women in lab coat and gloves holding test tubes

About us

We are an independent expert body, established by the NHS to identify and tackle inequalities experienced in health and healthcare by Black and minority ethnic patients, communities and the workforce.

The NHS Race & Health Observatory are an independent expert body, established by the NHS to identify and tackle inequalities experienced in health and healthcare by Black and minority ethnic patients, communities and the workforce in England.  We work as a proactive investigator by actioning evidence and insight, providing evidence-based health policy recommendations, and facilitating long-term transformational change across health and care. We are data and evidence-driven, as well as factual and solution-focused. We are supported by NHS England and hosted by the NHS Confederation.

 

 

About Us 

The NHS Race & Health Observatory was established by the NHS in 2021 to examine ethnic inequalities in health across the country, and to support national bodies in implementing meaningful change for ethnic minority communities, patients, and members of the health and care workforce.  

We work as a proactive investigator, commissioning new research and synthesising existing evidence to ensure that our health and care system works for everyone, regardless of their race. We make practical recommendations for national policy leaders and, crucially, we support the real-world implementation of those recommendations through innovative anti-racism methodologies.  

We are an independent body, sitting far enough outside the health and care system to serve as a critical ally, but close enough to ensure that our work is firmly rooted in the day-to-day realities of patients and staff members.  

Our ultimate aim is to help close the gap on ethnic inequalities in health and care. We’ll do this by gathering the best possible evidence, listening to the voices of those who interact with the health and care system, and building an enduring network of passionate and influential people who share our commitment to equality. 

Our goals  

Improving health and care – We are committed to focusing on areas in health and care that have long shown ethnic inequalities in access, experience or outcomes – working to reshape policy and practice so that they support fair health and care for all, from neonatal health to end of life care. 

Empowering vulnerable communities – The most vulnerable in society are often those who experience the cumulative impact of health inequalities. Our work to identify and tackle ethnic health inequalities recognises the complexity of the social determinants of health as well as the resulting effect that can have on individual personal choices. 

Innovating for all – Digital technology has great potential to improve how the health and care sectors deliver their services in a modern way, providing faster, safer, and more convenient care. It is essential that new and innovative approaches, technologies, and data collection structures are designed to help reduce ethnic health inequalities and tackle structural racism.  

Creating equitable environments – We are committed to rebuilding and supporting health and care systems, change levers and management leadership behaviours to tackle ethnic health inequalities and promote quality of care, safety, compassion and a fairer experience for patients, NHS staff, and diverse communities alike. 

Collaborating globally – We work both nationally and internationally, connecting with organisations and key stakeholders from across the country and around the world. We are committed to the sharing of innovative research, practice, and learning between communities and across borders. 

 

RHO principles and values

 

  1. Objectivity – We are independent and objective; our recommendations and actions are guided by high quality research, evidence and insights from our stakeholders. We make clear practical recommendations based on this evidence and support the NHS and other bodies to implement it.
  2. Integrity – We will not shy away from difficult conversations, and we remain open to challenge and debate. Our processes and decision making will be transparent and any work we produce will be made available to all.
  3. Collaboration – We will collaborate nationally and internationally to ensure the rigour of our insight and recommendations, with the NHS and other stakeholders to ensure effective implementation and most importantly we will co-design and co-produce with the people and communities most affected.
  4. Impact – We will ensure that our work has tangible and sustained impact on reducing racial and ethnic inequalities in health and healthcare. Our work will transcend evidence and insight and lead to genuine transformational change.

Board members

One the first major tasks of the Observatory was establishing a board of global experts in the fields of race and health. Our board members bring a broad range of professional expertise, lived experience, and political influence to bear in guiding the Observatory.
RHO Board Terms of Reference
Headshot of Marie Gabriel

Marie Gabriel CBE Hon DHsc

Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory

Marie Gabriel CBE Hon DHsc

Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory

With over 20 years of NHS Board experience, Marie is currently the Chair of the NHS North East London ICS, Chair of the NHS Race and Health Observatory and an Associate NED for the UK Health Security Agency.  She is also a Commissioner on the IPPR Commission on Health and Prosperity. Prior to this, Marie chaired mental health and commissioning organisations with budgets up to £3bn.  Her first NED role was as Vice Chair of an acute Trust.

