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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Gladson Vaghela

Gladson Vaghela

Getting to medical school was not an easy feat for Gladson. His parents sacrificed a great deal to pay for him and his sister to get a good education: his father even moved to another state for work to pay the fees. From 9th grade, Gladson started taking English coaching classes for elementary school children in his locality to generate some extra income. When his mother developed serious illness, he took care of her and did all the household chores while still attending high school. However, the effort paid off when Gladson and his sister became the first generation of their family to attend a university. At medical school, Gladson has excelled, coming in the top five every year of his professional exams. 

However, his success has not been without sorrow. While volunteering his time mentoring vulnerable children at an NGO, Gladson lost one of his mentees to suicide. Being affected by the loss, Gladson decided to take action and embark on a research project to assess the availability and accessibility of suicide prevention services around the world. His work has been recognized and funded by the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Research in partnership with the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Since then, Gladson has gone on to recruit and train over 600 youths from 90 countries to help create a global mental healthcare service providers’ database, bridging the divide between those in need and life-saving support. This database will combat lack of access to mental healthcare services by providing a comprehensive list of mental healthcare service providers in more than 150 countries worldwide, as well as information about resources and support for people who may not have access to traditional mental healthcare services (such as those living in conflict zones or refugee camps). 

During his time in medical school, Gladson also noticed the lack of involvement of medical students in key decision-making processes, which motivated him to join the Asian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) International, where he could contribute to medical education, healthcare policy, and clinical practice. Over the past four years, he has led a team of dedicated individuals who share his passion for student-led activism and volunteer work. Gladson has represented medical students from 30 countries at WHO meetings; in his role as General Treasurer, he has helped register AMSA International as an International NGO in Taiwan; and as the first-ever “State Head” for AMSA India in Gujarat, he has recruited and trained college heads for AMSA India across 16 medical colleges. In addition, he has launched the AMSA International Solidarity Fund, providing humanitarian aid to any of the 30 member nations affected by natural disasters or calamities, and allowing medical students to contribute to their nation-building.  

If he wins the Global Student Prize, Gladson will use the funds to support his efforts to promote education and health equity in underserved communities across the world – since even a small amount of additional funding can make a significant difference in the lives of those who need it most. He would also expand his recruiting and training efforts to spearhead the global mental healthcare service providers’ database – which could be a major leap to achieving mental health equity.  


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