Alumnus of the Year 2015: Dr Natalie Roberts 

Natalie is trained in surgery and emergency medicine and has been working in the field full-time for Médecins Sans Frontières, a charity dedicated to sending medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics or disasters. Her work has taken her to some of the most dangerous and challenging places in the world, such as the Philippines, Pakistan, Syria, Central African Republic and Ethiopia.

Whether she is establishing field hospitals, running clinics or coordinating medical activities in refugee camps, it is certainly a varied job. Despite her work clearly being physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, Natalie thinks it is wonderful to see working clinics and the difference they make. Last year Natalie worked in Aleppo in Syria, where apart from addressing the obvious trauma needs from the on-going daily bombing, she also became involved in primary care, vaccination, blood transfusion, chronic disease and dialysis, and obstetric care. 

One of her most recent assignments was helping civilians caught up in terrible recent violence in the Central African Republic (CAR). Although war-related injuries were a major problem in the region, Natalie realised that outside the capital Bangui, far more people were dying of normal African diseases – malaria and ill health. She and a colleague started running clinics in the villages – seeing 600-700 children in a morning – and eventually setting up a paediatric hospital for malaria in the isolated town of Bocaranga. She moved from CAR to Ethiopia, to coordinate MSF’s medical programmes for refugees from South Sudan in April this year. 

Currently, she is working for the MSF Emergency Desk in Paris, moving every few months to wherever there is a new (or not so new) emergency. Watch her speech at half-way hall below: