Partnerships and global working

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.

CVD in Black and minority ethnic groups caused 24 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales, in 2019. Reference

By 2025 more than 5 million people will have diabetes in the UK. Reference

Estimates of disability-free life expectancy are 10 years lower for Bangladeshi men living in England compared to their White British counterparts. Reference

Our approach and engagement

We will take a systemic approach to stakeholder engagement, ensuring that systemic primacy, diversity of experience, independence, transparency, and reliance on evidence are always at the centre of the work we do. Our community engagement work will focus on four key objectives designed to ensure that systematic community participation:

  • shapes the Observatory’s and NHS’ priorities for targeted ethnic health inequality work
  • is embedded in the analysis of the factors that lead to ethnic health inequalities and in the solutions that will reduce those inequalities
  • supports the NHS to implement recommendations, and to achieve its own health inequity reduction ambitions
  • is at the heart of evaluating the impact of the participation itself and in the work of the Observatory and the NHS within key priority areas

Ethnic health inequalities are persistent globally, and there are likely to be significant cross-cultural commonalities that show promise of reducing health inequalities for Black and minority ethnic people in white-majority societies, or in societies where ethnic populations may be in the majority but where health outcomes for those ethnic, non-dominant populations are far below the average of their societies. The Observatory brings together race, ethnicity and health expertise from across the globe, from Australasia to Africa, South and North America to Europe and Asia – to share common solutions to common challenges in the field of ethnic health inequalities.

Stakeholder Engagement Group

The stakeholder engagement group is made up of people from within the NHS and wider community. The purpose of the group is to support the NHS Race and Health Observatory to focus on issues that really matter and make a positive difference to the lives of staff in the NHS and in the wider community.   The overall aim being to reduce health inequalities between white people and people from ethnic minority groups. The group will  meet approximately four times a year and will work with each other and other members of the Observatory to support the delivery of the RHOs overall  aims and objectives.

Emma Bray

Outreach and Campaigns Officer. Friends, Families & Travellers (FFT)
Read bio

Emma Bray

Outreach and Campaigns Officer. Friends, Families & Travellers (FFT)

Emma Bray is an Outreach Worker and Campaigns Officer at Friends, Families and Travelers (FFT) which is a national charity that works on behalf of Gypsy, Roma and Traveler communities.

Emma has been an outreach worker for ten years. Her main roles are health improvement and campaigns work. Emma is passionate about her job and community, coming from a Traveler background herself and now living on a permanent site with her family.

Emma believes that lived experience as well as professional can offer a unique insight and understanding into health inequalities and barriers. Emma’s roles include Health Champion, Stop Smoking Advisor, Royal Society of Public Health Trainer and

Emma also has a wealth of experience in delivering inclusive services training to statutory and third sector organisations. Emma is passionate about tackling maternal health inequalities and mental health inequalities in Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Mark R D Johnson

Emeritus Professor of Diversity in Health and Social Care
Read bio

Mark R D Johnson

Emeritus Professor of Diversity in Health and Social Care

Mark R D Johnson is Emeritus Professor of Diversity in Health and Social Care at De Montfort University Leicester UK.

He founded the Mary Seacole Research Centre and UK Centre for Evidence in Ethnicity, Diversity and Health, the first evidence-based database of research into minority ethnic health issue in Europe.

Mark was the first Professor of Diversity in Europe, and continues to provide expert advice and input to evaluations, peer reviews, and professional training programmes.

He has researched ‘diversity’ in relation to most major conditions including cancer, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, and ‘migrant health care’ across Europe.

He works closely with community members in developing research and policy around issues including end of life and dementia, sight loss, musculo-skeletal conditions, learning disability, and health promotion and is passionate about inclusion of people from minority groups in research and development, and communities having access to research evidence.

As one of the Expert Academic Advisors to the NHS Race & Health Observatory, he will continue to fight for that link between research and practice improvement.

Patrick Vernon

Associate Director for Connected Communities
Read bio

Patrick Vernon

Associate Director for Connected Communities

Patrick Vernon OBE, social commentator, cultural historian and EDI Adviser is Associate Director for Connected Communities for the Centre for Ageing Better. He is also a Clore and Winston Churchill Fellow, Fellow of Goodenough College, Fellow at the Imperial War Museum, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and former associate fellow for the department of history of medicine at Warwick University.