Regionally, Marie is Co-Chair of the London People Board and a member of the Greater London Authority’s London Health Board.  Internationally, she has worked with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement to deliver workshops on the Board’s role in quality improvement.  Marie’s background is in local government and the voluntary sector, with particular experience in social justice, regeneration and equity.  Marie’s contribution to the NHS was recognised through the award of her CBE and her contribution to her local community, where she is still trustee of 2 Charities, was recognised by the award of Freedom of the Borough.  More recently in 2023, Marie received the award of Honorary Doctor of Health Sciences from the Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

 

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Lord Victor Adebowale CBE

Chair, NHS Confederation

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE

Chair, NHS Confederation

Victor is a Non-Executive Director of the Co-Operative Group, Collaborate CIC, Nuffield Health, Visionable and Leadership in Mind. He is also Chair of Social Enterprise UK and the NHS Confederation. After 19 years, Victor has recently stepped down as the CEO of Turning Point, a social enterprise providing health and social care interventions to approximately 100,000 people on an annual basis. Victor also served for 6 years as a Non-Executive Director on the board of NHS England. He has chaired a number of commission reports into policing, employment, mental health, housing and fairness for The London Fairness Commission, the Metropolitan Police, and for central and local government. He was awarded a CBE for services to the unemployed and homeless people and became a crossbench peer in 2001.

Victor is a visiting Professor and Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, an honorary member of the Institute of Psychiatry, President of The International Association of Philosophy and Psychiatry, and a Governor at The London School of Economics.

Victor has an MA in Advanced Organisational Consulting from Tavistock Institute and City University.

Professor John Appleby

Director of Research and Chief Economist, Nuffield Trust

Professor John Appleby

Director of Research and Chief Economist, Nuffield Trust

John joined the Nuffield Trust as Director of Research and Chief Economist in 2016 following his position at the King’s Fund as Chief Economist, and senior lectureships in health economics at the Universities of East Anglia and Birmingham. After his masters in health economics at the University of York in 1980, he worked in the NHS for seven years in Birmingham and London. John has published widely on a range of health care finance and economic issues in books, academic journals, reports, magazines, and newspapers.

He is a regular columnist for the British Medical Journal. As well as his post at the Nuffield Trust, John is a Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, City University, London, and at the Institute of Global Innovations at Imperial College London.

Dr Shabna Begum

CEO, The Runnymede Trust

Dr Shabna Begum

CEO, The Runnymede Trust

Dr Shabna Begum is CEO at the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading race equality think tank. She joined the Trust in 2021 and worked her way up to become Director of Research, before taking on her current interim leadership role. Her work has been at the heart of all the Runnymede Trust’s recent projects, including research on police in schools, the cost-of-living crisis, and the experiences of women of colour in the workplace.

Shabna has a PhD from Queen Mary University on the institutional and popular racism faced by Bengali migrant communities in 1970s London, centred around themes of home and belonging. She recently published her first book, From Sylhet to Spitalfields, on the topic. Prior to joining the Runnymede Trust, Shabna was a teacher for over 20 years, most of that at a school in Hackney, east London where she was head of department and previously led on building an anti-racist school.

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Yvonne Coghill CBE

Director, Excellence in Action

Yvonne Coghill CBE

Director, Excellence in Action

Yvonne commenced nurse training at Central Middlesex Hospital in 1977, qualified as a general nurse in 1980 and then went on to qualify in mental health nursing and health visiting. In 1986 she secured her first NHS management job and has since held a number of operational and strategic leadership posts.

Yvonne has recently retired after 43 years in the NHS. The last role she held was as Director, Workforce Race Equality, NHS London, prior to which she was the Director for the Workforce Race Equality Implementation Team in NHS England/Improvement. She is a member of faculty at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in the United States where she helped develop their inclusion strategy.

