A student from the University of Sheffield has been awarded a British Empire Medal, and two members of staff have received MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year.

The list, which recognises the achievements of people across the UK, was delayed from its usual release in June to include special recognition for services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Hasnain Khan, a fourth year medical student and President of Sheffield MedSoc, received a British Empire Medal for his role coordinating the Helping Hands volunteering scheme during the crisis.

Hasnain said he was “extremely shocked” to receive the email notifying him of the award and had even wondered “if it was genuine”. 

Helping Hands was launched in March and saw over 400 medical students provide clinical and community voluntary support across South Yorkshire. 

Students from the University volunteered in hospitals, GP surgeries and community centres. They also delivered medication to patients at home, provided childcare support to frontline workers and delivered meals in their communities. 

Hasnain said as a society, MedSoc “wanted to do whatever we could to help” NHS staff on the frontline. “At Medical School we receive training and develop clinical skills that we knew could be valuable, so we felt like it was our responsibility to step up”.

He also thanked MedSoc’s Welfare Officers Leah Lam and Lucy Pinder, and Professor Michelle Marshall and Professor Deborah Murdoch-Eaton from Sheffield Medical School for helping to run the scheme

Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University, congratulated Hasnain on the award and said he is “an outstanding ambassador for our Medical School”. 

Among staff, Professor of Paediatric Dentistry, Helen Rodd and Emeritus Professor Nigel Mathers were announced as Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). 

Professor Rodd teaches at the School of Dentistry alongside working for the NHS at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

She was nominated for her work in improving children’s experience in dental care, and for her research in paediatric dentistry. 

Professor Rodd said it is “such a privilege” to support dentistry students and wants to help them “make a difference in improving children’s oral health”. 

Professor Mathers was awarded an MBE for his services to General Practice and is a former Head of the Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care at the University. 

In his career, he built up a GP practice in a deprived area of Sheffield, contributed extensively to research and has over 135 publications in peer-reviewed journals. 

Images: Hasnain Khan, Helen Rodd – University of Sheffield

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