Patrick is also an independent adviser on equality and diversity for Lambeth and Harrow Council. He was the first director of Black Thrive a mental-health, multi-agency tackling mental health in Lambeth, a former non-executive director of Camden and Islington Mental Health Foundation Trust, Health Partnership Coordinator for National Housing Federation, former Director of Afiya Trust, Chair of Westminster Race Equality Partnership, Committee member of Healthwatch England, NHS England Equality Diversity Council, Director of Brent Health Action Zone and Regional director for MIND.

Patrick is a former Councillor in Hackney from 2006-2014. Patrick is currently chair of Citizenship Partnership for HSIB and Non-Executive Director for Hertfordshire NHS Trust. Patrick was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work on tackling health inequalities and working with ethnic minority communities.

In 2018 he received an honorary PhD from Wolverhampton University and was selected as one of The Progressive 1000:  Londoner influencer list by the Evening Standard. In 2019 he was awarded a lifetime achievement award for campaigning and advocacy work by the SMK Foundation. In 2020 Patrick was selected by British Vogue as one of Britain’s top 20 campaigners and was included in the 2020 Power list of 100 influential Black People in Britain.

Melissa Berry

Diversity Consultant
Read bio

Melissa Berry

Diversity Consultant

Melissa started her career with Centrica PLC where she worked for 10 years before moving to the public sector. She now works as a diversity consultant providing advice and designing and delivering projects across both blue-chip private sector and public sector organisations.

Melissa has delivered a broad range of strategic projects using her extensive knowledge of cultural diversity, specifically as it relates to establishing an inclusive positive workplace culture.

Melissa advises brands on how to achieve greater diversity internally within their organisations as well as with publicity, marketing and advertising campaigns.

Melissa has particular expertise in developing diversity programmes in response to peoples’ experiences in the workplace and supporting boards to drive change. She regularly provides advice to clients and develops bespoke strategies across all diversity strands along with training sessions for boards, leadership teams and the wider organisation. Recently, she has been working within the NHS and regularly speaks at conferences delivering talks on race.

Jenni Caguioa

CNO BAME Nurse Advisor
Read bio

Jenni Caguioa

CNO BAME Nurse Advisor

Jenni qualified as a nurse in the Philippines in 1994 and was among the first Filipino nurses who came to work in the UK in 1999. She started in Haematology at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and has worked in the NHS for the last 21 years within oncology, research and practice development.

Since 2009 as Lead IV Practitioner, she started a vascular access service at King’s College Hospital NHSFT, published peer reviewed articles and was awarded the British Journal of Nursing ‘IV Therapy Nurse of the Year’  in 2016  for implementing Project HANDS. She presents at various national and international conferences and sits on various advisory boards.

Passionate about leadership and staff support, she completed an MSc in Healthcare Leadership in 2016. As BAME Network Engagement Lead, she believes in equality and the strength of diversity so that teams can deliver the best care for our patients. She initiated Project KINs (King’s International Nurses) How are we doing? to improve the support of newly arrived overseas nurses.

Felicia Kwaku

Associate Director of Nursing NHS
Read bio

Felicia Kwaku

Associate Director of Nursing NHS

Felicia has over 31 years nursing experience, specialising in general Intensive Care/Cardiac Nursing. Trained at University College London Hospitals, she is an Associate Director of Nursing at Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Currently interim Chair of the Chief Nursing Officer for England BME Strategic Advisory Group Felicia holds an MSc in Human physiology and has always been interested in Education & Development. She has held various roles such as Research Nurse, Practice Educator/ Practice Development Lead Nurse. During her tenure she held a part time Lecturer Practitioner post at London South Bank University.

Concurrently, Felicia secured the post of Modern Matron/Divisional Senior Nurse at The Heart Hospital (THH) for six years where she established the THH as a beacon of best practice & innovation within the Trust. Felicia took up the post of Head of Nursing for Surgery & Critical Care at Ealing Hospital, followed by Director of Nursing positions at BMI Clementine Churchill Hospital and Whipps Cross hospital, London.

Felicia has always had a passion for clinical practice ensuring that patients as well as staff are at the centre of our care. She believes that if the workforce is not highly valued then this is reflected in poor care delivery.

As a Director of Nursing, Felicia performs clinical duties, being highly visible both in and out of uniform. She is committed to supporting, coaching and mentoring individuals internally and externally. She considers mentoring as a fundamental responsibility as it allows individuals to examine self, grow and develop a global vision.

Varadarajan Kalidasan

Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and Urologist
Read bio

Varadarajan Kalidasan

Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and Urologist

Currently a Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and Urologist at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Brighton. Kali trained in some of the largest and highly rated institutions in world. These include the Madras Medical College; The General Hospital in Madras as well as the Institute of Child health in Chennai, India; The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne; and the Crumlin Hospital in Dublin.