In 2012 Yvonne was appointed a Magistrate to the North London bench. She has been voted by colleagues in the NHS as one of the top 50 most inspirational women, one of the top 50 most inspirational nurse leaders and one of the top 50 black and minority ethnic communities pioneers and in December 2017 she was included in the HSJ top 100 influential leaders list. Yvonne was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare in 2010. In 2018 Yvonne was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing, a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list, an honorary fellowship from King’s College University, honorary doctorates from The Middlesex and Buckinghamshire Universities, voted one of the top 70 most inspirational nurses in the NHS over the last 70 years and became Deputy President of the RCN in January 2019. In Summer 2020 Yvonne was invited to be a senior fellow at the Institute of Health Improvement.

Professor Kevin Fenton CBE

Regional Director, Public Health England

Professor Kevin Fenton CBE

Regional Director, Public Health England

Kevin has worked in a variety of public health roles across government and academia in the UK and internationally. He became London’s PHE Regional Director of Public Health and NHS in April 2020 and is the statutory public health advisor to the Mayor of London. He provides leadership across London for health, prevention of ill health, health protection and reduction of health inequalities.

In November 2020, Kevin was named by Powerlist as the second most influential black person in Britain for his work leading the fight against coronavirus and his leadership on inequalities.

In Spring 2020, he oversaw the national PHE review of disparities in risks and outcomes of COVID-19 which included an epidemiological study. In addition, he led a process of extensive stakeholder engagement with black and minority ethnic communities and a rapid literature review.

Prior to starting as London’s Regional Director, he held a joint position as Strategic Director of Place and Wellbeing and Director of Public Health at London Borough of Southwark, and Senior Advisor, Public Health England. In this role, he led the council’s planning, regeneration, community engagement and public health portfolios driving inclusive regeneration, digital public health, asset-based community development and promoting health in all policies – working in partnership with NHS.

Professor Fenton was previously PHE’s National Director for Health and Wellbeing leading national prevention programmes including screening for cancer, NHS Health Checks, obesity, mental health, e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction, HIV, sexual and reproductive health. He also established and led PHE’s Health Equity programme focused on addressing the social determinants of health and promoting place-based approaches to health improvement.

Headshot of Professor Stephani Hatch

Professor Stephani Hatch

Professor of Sociology and Epidemiology, King’s College London

Professor Stephani Hatch

Professor of Sociology and Epidemiology, King’s College London

Stephani is a Professor of Sociology and Epidemiology leading the Health Inequalities Research Group at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. She has over 25 years of experience delivering interdisciplinary health inequalities research with an emphasis on race at the intersection of other social identities. She works across sectors, locally and nationally, and has published extensively on: inequalities in mental health and health services; discrimination and other forms of social adversity; community mental health; and multimorbidity. Professor Hatch brings a range of research and leadership experience. From 2008 to 2015, she was Co-Principal Investigator for the NIHR and ESRC-funded Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre South East London Community Health (SELCoH) study, a psychiatric and physical morbidity study set in the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth.

In 2017, she received a Wellcome Trust Investigator’s Award to lead the Tackling Inequalities and Discrimination Experiences in Health Services (TIDES) study, a mixed-methods programme of work that expanded in 2020 with ESRC funding to utilise a participatory framework to identify processes through which racial and ethnic inequalities in mental health and occupational outcomes are produced, maintained and resisted in the context of Covid-19. Professor Hatch also currently co-leads the Marginalised Communities and Mental Health programme within the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health focused on advancing research with communities that have often been ignored, to examine and disrupt structures maintaining social inequities in mental health, with an emphasis on race within an intersectionality framework. Professor Hatch integrates collaborative approaches to knowledge production and dissemination, action and outreach in training and research through the Health Inequalities Research Network (HERON), which she founded in 2010. She also leads equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives in higher education, and has national and international advisory roles in health and volunteer and community sectors.

Dr Adrian James

President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Dr Adrian James

President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Adrian was elected President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2020. He holds this role until 2023 and leads the RCPsych on behalf of its members and associates. He is Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at Langdon Hospital in Dawlish, Devon. He was also the former Medical Director of Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Founding Chair of the School of Psychiatry at the Peninsular Deanery (2006-2008). 

