15 December 2021

NHS Race and Health Observatory Sign Memorandum of Understanding with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The UK’s independent NHS Race and Health Observatory has today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (CDC).

From January 2022, the organisations, based in London and Atlanta, Georgia, will join efforts to ensure that effective health strategies to improve long standing ethnic health inequalities are developed and delivered through scientific research, data, and innovation.

The MOU was formally signed on Thursday 9 December by Dr Habib Naqvi, Director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory and Dr Leandris Liburd, Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Equity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr Habib Naqvi, Director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said:

“As we face the developing emergence of the Omicron variant globally, this is a pivotal time to seal our commitment to address long-standing ethnic health inequalities as well as being responsive to immediate health challenges, working with our US counterpart.

“We are thrilled to have this landmark exchange framework in place which will allow us to collaborate with CDC in improving the future health prospects and outcomes for our respective Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and patients. It is an important step in cultivating collaborative learning for tackling ethnic health inequalities across the globe.

“We look forward to partnering on this unique relationship which is set to cross borders and build on our mutual commitment for targeted, sustained, long-term change in health outcomes. Here and abroad, our diverse communities have faced the impact of avoidable, disproportionate and life-limiting health conditions, treatments and outcome disparities for too long.”

The signing follows the ‘landmark’ partnership announced by the UK government on June 10 2021, highlighting the commitment to sharing research, practice, and learning from diverse communities across international borders. The partnership will allow the CDC and Observatory to critically compare the challenges and opportunities presented across the different healthcare and public health systems to identify strategies and approaches for addressing health equity.

Dr Leandris Liburd, Director for the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said:

“Health and social inequities are global phenomena that undermine the strength and potential of whole societies to create thriving communities. This partnership positions our nations for progress addressing longstanding health inequities.”

Over the next six months, key priorities for the Observatory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will focus on exchanging insights and best practices including: 

  • Sharing existing health expertise along with methods, perspectives, and strategies that can be modified and applied to help progress better health outcomes in either nation, or beyond. This will include considerations of how data and the dissemination of data can inform policy change across respective health systems.
  • Developing and cultivating an international learning community, involving the expansion of shared networks of health and race specialists, scientists, and researchers and creating new connections with other national agencies and institutions.
  • Building a global evidence base to share existing research whilst collaborating on new and emerging research to enhance the global data available on health inequalities and effective interventions. This collaborative research will capitalise on the synergies between the two nations, as well as looking at the differences between the UK and USA in context to identify new insights.
  • Creating a shared agenda and new global standard, working together, both organisations will look to identify common actions, principles and opportunities that can be applied globally to advance health equity.

The Observatory has an established workstream focused on global health and partnerships to help share common approaches in tackling global ethnic health inequalities