Golders Green doctor wins Princess Diana award for nutrition campaigning
- Credit: University of Bristol
Having already earned a television appearance with Jamie Oliver with her nutrition campaigning, a Golders Green doctor has now been honoured in an award scheme set up in memory of Princess Diana.
Newly qualified doctor Ally Jaffee, a former Highgate School student, has been campaigning to get diet and nutrition on the medical curriculum.
She has received a Diana Award from the charity of the same name, which has the support of both Prince William and Prince Harry. The awards are given out to just a few people around the world each year for “going above and beyond in their daily life to create and sustain positive change”.
Training at the University of Bristol, Ally was shocked by how little training UK doctors are given about nutrition during their five years of study.
Poor diet can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
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While still in her second year, Ally and fellow student Iain Broadley set up a community interest company called Nutritank which advises UK medical schools on teaching students about diet and nutrition.
Its success led to an appearance on Jamie Oliver’s Channel 4 show Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, and later to a BBC Food and Farming Award.
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The 25-year-old said: “While at Bristol University I realised just how little emphasis the medical profession puts on diet and lifestyle, despite the huge impact they have on people’s mental and physical wellbeing and future health.
“Having a lifestyle that benefits us is so important, not just for physical health but also our mental health.
“I wanted to put nutrition squarely on the curriculum so that the next generation of doctors can be equipped to prescribe ways for patients to help themselves.
“Winning a Diana Award was so out of the blue – I’m still absolutely stunned – but it’s amazing to see the work that Nutritank is doing being recognised by such a prestigious scheme.
“Princess Diana was truly inspirational: a dedicated humanitarian who embraced leadership, activism and philanthropy whilst exuding kindness and passion. Diana is someone who should be endlessly celebrated, and to be associated with her is a true privilege and honour.”
Nutritank launched at the University of Bristol in 2017 and now works with more than 25 UK medical schools.
Having completed her studies in June, Ally is now a junior doctor and hopes to put nutrition, diet and lifestyle on the map for the whole of the NHS.
She hosts live interviews on her Instagram platform @drallyjaffee, discussing topics around psychiatry, mental health, doctors’ wellbeing, food and mood, racism and discrimination within healthcare.
Ally is an ambassador for charity YouOkayDoc, set up by doctors to support doctors’ mental health.
“I have wanted to pursue a career in psychiatry since I was 15. It is the specialty I want to invest all my passion and energy into. There is so much we can do to reduce human suffering and increase wellbeing," she said.
“My dream is to see more nutrition and cooking programs for NHS mental health patients. I have recently helped lead a pilot cooking program on a London Psychiatric Intensive Care Ward. Watch this space for more of this.
“I am also open about my experience of living with depression and believe we should strive for a culture in healthcare where doctors and other healthcare professionals are not afraid of being discriminated against due to mental illness. Covid has shone a light on the importance of community support and togetherness.”
Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of The Diana Award, said winners of the Award are “changemakers for their generation”.
She said: “For over 20 years The Diana Award has valued and invested in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others.”
A spokesperson Highgate School said: “We’re so thrilled for Ally. She totally deserves this recognition. We hope it will inspire lots more young people to take action on something they believe to be important, even when it’s not an easy challenge.
“Hopefully it will make a big difference to how young doctors entering the profession think about these preventative and holistic health issues in a proactive way.”
Ashley Blom, head of Bristol Medical School, said: “We are extremely proud of what Ally has achieved. It is so encouraging when students are pro-active and help co-create the curriculum in this way.
“Healthy living is immensely important in preventing both physical and mental illness.”