He was the elected Chair of the South West Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2007-2011) and sat on the College Council in this capacity. In 2010 he was appointed Chair of the Westminster Parliamentary Liaison Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (attending the three main Party Conferences 2011-14 in this capacity). 

He was Clinical Director for Mental Health, Dementia and Neurology, working for NHS England South West (2013-2015, interim from 2012-13). He has also acted as a Reviewer and Clinical Expert for the Healthcare Commission and its successor organisation the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

He has chaired expert review groups on Integrated Care Systems, Cannabis, Prevent and Learning from Deaths. In addition, he set up the Quality Improvement (QI) Committee and Workforce Wellbeing Committee at the College. 

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Rt. Hon. Professor the Lord Kakkar PC

Professor of Surgery, University College London

Rt. Hon. Professor the Lord Kakkar PC

Professor of Surgery, University College London

(starting his board membership role from 1 July 2021) 

The Rt. Hon. Professor the Lord Ajay Kakkar PC is Professor of Surgery, University College London, Chairman of UCLPartners Academic Health Science Partnership and Director of the Thrombosis Research Institute London.

Lord Kakkar completed his medical degree from King’s College London and received his PhD from Imperial College London. His research interests include the prevention and treatment of venous and arterial thromboembolic disease and cancer-associated thrombosis.

Lord Kakkar has created a Life Peer in 2010 and sits on the crossbenches of the House of Lords. He was Chairman of the House of Lords Appointments Commission from 2013–2018. He is Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission and was appointed a member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council in 2014. He serves as Chairman of The King’s Fund and Chairman of UK Biobank.

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Professor Dame Donna Kinnair DBE

Former Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair DBE

Former Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Professor Kinnair is the former Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, the voice of nursing across the UK. The RCN promotes patient and nursing interests on a wide range of issues by working closely with the Government, the UK parliaments and other national and European political institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations. 

Working with the RCN Council and the Executive Team Donna is responsible for delivering the RCN’s strategic and operational plans.  

She joined the RCN as Head of Nursing in 2015, she was then promoted and joined the RCN Executive Team to Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice in 2016, where her key role is to work with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement the future RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy. Prior to joining the RCN Donna held various roles including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine; Executive Director of Nursing and Director of Commissioning.  

Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry. 

Professor Sir Michael G. Marmot CH

Professor of Epidemiology, University College London

Professor Sir Michael G. Marmot CH

Professor of Epidemiology, University College London

Professor of Epidemiology at University College London. He is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world (2015) and Status Syndrome: how your place on the social gradient directly affects your health (2004).  Professor Marmot held the Harvard Lown Professorship for 2014-2017 and is the recipient of the  Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health 2015. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from 18 universities. 

Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities for more than 40 years.  He was Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), which was set up by the World Health Organization in 2005, and produced the report entitled: ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’ in August 2008.  At the request of the British Government, he conducted the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post-2010, which published its report ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’ in February 2010.  The follow-up Marmot Review: 10 years on was released in February 2020. This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, for WHO Euro n 2014.  

He chaired the Breast Screening Review for the NHS National Cancer Action Team and was a member of The Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health.  Many decades ago, he set up the Whitehall II Studies of British Civil Servants, investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality, which is still ongoing.  He also set up the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and is engaged in several international research efforts on the social determinants of health.  He served as President of the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2010-2011, President of the World Medical Association (2015-2016), and is President of the British Lung Foundation.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians.  He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and in 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities. 

Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE

Chair, British Medical Association Forum for Racial and Ethnic Equality

Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE

Chair, British Medical Association Forum for Racial and Ethnic Equality

Dr Chaand Nagpaul has for over three decades worked as a GP partner in his group practice in Stanmore, North London, and which serves a large multi-ethnic community.

He has also dedicated his professional life representing and supporting doctors. He is past chair of the BMA GPs committee and was the first black and minority ethnic chair of the BMA Council from 2017 to 2022.  As BMA chair, he represented doctors working in all settings and disciplines across the UK, and he also led the medical profession through the challenges of the Covid pandemic both in dialogue with government and in the media.

He has long advocated for racial equality in medicine and led the BMA’s seminal project on Racism in Medicine in 2022. He is chair of the BMA Forum for Racial and Ethnic Equality.

He is a Trustee of the charity Doctors in Distress, which aims to protect and promote the mental health of all healthcare professionals and to prevent self-harm and suicide.

He has been awarded the CBE for services to primary care, a Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners and an Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health. He is listed in the Health Service Journal’s top 50 most influential ethnic minority leaders in the NHS.

Professor James Nazroo

Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester

Professor James Nazroo

Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester

James is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, founding and Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre of Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE), co-PI of the Synergi Collaborative Centre, which is investigating ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness, and founding and co-Director of the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA). Issues of inequality, social justice and underlying processes of stratification have been the primary focus of his research activities, which have centred on ethnicity/race, ageing, gender, and the interrelationships between these. Central to his work on ethnicity/race has been developing an understanding of the links between ethnicity, racism, class and inequality. This work has covered a variety of elements of social disadvantage, how these relate to racialised identities and processes of racism, and how these patterns have changed over time.

He has also explored the role of access to and quality of health services, including a critical examination of mental health services. His research on ageing has been concerned to understand the patterns and determinants of social and health inequalities in ageing populations. He has conducted studies on quality of life for older people among different ethnic groups in the UK, on inequalities in health at older ages, and on routes into retirement and the impact of retirement on health and wellbeing. He was PI of the fRaill programme, an interdisciplinary study of inequalities in later life, and is co-PI of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), which is a multi-disciplinary panel study of those aged 50 and older.

Professor David R. Williams

Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Harvard School of Public Health

Professor David R. Williams

Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Harvard School of Public Health

Dr David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His prior faculty appointments were at Yale University and the University of Michigan. He holds an MPH from Loma Linda University and a PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan. 

The author of more than 500 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the ways in which race, socioeconomic status, stress, racism, health behaviour and religious involvement can affect physical and mental health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is the most widely used measure of discrimination in health studies.  

He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2001, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007, and the National Academy of Sciences in 2019. He has received Distinguished Contribution Awards from the American Sociological Association, the American Psychological Association and the New York Academy of Medicine. He was ranked as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences in 2008. In 2014, Thomson Reuters ranked him as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.  

He has played a visible, national leadership role in raising awareness levels of inequities in health and interventions to address them. He has served on multiple national advisory committees (including 10 Committees for the National Academy of Sciences), as the staff director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America and as a key scientific advisor to the award-winning PBS film series, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality Making Us Sick? His research has been featured in the national print and television media and in his TED Talk. 

Charles Kwaku-Odoi DL

Chief Executive, Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN)

Charles Kwaku-Odoi DL

Chief Executive, Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN)

Charles Kwaku-Odoi DL is Chief Executive of the Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN), a leading national Black health organisation at the forefront of reducing health inequalities and wider disparities. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Greater Manchester, an honorary member of the esteemed Faculty of Public Health (FPH), and the honorary Ecumenical Canon at Manchester Cathedral.

He holds Board roles including at Manchester Foundation Trust, Council of Governors, and the Government Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Ethnicity Subgroup. In 2022 and 2023, Charles was named in the Health Service Journal’s 50 most influential Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people in health in the UK.

Charles is an advocate for equity and fairness across a range of important health and well-being issues for people of the Caribbean and African Diaspora. He is involved in work that influences research, policy, and practice at regional and national levels.

His special interest includes civic and democratic participation, blood & organ donation, HIV, domestic violence, modern slavery and hate crime.

Dr Varadarajan Kalidasan

Honorary Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and Urologist, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Varadarajan Kalidasan

Honorary Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and Urologist, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust

Dr. Varadarajan Kalidasan is an experienced paediatric surgeon who trained in India, Australia and Ireland before becoming a consultant at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in 1997.

He has been on the RHO Stakeholder Engagement Advisory Group since its inception.  He has held various NHS roles such as Co-Director of the Surrey and Sussex Comprehensive Clinical Research Network (CLRN) and Director of Medical Education in his Trust in Brighton.

Currently, he is a Governor at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust and also a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Sussex Cricket.  He is a member of the International Affairs Committee of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons and an Honorary Education Tutor at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.  He gave up clinical commitments in 2022.

