Inaugural Aggrey Burke Fellows: Daniel Olaniyan
11 October, 2023
My name is Daniel Olaniyan and I had the honour of being selected to be one of the inaugural Aggrey Burke Fellows. In this blog, I just thought that I would share a little about myself and why I believe that this fellowship is so important.
I'd always been interested in medicine from a young age and I believe this began when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age nine.
Psychiatry is a specialty that I had a keen interest in, even before I entered medical school. I admire how it takes such a holistic approach and addresses biological, psychological and social factors, that may impact someone's mental health.
My dad is also a consultant psychiatrist, so I’ve been able to see first-hand what being a psychiatrist entails and it’s a profession which I believe I would thoroughly enjoy.
I joined the Aggrey Burke fellowship, as I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to enhance my understanding of psychiatry as a profession, as well as pushing me out of my comfort zone through making me do things like give speeches and writing blog posts like this.
I think the fellowship is extremely important in tackling racial discrimination within psychiatry, as it encourages young, black medical students , such as myself, to enter a field which they are currently underrepresented in. I wasn't very aware of the racial disparities within the healthcare system until I joined medical school however, through doing my own research and attending various talks, I believe that I am more educated on the subject and I understand now why it is so important that we do as much as possible to reduce these disparities.
I believe that diversity is extremely important within psychiatry for a number of reasons.
One of the main reasons why it's important is because it will allow for greater understanding of cultural differences. Studies have shown that black people are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, when compared to Caucasians.
The diagnosis of schizophrenia is a very complex matter however. I believe that one of the reasons for this disparity could be due to unconscious bias and a lack of understanding of various cultural beliefs.
I also believe that increasing diversity within psychiatry would encourage more young black medical students to go into it, leading to a snowball effect.
This post was part of our Black History Month content for 2023.