Balliol medic receives Legacy Award marking Diana Award’s 25th Anniversary

Tuesday 02 April 2024
Left Prince William, right, with Yusuf Ben-Tarifite holding Legacy Award, against backdrop of The Legacy Award branding.
Yusuf Ben-Tarifite (right) with Prince William, who presented him with the Legacy Award.

Yusuf Ben-Tarifite (Balliol 2018), a final-year Oxford medical student, has been recognised with the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts: the Legacy Award, which Prince William presented to him at an award ceremony in London on 14 March 2024.

The Legacy Award marks the 25th Anniversary of the Diana Award, a charity set up in memory of Diana, The Late Princess of Wales, and her belief in the power of young people to change the world. The award has the support of both of Diana’s sons, HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince William) and Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. Yusuf is one of 20 recipients of the Legacy Award who were selected by an independent judging panel, chaired by Baroness Doreen Lawrence, from a pool of exceptional individuals already recognised for their impact on society with the Diana Award in 2022 or 2023.

Yusuf won the Diana Award in 2023 for The Aspiring Medics, a platform which he founded to help students from diverse backgrounds pursue careers in medicine.

I founded The Aspiring Medics a week before starting at Oxford University with a mission to make the medicine application process more accessible,’ he explains. ‘Coming from a state school with no doctors in my family, I’m very privileged to be able to study at Oxford University. Understanding the inspiration gap, skills gap and information gap that many students from similar backgrounds like me faced, I made it my mission to level the playing field. It all started off with £50 from left over pocket money and as a hardy group of friends from Hertfordshire and has since transformed into an award-winning social enterprise with 1:1 tutoring, online video courses and our AI Medicine Interview Platform – AVA. We have raised over £50,000 from grants and awards including from the Oxford University Saïd Business School, Santander Universities and the UK Government Young Innovator Award.’

AVA, he explains, is ‘your AI Virtual Assistant, the world’s first AI Medicine Interview Platform. Through the platform, aspiring medics can answer over 300+ medicine interview questions and receive personalised feedback in real time. This has the power to change the medicine application process and offer a truly scalable medical education tool. The feedback we have received so far has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s been fantastic to present it at the Oxford School of Emergency Medicine Conference 2024 and at the Barts x King’s Medtech Conference 2024.’

The Diana Award allowed The Aspiring Medics to get its first partnership with an NHS trust. ‘Now we’re working with five NHS trusts, so it really does make an incredible difference,’ Yusuf says.

On receiving the Legacy Award, Yusuf said: ‘I am so privileged to have received this award and it was so incredible meeting both Prince William and Prince Harry in the same evening! It’s surreal to think an organisation that I founded a week before Freshers’ Week has now grown into a national organisation impacting thousands of students each year. Receiving the award is an incredible honour and this recognition enables us to further scale The Aspiring Medics to ultimately help more students from disadvantaged backgrounds get into medical school.’

Dr Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of The Diana Award, says: ‘As we mark the start of our 25th Anniversary year these young people couldn’t be a more fitting tribute and legacy to Diana, The Late Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world. Their compassion, determination and agency to make positive change today and in the years ahead is immense.’

You can read Yusuf’s story here and watch him receiving the Legacy Award from Prince William in this YouTube video.