In memory of the Late Heather Nelson

Heather was a valued board member from 2021-2023. Her determination, passion and knowledge drove her contribution and as a consequence Heather was instrumental in ensuring that the voice of the community was embedded in the work of the Observatory team and to all Board deliberations.

Our team

The day-to-day management of the NHS Race and Health Observatory is organised by a Senior Management Team led by its Chief Executive, Dr Habib Naqvi MBE.

Professor Habib Naqvi MBE

Chief Executive

Professor Habib Naqvi MBE

Chief Executive

Professor Habib Naqvi is Chief Executive of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, which leads work nationally on identifying and tackling ethnic inequalities in health and healthcare. He is accountable for organisation-wide strategic planning, performance, oversight and delivery. Habib directs the successful implementation of a far-reaching multi-year, multi-million pound work programme with measurable outcomes. He leads national health policy and is responsible for strategic global partnerships that address systemic health inequalities affecting patients, communities and the healthcare workforce.

His prior role was interim Director of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England, where Habib oversaw the national strategic and operational delivery of the aspirations on workforce race equality as set-out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Habib joined the NHS in 2001 and managed large public health research programmes in the South West of England. He spent several years working at the Department of Health and Social Care where he led national equality and diversity policy, including on the health sector’s response to the UK government’s review of the Public Sector Equality Duty. He joined NHS England in 2013, where he directed the development and implementation of national programmes, including the Equality Delivery System (EDS), and the award-winning NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard.

He is a member of numerous committees and advisory boards. He volunteers as a trustee of the Mary Seacole Trust, and as a Board Member at Somerset County Cricket Club. Habib was awarded an MBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to equality and diversity in the NHS, he received a Fellowship through distinction at the Faculty of Public Health in 2023 and was awarded the title of Honorary Visiting Professor of Health Equity at the Queen’s Institute for Medicine at the University of Bolton. Habib is listed in the Health Service Journal’s ‘100 most influential people in health’.

Dr Nandi Simpson

Director, Implementation

Dr Nandi Simpson

Director, Implementation

Nandi is Director: Implementation at the NHS Race and Health Observatory. She has a background in large strategic health systems partnership programmes, including developing and implementing strategy at the interface between the NHS and Higher Education sector.

Nandi joins the NHS Race and Health Observatory from King’s Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre, where she led the development and implementation of a strategy focussed on embedding research in the NHS with a view to improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities for women and children.

Nandi has extensive experience of working collaboratively with stakeholders across systems to identify and implement common objectives, including on national and international clinical-academic partnership programmes.

Dr Ngozi Kalu

Assistant Director, Research and Evidence

Dr Ngozi Kalu

Assistant Director, Research and Evidence

Ngozi Kalu is a pharmacist and a public health professional with over fourteen years of experience within the NHS and private health sectors, academia, and development programme settings in the UK and internationally.

Ngozi is passionate about improving health and addressing the impact of discriminatory laws and policies on the health outcomes of marginalised populations. Prior to joining the Observatory, Ngozi was at Terrence Higgins Trust, where she led the policy campaign aimed at reducing inequalities in access to the HIV prevention drug Pre-exposure prophylaxis by calling for its availability beyond sexual and reproductive health services. She also contributes to the educational sector by tutoring distance learning MSc students at LSHTM.

Ngozi has a Doctor of Public Health degree, master’s degrees in pharmacy and international Public Health.

Rose Obianwu

Assistant Director, Communications and Media

Rose Obianwu

Assistant Director, Communications and Media

Rose Obianwu is the Assistant Director of Communications and Media responsible for the Observatory’s overall media strategy, leading strategic communications planning, stakeholder engagement and media relations. Results-driven and with senior-level experience, she has worked in the private, voluntary and public sectors and successfully delivered communication strategies across the education sector, government departments, human rights and international sports management.

Following various roles in editorial and press and public relations, in 2015, Rose joined the national media team at NHS England, leading on a range of portfolios. Rose is passionate about public health partnerships that advance racial equity and span the Observatory’s vast areas of research and evidence policy and implementation.

