight, celebrating those who have gone above and beyond to keep us safe and tonight’s winner is no exception.

“His journey to becoming a doctor is one of astonishing resilience. His is an incredible story about an incredible man.”

The audience at the ceremony, televised on Friday night (17 September) on Channel 4, included Prime Minister Boris Johnson and His Royal Highness, Prince William.

Credit: The Sun, Who Cares Wins Awards 2021. Best Doctor – Dr Waheed Arian

Dr Arian told the audience of his childhood in war-torn Afghanistan and how his experience of severe illness while a refugee had been what had inspired him to become a doctor. “All I knew was bombs outside. Sadly that was my childhood for 15 years.”

His family decided to flee the conflict in Afghanistan: “Like millions of refugees my family suffered from malnutrition, from malaria, and I also suffered from tuberculosis that nearly killed me. But it was from my interaction with the doctor that also inspired me to become a doctor so I could heal people like myself and so many other people that were suffering.”

Having survived the civil war, Dr Arian arrived alone in the UK aged 15 and went on to study medicine at Trinity Hall.

Today he is a doctor in the NHS and uses smartphones and volunteer specialists to provide life-saving medical advice to doctors working in areas of conflict through his charity, Arian Teleheal.

“Giving through the charity is one of the main ways for me to be able to reach out to people who are the most vulnerable throughout the world. I hope that this will send a message to everybody, regardless of their background, that they can realise their dream if they work hard and also if society gives them a chance.”

“Every time I step into the hospital and interact with patients I feel extremely rewarded”

Accepting the award Dr Arian said: “It’s been the honour of my life to be working alongside the most amazing healthcare colleagues, to stand up to the pandemic. And for those healthcare colleagues to be helping us through our charity to save people in the most vulnerable conditions; I believe everyone is a winner, not just me. Through compassion and working together we can make this world a better place.”

Professor John Bradley, Fellow and Director of Studies in Medicine and Clinical Medicine at Trinity Hall, said: “Waheed is a very special person, who despite the many challenges and adversities he has faced has always seized opportunities to help others. As a medical student at Trinity Hall he was always looking out for his fellow students, and his achievements as a doctor have been truly remarkable.”

The Who Cares Wins awards were set up by the Sun newspaper four years ago to celebrate health care heroes from across the NHS.

Dr Arian’s life story is told in his autobiography, In The Wars, A story of conflict, survival and saving lives, published in 2021 and has also been covered in the College magazine, Front Court (pages 14-15).

More on studying to become a doctor at Trinity Hall

The eight (on average) medical students Trinity Hall admits each year form a close group within the wider Trinity Hall community, working together and supporting each other in the College.

Our Medical Fellows combine teaching, research and clinical work, covering medicine, surgery, and pathology.

This breadth ensures that students have continuity, and access to expertise across medical science and clinical medicine, throughout the pre-clinical and clinical course.

For more on studying medicine at Trinity Hall see our website.