Biomedical Sciences student scoops clinical award

A master’s student in the School of Biomedical Sciences has been awarded the annual Med-Chi Prize for her research into the extent of physical activity advice offered by midwives.

Marina Mitra, who recently completed a master’s degree with distinction in Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) at the University of Leeds, was presented the award on Thursday 23rd November at Weetwood Hall from the Leeds Medico-Chirurgical Society.

The Med-Chir prize aims to celebrate the successes of the next generation of clinicians and support them in their career journey. 

Commenting on her award, Marina said:

Physical activity promotion is such an important topic, and one I feel passionately about. It was a privilege to be able to present my research at the Medico-Chirurgical Society meeting.

Dr Katie Spencer, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Leeds and current co-President of the Med-Chi Society said: “Both in her presentation and abstract, Marina presented her research incredibly well. All the judges were impressed by how she approached her study and presented the results. I’ve no doubt that Marina’s career journey will go from strength to strength.” 

Her project, entitled “UK midwives delivering physical activity advice; what are the challenges and possible solutions?”, explores the level of knowledge and confidence in midwives when offering physical activity advice to patients in NHS settings. 

It provides an insight into the barriers and solutions to support midwives in their role. The study found that midwives lack the training, confidence, time, and resources to provide physical activity advice to their patients. However, midwives suggested a multitude of ways in which these barriers may be overcome, including increased education at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

“Healthcare professionals play an important role in promoting physical activity to their patients, yet we know they face barriers such as awareness, knowledge, self-efficacy, perceived competence, and time,” said Dr Dane Vishnubala.

Evidence-based research and engagement with healthcare professionals is a crucial mechanism to empower front-line staff to provide meaningful advice to their patients. Marina’s study into midwives’ experience is an important piece in this puzzle.

Dr Dane Vishnubala, Programme Lead in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Consultant in SEM 

The project report will be submitted for publication in a special issue of Frontiers in Sport and Active Living on Translation of Health and Physical Activity Guidelines for Real World Application, which supports published research findings being shared in a digestible and actionable manner.

The collection aims to bridge the gap between research and practice.

Marina’s supervisor Dr Camilla Nykjaer also offered her congratulations:

I’m delighted that Marina has won this prestigious prize. This area of research is critical to improve knowledge across the healthcare system which will ultimately improve health outcomes for patients.

Dr Camilla Nykjaer, Lecturer in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health in the School of Biomedical Sciences 
Dr Camilla Nykjaer and Marina Mitra smile at the camera.


About the Leeds Medico-Chirurgical Society

Leeds Medico-Chirurgical Society is a support network for clinical professionals and students from all specialties and general practice. 

They meet regularly to network, learn about the cutting-edge research, hear from guest lectures and stay informed about the bigger picture. 

All hospital doctors, general practitioners, community physicians and students who work in clinical settings are welcome. If you’d like to join the network, please email Dr Teresa Devereux: