We are an independent expert body, established by the NHS to examine the health inequalities experienced by Black and minority ethnic communities 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.
Our independence is important to us. To effectively tackle race inequality in health and social care, individuals and policymakers need to be confident in the objectivity of our analyses and recommendations, and in our freedom to determine our own priorities.
The Observatory is guided by no other agenda than its own. We can scrutinise the health and care system from a distance but remain well positioned to advise on areas for improvement.
We will be guided not by politics, but by research and evidence. We will respond to what the evidence tells us and make recommendations that will serve those we are here to help.
We will not shy away from difficult conversations, and we remain open to challenge and debate. Our processes for funding will be transparent and any work we produce will be made available free of charge to all.
We will make genuine community engagement a requirement of all funding opportunities and commissioned research. We will remain open to engaging with new evidence and responding to new areas of concern.
We will ensure that our work has tangible and sustained impact on reducing ethnic health inequalities. It is vital that the work of the Observatory goes beyond research and leads to genuine change.
Closing the gap on ethnic health inequalities through research, innovation, and evidence-based recommendations for practice.
The NHS Race and Health Observatory is overseen by a Board of members, chaired by Marie Gabriel CBE.
With over 19 years of NHS Board experience, Marie is currently Chair of North East London STP, of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and of the NHS Race and Health Observatory. Prior to this, Marie chaired East London NHS Foundation Trust and before that commissioning organisations with budgets up to £3bn. Her first NED role was as Vice-Chair of Newham University Hospital Trust. Marie’s national roles include chairing the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard Strategic Advisory Group and being a member of the NHS People Plan Delivery Board. Marie’s background is in local government and the voluntary sector with particular experience in social justice and equity.
In 2020 Marie’s contribution to the NHS was recognised through her incorporation in the Health Service Journal’s list of the 80 most influential people in the NHS and the award of her CBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Marie’s contribution to the London Borough of Newham was recognised in 2010 when she was awarded Honorary Freedom of the Borough.
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.
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 Begum is CEO of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading race equalities think tank. She has held senior leadership positions with a range of organisations in the public and private sectors, including the Department for International Development, the British Council and LEGO Foundation.
Dr Begum’s experience spans fields including education, human rights, public health, the environment, and post-conflict reconstruction. Her portfolio of responsibilities has included coordinating the Sino-British government action plan to reduce food insecurity due to climate change, leading the UK effort in promoting girls’ education in Pakistan, and heading up collaborations between science and technology institutions in Britain and South East Asia.
As a disabled Muslim woman raised in Tower Hamlets, Dr Begum is a lifelong campaigner for equality and civil rights. In the early-1990s, she co-founded Women Against Racism to combat the rising incidence of racism and Islamophobia in East London, while today she sits on the board of various organisations including the Labour Campaign for Human Rights and Toynbee Hall.
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.
Yvonne is currently working as a special advisor on race at health at the new NHS Race and Health Observatory.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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 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 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 is the first black and minority ethnic communities chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) Council since his election in July 2017. His role involves representing the breadth of the medical profession working in all settings and disciplines across the UK, to policymakers and government.
He has championed the need for race equality in the NHS throughout his tenure and organised the BMA’s first-ever race equality summit in 2018. He provided stakeholder input into the development of the Race and Health observatory, and prominently led the BMA’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. He has been a visible figure calling for action to address the disproportionate adverse impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic communities healthcare workers and communities and gave evidence on this issue to the Women and Equalities Select Committee, the London Assembly and contributed to Baroness Doreen Lawrence’s review “An Avoidable Crisis”.
He is listed in the Health Service Journal’s 50 most influential black and minority ethnic communities people in health (2020) and in the GG2 Power List of Britain’s 101 most influential Asians (2020). He is past chair of the BMA GPs committee (GPC) from 2013 – 2017. As chair of GPC, he helped raise the profile of general practice and the pressures it faced and negotiated positive contract changes to support GPs. He also promoted ways in which GPs could work in newer and collaborative ways to best manage demand and escalating workload. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Chaand was awarded a CBE in 2015 for his services to primary care.
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.
Heather is the Chief Executive of a regional charity that has a national and developing international reach with an extensive background and working knowledge of Equality and Diversity with the overall aim of Inclusion within the Education, Health and Social Care 3rd Sector. This charity, BHI, is a community engagement organisation, which works with and for disadvantaged and marginalised communities addressing equity of access education, health and social care locally regionally and nationally. They work in partnership with local, regional, and national charities, schools, and community organisation. Additionally, the charity enables through culturally appropriate outreach and engages communities to develop positive lifestyle choices, address cultural myths and taboos, and provide factual health and wellbeing information that embraces diversity.
She created the Legacy Awards in 2017, a ceremony that celebrates excellence by those seldom recognised for their achievements. This annual ceremony takes place in Leeds and awards those who go above and beyond to reach their goals and provide a positive impact on the community, city and wider.
She also holds the position of the National Director of black and minority ethnic communities Cancer Voice, the only UK-wide cancer programme having membership of black and minority ethnic communities who have a lived experience of cancer.
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.
Eugine was appointed chief executive of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust in May 2022. Prior to joining UHBW, Eugine was the chief executive of Dorset HealthCare University Foundation Trust for four years. Under his leadership, the Trust achieved a CQC rating of Outstanding in his first year as chief executive.
The Trust was also ranked amongst the top four in the annual staff survey for three consecutive years – with the best scores nationally for staff engagement and empowerment. Eugine has broad experience of partnership working and developing new models of care to improve the experience and outcomes for people who use health and social care services.
In addition to his clinical background, Eugine brings a wealth of experience across senior clinical and operational roles in the private sector and in acute and mental health organisations in the NHS.
Eugine holds a BSc (Enon) Financial Economics and an MBA from Warwick Business School.
The day-to-day management of the NHS Race and Health Observatory is organised by a Senior Management Team led by its Director, Dr Habib Naqvi MBE.
Dr Habib Naqvi is Director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, who leads work nationally on identifying and tackling ethnic health inequalities.
Habib has a background in public health, health psychology, and healthcare policy and strategy development. He joined the NHS in 2001 and managed large public health research programmes in the South West of England.
Habib spent a number of 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 (WRES).
Habib volunteers as a trustee of the Mary Seacole Trust, a leading health and equity charity, and was listed in the Health Service Journal’s ’80 most influential people in health in 2021′.
Habib reverse mentors the Chief Executive of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, and was awarded an MBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to equality and diversity in the NHS.
Habib is on Twitter: @DrHNaqvi
Owen is the Senior Implementation Lead in the Race and Health Observatory. He joined the NHS in 2004 as a Mental Health Occupational Therapist (OT). Prior to working in the UK, Owen worked as an OT in his native Zimbabwe and Botswana. He is also an alumnus of the NHS Graduate Scheme (Health Informatics specialism). He has worked in various management/leadership roles for clinical, transformation, performance and informatics teams. Owen is passionate about using data to reduce race inequality, improve patient care and staff experiences. Away from work, Owen is a keen runner and when he gets the time, he plays on his Xbox.
Owen is on Twitter: @owenchinembiri
Ruth has been the Business Manager for the NHS Race and Health Observatory since January 2021.
She is a graduate of the University of Leeds and has extensive experience of working in business and administrative roles for local government and in healthcare.
Before joining the Observatory, Ruth worked at NHS England and NHS Improvement for six years, most recently as part of the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) team.
She lives in Leeds with her husband and two young sons and is passionate about playing a part in improving healthcare experiences and outcomes for patients, communities and staff.
Zarah is the Transformation Manager at the Race and Health Observatory, focusing on project management as well as our social media. Before joining the team, Zarah worked at NHS England and NHS Improvement as a Project Manager, working on several national projects focused on large-scale change. Zarah also has an MA in Global and Comparative History where she focused on identity politics and challenging the marginalisation of communities within her own heritage.
Zarah is on Twitter: @ZarahMowhabuth
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.
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 focussed on global health, post-colonial international relations, and the intersection of the public and private sectors in global peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention.
The Academic Reference Group is in place to support the Observatory’s function of facilitating and reviewing high-quality and innovative research evidence. Following their expert insight, planned policy recommendations for future change for the NHS health system will be proposed.