Since April 2012 he has been in the role of Director of Medical Education at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust in the Directorate of Education and Knowledge.

The purpose of the role was to integrate the education model that Health Education England are keen on promoting. Successfully integrating education across various groups in the Trust, in this role, he works with the Clinical Directors, Executive team, Medical Director, and Health Education England.

As the main teaching institution in the south-east of England (outside London), there are  600 post-graduate trainees, hundreds of medical students and over 1000 other trainees in various professional groups. Kali works closely with Brighton and Sussex Medical school which  has given him unique and excellent insight into the various areas of the hospital and the close links that various teams have to make an acute university hospital work.

He is also chair of the local academic board and the education and knowledge board and a member of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) Kali is also a member of the Trusts Ethnic Minorities Network and works closely with the equality and diversity team

Rev Charles Kwaku-Odoi

Chief Officer Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN)
Read bio

Rev Charles Kwaku-Odoi

Chief Officer Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN)

Charles is Chief Officer of the Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN).

He sits on local and national governance boards including Greater Manchester Voluntary Community & Social Enterprise (VCSE) Leadership Group, Coalition of Race Equality Organisations, and Governor at Manchester Foundation Trust.

Charles works to bring equity and fairness across a range of important health and wellbeing issues for people of the Caribbean and African Diaspora.

He is involved in work that influences the research, policy and practice agenda at local, regional and national levels.

Some of his specialist work is focused on Democratic Participation, Female Genital Mutilation, HIV, Domestic Violence, Modern Slavery, Hate Crime, and Forced Marriage.

Charles is a member of the NHS England Clinical Reference Group for HIV and also a member of the HIV Prevention England Steering Group.

He is also a Pentecostal Minister who is passionate about engaging faith leaders especially African pastors and organising health events such as HIV testing and organ donor recruitment in churches on Sundays.

Jacqueline Dyer

Independent Health and Social Care Consultant
Read bio

Jacqueline Dyer

Independent Health and Social Care Consultant

Jacqui is an independent health and social care consultant, with lived experience, and a background in adult mental health commissioning as well as community and family social work.

She was vice-chair of England’s Mental Health Taskforce, which collaboratively developed the 5 Year Forward View for Mental Health (NHSE) and its transformation of mental health service policy and provision. Its focus on reducing mental health inequalities was further strengthened in the NHS Long Term Plan for Mental Health. She is also President of the Mental Health Foundation UK.

Jacqui has co-led the Mayoral ‘Thrive London’ since its inception. Jacqui is an elected Councillor where she is cabinet member for jobs, skills and community safety having previously jointly held the health and adult social care cabinet portfolio.

She is co-founder and chair of Lambeth’s Black Thrive Partnership attending to the health of local black Caribbean and African citizens. Jacqui is a director of Black Thrive Global, which has evolved from the partnership to take forward its legacy. Jacqui was an advisory panel member of the 2018 Independent Mental Health Act Review (MHAR) and co-chair of its African & Caribbean Working Group (MHARAC).

Jacqui is currently the Mental Health Equalities Advisor for NHSE, and Health Education England (HEE), leading on the Advancing Mental Health Equalities Strategy and the development of the Patient & Carer Race Equality Framework as recommended in the MHARAC and subsequently agreed by the government.

In 2019 Jacqui was appointed the Mental Health Equalities Champion for England to support the implementation of the MHAR recommendations.

Simeon Essuman

NHS Service user
Read bio

Simeon Essuman

NHS Service user

Simeon is a 22-year-old black man who  lives in West London where he was born and raised.

He believes that he will be able to provide useful and practical insights to aid the group in its discussions. He believes he will be able to shine a light on the experiences for young black people in our health care services by using his own recent experiences as a benchmark.

Simeon recently severely snapped his achilles tendon playing football, therefore has been in and out of Hillingdon Hospital since October.

He has also had a major operation at the start of the year at the London University College Hospital (Head and Neck Cancer department). He feels just these two experiences will enable him  to give insight into the experiences of someone of an African-Caribbean descent interacting with the NHS.

Simeon is confident that his personal experiences will be of benefit to the RHO, whether this be from his experiences in a primary and secondary school in Ruislip (a mainly White British area) or working in Real Estate for two years covering predominantly White British communities (Windsor, Bracknell and Gerrards Cross) but also mixed background communities (West Drayton and Slough).

A headshot of Heather Nelson

Heather Nelson

CEO Black Health Initiative
Read bio

Heather Nelson

CEO Black Health Initiative

Heather is the Chief Executive of a regional charity that has a national and developing international reach. She has an extensive background and working knowledge of Equality and Diversity and inclusion within the Education, Health and Social Care 3rd Sector.

Black Health Initiative (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, through culturally appropriate outreach the charity engages with communities to develop positive lifestyle choices, address cultural myths and taboos, and provide factual health and wellbeing information which embraces diversity. In 2017 Heather created the Legacy Awards, which celebrates excellence by those seldom recognised for their achievements.

This annual ceremony takes place in Leeds, and awards go to people that go above and beyond to reach their goals and provide a positive impact on the community and city.  Heather also holds the position of the National Director of BME Cancer Voice, the only UK wide cancer programme with a  membership of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities who have lived experience of cancer.

Jacynth Ivey

Non-Executive Director
Read bio

Jacynth Ivey

Non-Executive Director

Jacynth is the Managing Director of Inspiring Hope (IH) specialising in the area of equality and diversity.

She has over 40 years of experience of working in and with the NHS as a clinician, manager and Executive Director of Nursing. She is a former Associate Non-Executive Director on the Board of HEE and Non-Executive Director (NED) of West Midlands Ambulance NHS FT.

She currently serves as a NED in Birmingham Community Health NHS Trust where she chairs the workforce and organisational development committee.

Inspiring Hope were commissioned to design and deliver a bespoke solution to developing WRES Experts across the system.

Jacynth has extensive experience of design and delivery of positive action programmes in order to build capacity and capability amongst diverse workforces.

She uses personal and professional development to deliver better quality outcomes for the workforce, service users, patients, clients, carers and end users.  IH values embody the way Jacynth approaches each assignment, transforming mindsets and changing behaviour to achieve fairer outcomes.

Pav Akhtar

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead
Read bio

Pav Akhtar

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead

Pav is an equality and employment law specialist whose professional career has spanned the public, private and voluntary sectors. He is currently head of equality at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust and a public governor at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

He joined the NHS after working as a political advisor to a shadow minister in the Home Affairs team in Parliament.

Prior to this, Pav spent a decade overseas. As a director of UNI Global Union in Switzerland, Pav negotiated global agreements with private sector multinational companies; helped negotiate a UN convention to prevent violence against women and men at work and helped draft a UN global compact on safe and orderly migration.

A central tenet of Pav’s career has been the defence of human rights and workers’ rights.

Pav was head of equality in the UK’s Department of Education; public appointments ambassador in the Government Equalities Office; and an employment tribunals’ member in the Ministry of Justice.

Pav is a long serving Director of UK Black Pride which tackles intersections of race, faith, and sexual orientation, and is a campaigner for disability rights.

Pav continues to serve his community as a Preston City Councillor. He holds a BA (Hons) and MA from the University of Cambridge, and an MA in labour economics from L’Università Degli Studi di Torino in Italy.

John Walsh

Organisational Development Lead and Freedom to Speak Up Guardian
Read bio

John Walsh

Organisational Development Lead and Freedom to Speak Up Guardian

John Walsh has worked in the NHS for 25 years. He worked with  the homeless and people in the asylum system in Leeds for 22 years. This work was mainly on the streets with homeless people. He managed the homeless service for several years. A service that was  rated outstanding by the CQC.  John presently works as the ODI (Organisational Development and Improvement) Lead at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust. This work involves culture change, leadership and systems work.

John is the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian for the Trust and the Leeds GP Confederation.  He co-leads the System Leadership development work in Leeds and work with the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Partnership on health inequalities and personalised care. He sits on the Yorkshire RCGP Faculty. John has received  a number of awards which include Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Clinician of the Year (2013); The Yorkshire and Humberside Leadership Academy Community Leader of the Year  (2013 ); Yorkshire Evening Post Community Health award (2015); Yorkshire Evening Post Overall Judges Winner award (2015); and the Ads the Poet award for Compassion in Health (2015). In 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate at Leeds Beckett University for city partnership work and work with homeless people.  He also received a special award from practice nurses across England for supporting the work of Practice Nursing in 2015.

Fatima Khan-Shah

NHS Programme Director
Read bio

Fatima Khan-Shah

NHS Programme Director

Fatima is known regionally and nationally for actively championing patient involvement, the recognition of carer support and challenging inequalities in Health and Care.

Fatima currently works as a system leader within the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and is the director of the Personalised Care and Unpaid Carer Programmes. The latter of which has recently won a national award.

She has recently been appointed as a Non-Executive Director at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Fatima also works nationally with NHS England and is a member of the NHS Assembly and Kings Fund General Council.