Sam Rodger

Assistant Director, Policy and Strategy

Sam Rodger

Assistant Director, Policy and Strategy

Sam is responsible for overseeing strategy and policy at the Race and Health Observatory, making connections across the health and care landscape, and using robust evidence to inform national policy. Before joining the team, Sam worked at NHS England and NHS Improvement as policy lead for the Workforce Race Equality Standard Implementation team, where he oversaw an action research programme into how organisational culture is experienced by black and minority ethnic staff groups in the NHS.

Sam has also worked at the General Medical Council on fitness to practice policy; at the Department of Health and Social Care on workforce strategy, with a particular focus on temporary staffing; and at Arts Council England, where he worked on making access to the arts in England more equitable.

Sam also has an MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, where his research focused on global health, post-colonial international relations, and the intersection of the public and private sectors in global peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention.

Angelie Balalingam

Senior Research Officer

Angelie Balalingam

Senior Research Officer

Angelie is the Senior Research Officer at the Race and Health Observatory. Prior to joining the RHO, she worked at the NHS Confederation as a Policy Officer, supporting healthcare leaders though the enactment of the Health and Care Act and working alongside partners to support ICS leaders. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and is committed to driving fairness and equity in both her personal and professional life.

Sherma Jennings

Senior Business Support Officer

Sherma Jennings

Senior Business Support Officer

Works alongside the Business Manager with focus on contracts and procurement. She also offers admin support to the team. Before joining the RHO team, she worked in the various sectors of the NHS Confederation and NHS.  She has years of knowledge and experience in Business Administration both locally and internationally.  She graduated from the University of Leeds with her BA (Hons.) in Contemporary and Professional Studies, and also hold degrees in Teaching and Education, and Computer Studies. She also holds a CMI qualification in Coaching and Mentoring.

Dr Veline L’Esperance

Senior Clinical Advisor

Dr Veline L’Esperance

Senior Clinical Advisor

Dr Veline L’Esperance is a clinical advisor to the NHS Race and Health Observatory in the area of genomics and precision medicine. Veline is an academic GP and Research Director for the largest primary care organisation in England. She is also a member of the NICE Technology Appraisal Committee. Veline was a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow, before obtaining an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship and NIHR Doctoral fellowship. Her research interests include primary care health economics, epidemiology and health inequalities.

Zarah Mowhabuth

Transformation Manager

Zarah Mowhabuth

Transformation Manager

Zarah leads our programmes of work within our implementation portfolio, working with our partners such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health to help develop the Observatory’s Implementation model. Zarah also provides support to our Academic Reference Group and International Experts Group.

Previously, Zarah worked at NHS England in the NHS Horizons team as a project manager working on large-scale change in the NHS. Zarah has a Masters degree in Global and Comparative History and focused her work on identity politics and challenging the marginalisation of communities within her own heritage.

Arnie Puntis

Research and Policy Manager

Arnie Puntis

Research and Policy Manager

Arnie is the Research and Policy Manager at The Race and Health Observatory. She has a broad range of experience working in the NHS over the last 20 years, combined with working for other arm’s length bodies, government agencies, higher education, and the voluntary sector. With a background as a Physiotherapist, Arnie has frontline clinical experience of the health inequalities that local populations face. Prior experience working at Health Education England, involved increasing ethnic diversity and inclusively of the current and future workforce to reduce discrimination and inequalities. Arnie recently joined the organisation and is keen to ensure equity and transparency as well as help facilitate new research that promotes social justice. In her spare time, Arnie likes eating flavourful food, visiting the beach and running.

Dr Carl Reynolds

Senior Clinical Advisor

Dr Carl Reynolds

Senior Clinical Advisor

Dr Carl Reynolds is senior clinical advisor to the NHS Race and Health Observatory leading on sickle cell inequality. He is a consultant respiratory and general internal medicine physician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and an honorary senior clinical lecturer at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. Carl was a national clinical fellow to Sir Liam Donaldson at the National Patient Safety Agency and to Health Education England, before obtaining an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in respiratory medicine and a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship studying occupational lung disease.

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