21 June 2022

Top speakers set to headline Race and Health Observatory’s International Conference

The NHS Race and Health Observatory has today, 21 June, announced a major line-up of international speakers for its inaugural ‘Health, Race and Racism’ conference taking place on 7 and 8 July.

The independent health body’s International Race and Health Advisory Group, led by Harvard professor, David Williams, and UK race expert, Yvonne Coghill CBE, will feature in the conference that aims to outline solutions for tackling common health inequalities impacting diverse communities in the UK, and across the globe.

The fourteen members of the Observatory’s International Advisory Group are from across the world, from Australasia to Africa, South and North America to Europe, and hold amongst themselves, decades of race and health expertise.

One of the aims of the conference is the commitment to create global health alliances with health leaders and stakeholders in the UK and abroad, focussing on areas ranging from adverse outcomes in sickle cell disorder, maternal and neonatal health, to digital innovation and COVID-19.

Dr David Blumenthal, President of the Commonwealth Fund, and Dr Leandris Liburd from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will join over 50 headline speakers sharing promising approaches to reduce ethnic health inequities from their respective countries.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive, will deliver a keynote address at the conference on July 8.

Professor David Williams, Harvard University, and NHS Race and Health Observatory board member, said:

“This conference will shine a bright light on the truth that racism is at the core of health disparities not just in the United States and the United Kingdom – but all over the world. The conference will also showcase solutions for reducing these inequities in health.  We are excited that the conference is attracting participants from across the globe – people who are committed to putting ideas into action.”

Attendees for the virtual conference will also hear from a wide range of experts and panellists including:

  • Lord Victor Adebowale
  • Irma Velasquez Nimatuj
  • Dr Anthony Mbewu
  • Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent
  • Professor Kevin Fenton
  • Dr Laurie Zephyrin
  • Sir Michael Marmot
  • Dr Chaand Nagpaul
  • Dr Jeanelle De Gruchy

Group Chair and NHS Race and Health Observatory Board Member, Yvonne Coghill, said:

“We look forward to this opportunity to have frank discussions on ways in which global health inequities can be challenged and exploring practical ways to close long-existing gaps linked to race and health. Our united aims lay in our commitment to share solutions on preventable, long-standing, health challenges which continue to blight the lives of our diverse communities worldwide.”

The live-streamed event will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, patient stories and interactive Q&A sessions.

President of the Commonwealth Fund, David Blumenthal, said;

“The Commonwealth Fund has long believed in and invested in cross national learning to help us address the most pressing health care issues we face. We are committed to doing all we can to build a health care system grounded in anti-racism in the United States, and are eager to participate in this conversation with health care leaders from across the globe working to advance health equity.”

The event, supported by the Commonwealth Fund and British Medical Journal, is aimed at healthcare policy leads, clinicians, researchers and stakeholders interested in global health and equity along with the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector.

 BMJ Editor in chief, Kamran Abbasi, said:

“In February 2020, The BMJ published a landmark special issue on ‘Racism in Medicine’, which was instrumental in the creation of the Race and Health Observatory.

“Despite being created and funded by the NHS, there is nothing parochial about the Race and Health Observatory. Its ambitions are clear for the NHS but extend to tackling racism in healthcare globally. It is already having an impact and this international conference is another example. Almost every week, we cover how racism impacts health and wellbeing outcomes. Change is urgent, necessary, and must be prioritised, if we are to achieve a healthier world. I’m confident that the conference will help us to share learning and identify solutions.”

Click here to register, all sessions will be recorded and available to view for 30 days after the conference.