Fatima has been nationally recognised for her work in the voluntary and community sector developing the community interest company Investors in Carers which was shortlisted for a Heath Services Journal Award and as Chair of Healthwatch Kirklees which was nationally recognised by Healthwatch England for its work.

Her experience also includes working within the NHS as a Lay Member for Patient and Public Involvement and within the Local Authority as a Scrutiny Co-optee with responsibility for scrutinising the decisions and policies that are being made by the Council and key partners including local health service providers and commissioners.

Bren McInerney

Community volunteer
Read bio

Bren McInerney

Community volunteer

Bren spent some time in the Royal Navy, he has a Batchelor of Science and master’s degree and has been a member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s Public Health Advisory Committee and Co-Chair of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) eQuality Voices group. He is presently the Public Member of the CQC’s Experts by Experience Programme Board, working with the NHS Leadership Academy/Health Education England on community and neighbourhood voice, and presently leads a national pilot on how national bodies across health and social care better engage with the local community around what matters to them. Born and residing in Gloucestershire, Bren has spent the last 24 years volunteering  and supporting a number of local health and well-being activities at community level. During this time, he was the carer for his mother with chronic illness. He continues to volunteer as an informal advocate with and for people and communities and leads a number of local and national connectivity initiatives (and vice versa) across health and social care.

He is a member of his local GP Patient Participation Group, supporting an ethnic minority community led mentoring programme with the NHS. Bren’s area of focus has always been on hearing, involving, and taking action on the voices of people who may otherwise not feel they are heard or understood. In doing so he has resourced a number of local community initiatives and supported many diverse community organisations. Persistent and constructively challenging of himself and others, in June 2019 Bren was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with a British Empire Medal for his services to volunteering, public services and the community.

Clenton Farquharson MBE

Director of Community Navigator Services CIC & Skills for Care Ambassador
Read bio

Clenton Farquharson MBE

Director of Community Navigator Services CIC & Skills for Care Ambassador

Clenton is a disabled person with lived experience of health and social care, he employ’s his own personal assistant, and looks after his mum’s personal budget which his mum uses for her own personal assistances. Using his knowledge, experience and energy he helps people that need support to have a good life.

Clenton’s focus is on social justice and social change in society and the means by which people act and react to the environment through their many different identities .

Clenton currently has many roles, Chair of the Think Local Act Personal Partnership Board, member of the Coalition for Personalised Care and member of the Social Care Sector COVID-19 Stakeholder Group.

Clenton is also a member of the NHS Assembly, set up to oversee the NHS Ten Year Plan; the current chair of Quality Matters; a trustee of the Race Equality Foundation; and ambassador for Disability Rights UK. He is a director of Community Navigator Services CIC; and a Skills for Care Ambassador. He works as a consultant, auditor, trainer, and coach on inclusion, equality, disability and social justice and was named in Disability News Services’ list of influential disabled people. In his spare time, he supports Birmingham City Football Club.

Stafford Scott

Director of Tottenham Rights CIC, Associate Consultant at the Kings Fund
Read bio

Stafford Scott

Director of Tottenham Rights CIC, Associate Consultant at the Kings Fund

In his 40+ years of activism, Stafford has been in the front line of the ‘front lines’ in the battle against Institutional racism. From his time spent working on the Broadwater Farm Estate in the 1980s to his current post, Stafford has always been an ardent advocate for racial equality and social justice.

Stafford has worked as the Director of the Bernie Grant Trust’s Community Leadership Programme where he designed and delivered Community Leadership Training programmes to members of black communities in Manchester, Liverpool and in several different locations across London.

He then went on to work as a Community Engagement Advisor in the Equalities Unit at the Department of Health where he wrote the guide: ‘A Dialogue of Equals’ to support the NHS to improve its track record in engaging with communities who were perceived to be ‘hard to reach’ by NHS planners.

He has also worked with the National Social Inclusion Programme as a community engagement advisor. Stafford was also a Thinking Partner on the NHS Race for Health Equalities Programme; a programme geared to improving the ability of Primary Care Trusts to deliver improved and culturally sensitive services to local BME communities. In this role he worked with PCT’s in Birmingham, Luton and Haringey.

Stafford has also been a member of the Department for Communities & Local Government’s Community Forum where he advised department leads on the impact of Government policies on marginalised communities. He is currently the Director of Tottenham Rights CIC and an Associate Consultant at the Kings Fund. Stafford occasionally writes articles for the Guardian Newspaper on matters relating to the black community, injustice and inequality.