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Cardiff cash boost aids international medical projects

09 December 2009

Charity projects which help support some of the world’s most underdeveloped healthcare systems are set to benefit from Cardiff University student volunteers as part of a major new medical scholarship scheme.

The first successful Cardiff University students to receive Dr Jack Matthews scholarships have been announced with winners heading off to remote parts of the world including Madagascar, Latin America, Sierra Leone and Mongolia to support a variety of key medical projects.

Launched in April 2009, the Dr Jack Matthews Scholarship Fund allows the University’s School of Medicine to help towards the cost of medical students undertaking athletic, artistic, medical or charity work.

Professor Paul Morgan, Cardiff University’s Dean of Medicine said: "Our students continue to represent the School at the highest of levels both in achievements outside the lecture theatres and in their medical professions.

"The decision to establish the Dr Jack Matthews Scholarship Fund was taken to encourage our medical students to reach their full potential and broaden their horizons.

"The fact that Cardiff medical students want to broaden their horizons in this way is an illustration of the dedication they have for both their medical studies and for supporting others.

"That is why I am delighted that some of the first Dr Jack Matthews Scholarships have been awarded to help support such important international health projects in some of the most underdeveloped health care systems across the world."

Students and international medical charities set to receive support from the Dr Jack Matthews Scholarship Fund include:

Tom Roberts, who has already visited and supported healthcare clinics in Mongolia, was awarded a £400 scholarship to help fund a return trip in the summer of 2010 to a small under-staffed rural clinic in Mongolia to provide health care assistance.

Sarah Bowden, awarded a £400 scholarship to support her work in a rural hospital in Sierra Leone. During a planned six-week stay, Sarah will provide a report outlining the areas of maternal and child health that could most benefit from a link with Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and the University Hospital of Wales.

Elisabeth Redman, awarded a £250 scholarship to support her work with the charity MEDRI. The charity offers free medical and dental treatment and health education to hundreds of people living in temporary camps in Northern Uganda.

Naomi Riddel was awarded a £400 scholarship to support a trip to develop Special Education Needs provision in Mauritius. Naomi will use her previous gap-year experience of working with children with complex special needs to help introduce and implement a range of methods of working with children with specific medical needs, sensory impairments, physical difficulties, developmental delays, and behavioural issues.

In total, 15 scholarships were awarded to students across all five years of medical study at Cardiff. Funding was also awarded to help support travel costs for a variety of local charity projects, language courses, and athletic expenses.

The scholarships are named in tribute to Dr Jack Matthews OBE. Dr Matthews studied at Cardiff’s School of Medicine and practised as a GP for more than 45 years. He was an accomplished sportsman, playing rugby for Cardiff, Wales, the Barbarians and the British Lions.

The fund is supported entirely by donations from individuals, charity auctions and fund raising activities. Further information on the Dr Jack Matthews Scholarship Fund is available at:

Cardiff School of Medicine
Cardiff University’s School of Medicine is a significant contributor to healthcare in Wales, a major provider of professional staff for the National Health Service and an international centre of excellence for research delivering substantial health benefits locally and internationally. The school’s 800 staff include 500 research and academic staff who teach more than 2,000 students, including 1,110 postgraduate students.

The School is based at the Heath Park Campus, a site it shares the University Hospital of Wales, the third largest university hospital in the UK. The School has an all-Wales role, contributing greatly to promoting, enhancing and protecting the nation’s health. A key partner in this role is the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales, with which the School is linked at all levels. This mutual dependency is illustrated by the teaching of medical undergraduates in more than 150 hospitals located in all of Wales’ health authorities. The medical curriculum followed at the School enables students to acquire and apply knowledge, skills, judgement and attitudes appropriate to delivering a high standard of professional care. Around 300 new doctors currently graduate from the School every year and the Welsh Assembly Government has invested substantially in new teaching facilities to increase this number further.

The School is an international leader in basic and clinically applied research activities and scored highly in the most recent Government Research Assessment Exercise. School of Medicine researchers annually win tens of millions of pounds in research awards to work with Government, the healthcare industries and the charitable sector on the most pressing issues of human health. The School has six interdisciplinary research groups to draw upon its own strength in depth and the vast range of expertise available across Cardiff University. These groups are addressing cancer; health sciences research; cardiovascular sciences; genomic approaches to health and disease; infection, immunity and inflammation; metabolism repair and regeneration. The School continually invests in facilities, with major developments including the Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research in Wales, the largest enterprise of its kind ever in Wales. This £11M centre contains research laboratories and facilities for patients to participate in investigations of new disease treatments.

The School has been instrumental in establishing and running many important national research initiatives including the Wales Gene Park, Wales Cancer Bank, the Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair and the Healing Foundation UK Centre for Burns Research. The Wales Gene Park is involved in biomedical research, the provision to the NHS of novel diagnostic and clinical services, knowledge dissemination, genetics and genetics education, and the successful commercialisation of innovations arising from such activities. The Wales Cancer Bank is a collaborative project involving several Welsh NHS Trusts, the universities of Bangor and Swansea and the Welsh Assembly Government and is the first population-based collection of tumour and control tissue samples in Wales. The research will help establish the causes of cancer, help identify new areas for treatment and find out the best way to care for individual patients. The Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair uses scientific research to solve problems which are placing a heavy burden on health services around the world, such as, eye repair, chronic wounds, kidney repair and sports injuries. The Healing Foundation UK Centre for Burns Research is a multi-million pound collaboration investigating treatments and support fort the physical and mental rehabilitation of the 14,000 people suffering severe burns in the country every year.

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Visit the University website at:

Chris Jones
Public Relations
Cardiff University
Tel: 029 20 874731