Imperial College London

Imperial graduate wins both Fulbright and Kennedy awards

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Dr Harun Khan

Dr Harun Khan

Medicine graduate Dr Harun Khan has won both the Fulbright Nursten Award in Medical Studies and a Kennedy scholarship to study at Harvard University.

Dr Harun Khan is one of only three people to hold both awards simultaneously – the Fulbright Nursten Award in Medical Studies and a Kennedy Scholarship to enable him to study at Harvard University in the USA for one year – two of the most well-regarded and impactful scholarship programmes in the world.  

The Fulbright programme counts German Chancellor Angela Merkel, poet Maya Angelou and 60 Nobel laureates among its alumni. 

Harun's medical background and advocacy for underrepresented communities make him the ideal person to make progress towards resolving health disparities. Professor Alice Gast President of Imperial College London

Past Kennedy Scholars include former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, International Rescue Committee President David Miliband, and Economist Editor Zanny Minton Beddoes.  

Following a rigorous selection process, assessing his academics, cultural curiosity and leadership qualities, such as his widening participation work in UK higher education, the US-UK Fulbright Commission selected Harun for the award. 

In awarding the Scholarship, the Kennedy Memorial Trust assessed Harun's intellectual attainment, ability to express himself, and his case for proposed course of study at Harvard. Trustees also took into account originality of mind, a commitment to public service, potential to make a mark in public life and an ability to overcome adversity.

Harun has been selected from strong applicant pools to pursue postgraduate studies in public health where he will explore the intersection between health outcomes and social identifiers like race and social class.   

Advocating for under-represented communities 

Commenting on receiving the awards, Harun said: “I am very grateful to receive both a Fulbright Award and a Kennedy scholarship to attend Harvard University. As someone who was eligible for free school meals growing up until I entered medical school, being offered a full scholarship to attend Harvard is extraordinary. 

“I am really excited to use such a platform to shed light onto how social labels, like immigration status, race and social class, are inextricably linked to health and wellbeing and what we can do to further advocate for under-represented communities.”   

Harun graduated from Imperial in 2017 with a degree in Medicine (MBBS), a First-Class Honours BSc from the School of Public Health and two academic prizes. Harun now works as a physician and public health researcher. He is interested in health inequities, particularly the intersection between health outcomes and social identifiers, such as race, social class, and immigration status.   

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London said: “We’re so proud of Harun’s achievements and inspirational leadership. His medical background and advocacy for underrepresented communities make him the ideal person to make progress towards resolving health disparities. We wish him well in the United States and we are excited to see what he does next with his tremendous talents.” 

Policy solutions to health disparities 

As a recipient of a joint award from the Kennedy Memorial Trust and the UK Fulbright Commission, Harun will pursue the Master's of Public Health at Harvard University where he will explore policy solutions to health disparities in the UK and USA. He will also develop his qualitative analysis skills for maternal health projects that focus on asylum seeking women in Birmingham, UK. In his own time, Harun enjoys travelling and learning foreign languages. He is keen to use the upcoming year in the United States to improve his proficiency in Spanish - his sixth language.   

Harun has worked in a research capacity for several institutions including the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the World Health Organisation in Geneva. His research and commentary on race and health has been published extensively and featured on various media platforms such as Audible, Media Diversified and The Huffington Post.   

Need for compassionate leaders 

Maria Balinska, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission said: “Our vision is a world where there are no obstacles to learning, understanding and collaboration. Today there are many global challenges to overcome, and the world needs compassionate leaders to tackle them.  

“This cohort of postgraduate awardees will be placing cultural engagement at the heart of their experiences as they undertake ambitious study and research programmes in the US: I am filled with hope for the wonderful collaborations that will ensue.”   

The US-UK Fulbright Commission works to advance knowledge, promote civic engagement and develop compassionate leaders through education exchange between the peoples of the US and the UK. It is the only academic awards programme that operates on both sides of the Atlantic, providing grants for postgraduate study, research and teaching.  

Since 1948, tens of thousands of British and American citizens have participated in their programmes, enriching their education, developing relationships, advancing their careers and making a difference in their communities, at home and abroad. The Fulbright Programme of awards is now considered amongst the most prestigious scholarship awards globally, with 60 Nobel Laureates and 39 Heads of State/Government within its 390,000 global alumni. 

Reporter

Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3970
Email: joanna.wilson@imperial.ac.uk

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North-America, International, Global-health, Alumni, Health-policy, Comms-strategy-Lifelong-attachment, School-of-Public-Health, Comms-strategy-International-university
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