New Aggrey Burke Fellowship scheme for Black medical students

The UK’s first Black Caribbean consultant psychiatrist has lent his support to a new RCPsych Fellowship scheme aimed at encouraging more Black medical students to become psychiatrists.

As part of our commitment to promoting equality and equitable outcomes for College members, staff, mental health staff, patients and carers, we are launching the UK’s first scheme aimed at encouraging and supporting Black medical students to pursue a career in psychiatry.

There is a requirement for an additional 4,370 consultant psychiatrists by 2029 and it takes approximately 13-years of training from medical student to consultant. So the College wants to take action now to address this in training programmes that will grow and nurture a diverse and inclusive workforce reflective of our communities in order to meet this future need.

As highlighted in the RCPsych Equality Action Plan, our aim is to create opportunities for representatives from specific groups, who face barriers or discrimination which may result in them not choosing to follow a career within psychiatry.

RCPsych membership data (September 2022) shows that the most under-represented group in our membership, and psychiatry in general, are those from Black, particularly Black Caribbean, backgrounds.

We believe that providing an opportunity to have more psychiatrists from disadvantaged backgrounds, will deliver benefits in both patient care and experience in disadvantaged communities.

Dr Aggrey Burke was awarded the President’s Medal in 2020 by former RCPsych President Professor Wendy Burn.

Dr Burke first came to national prominence when he and a colleague, Professor Joe Collier, courageously blew the whistle on the racist admissions policies run by some medical schools.

He also was a prominent supporter of the Black families affected by the 1981 New Cross house fire – and has done much work relating to mental illness in Black families.

He is delighted to have the award named after him and said: “This initiative is very welcome, and I am optimistic”.


The Aggrey Burke Fellowship is a two-year programme for Black medical students at UK universities. It offers are range of benefits including:

  • mentoring (senior trainee, SAS or consultant) aligned to individual career interests
  • a CPD fund of £1,500 for career development and / or activity to increase understanding of psychiatry
  • a fully-funded place at RCPsych International Congress and invitation to the fellows and bursary holders networking event at congress
  • induction and a mid-programme event to facilitate networking with each other, College members, officers and mentors.
  • access to RCPsych’s eLearning Hub (CPD O/TrOn) and electronic copies of College journals.

Fellows may be supported in undertaking career advancement projects such as research and audits and will be expected to act as 'ambassadors' for psychiatry and the fellowship, and participate in evaluation of the scheme.

The new fellowship scheme is being made possible through grant funding of £20,000 from the Basil Samuel Charitable Trust.

Students enrolled in a UK university (UK campuses only) UK medical school at the start of each fellowship year: 1 September 2023/2024 and who are from Black African, Black British, Black Caribbean or Black other backgrounds can apply by midday on 28 June 2023.

If you have any questions regarding the fellowship, please contact

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry