The National BAME Health & Care Awards entered its final week of celebrations in what has been an unprecedented year for BAME healthcare workers as they’ve bravely battled the deadly coronavirus.
Awards founder Wendy Olayiwola saluted all the healthcare workers that “sacrificed” so much to perform their duties on the frontline. She added that while many BAME healthcare workers face “marginalisation” by being underrepresented in senior roles, it makes the awards and commendation of BAME staff going the extra mile even more important.
DiversityQ’s Editor Cheryl Cole acknowledged that the judges “had some tough choices to make” but added that all the nominees’ “hard work and dedication has been recognised”, where everyone should be proud of themselves.
1. Outstanding Achievement of the Year
Of the nominees, Cole said: “All 3 nominees were outstanding in their vision and work, but the winner stood out due to its clear evidence of the health benefit for South Asian women patients, one of the most marginalised groups in the community. The winner and their colleagues’ approach to shaping a service that was sensitive to the needs of this group as well as to the challenges of the pandemic are highly innovative and will hopefully encourage this team and their partner organisations to adopt similar approaches to tackling other aspects of health inequalities.”
The winner was Priyanika Jesrani – DynamicHealth Musculoskeletal and Specialist Physiotherapy.
Jesrani said: “This is a real testament to the collaborative approach we took with Healthy Peterborough, which is a local Peterborough health and wellbeing service, colleagues from across the trust and our community have been instrumental to make this work; having the freedom and support to allow collaborative pieces of work such as this to get started and flourish is so important.”
Tanisha Saboo, a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and colleague of Jesrani, said how “language and culture can be barriers to seeking help”, especially in Peterborough, a very diverse community where they designed a rehabilitation programme across five sessions delivered in Urdu.
Jesrani added that they hoped the sessions made people “feel less lonely” and more able to share their individual experiences.
2. Outstanding Contribution to Social Care
Of the winner, Cole said: “While we had a number of nominees, it was clear to the judges from the onset that there was one clear winner. The judges thought their work to develop a training course on anti-racism in social work and ability to engage with students and faculty colleagues in decolonising the course curriculum was outstanding.”
The winner was Jody Bell – Oxford Brookes University.
Bell said as a social work lecturer, she has a “real opportunity to raise awareness and question inequalities.” She added that she thinks we’re living in a society where people are “listening more” but hopes that one day, there will be no need for awards like these to celebrate diversity, as it will hopefully be the norm.
3. BAME Midwife of the Year
The highly commended nominee was Fatima Ghaouch – Northampton General Hospital.
Of the winner, Cole said: “The winner has shown clear evidence of inspiring colleagues, developing new service delivery, and responding to the challenges of COVID-19. Their dedicated, hardworking, passionate approach and supportive nature really help her stand out as a role model and inspirational leader for our midwife colleagues. Comments from our lead Consultant, Endocrinologist, really sum up her as a role model: ‘She has driven excellence amongst other members of the midwifery team who do not have expertise in the field of diabetes. She is exceedingly competent, and a dynamic asset to the team, and a pleasure to work with. We are lucky to have her’.”
The winner was Angelina Ankomah – West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford.
Ankomah said: “This is very special, this is the job I have done every day for the past sixteen years, it’s such a huge honour. For someone like me to be recognised on this national stage is going to boost the morale of other colleagues, to say ‘look, we can all strive to do better’.”
4. BAME Nurse of the Year
Cole said there were two winners for this category: “Both winners demonstrated excellence as clinical leaders and nurses but also worked in extraordinary ways and beyond their duties to respond to COVID-19 showing compassion and resilience to colleagues, patients, and the wider community.”
The winners were – Jose Ariel Landa – Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Theresa Maunganidze – West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Landa said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled for this recognition; it gives me a boost of energy and pride to improve patient and staff experiences.” He also dedicated the award to his colleagues that have been lost to COVID-19. He also thanked all “BAME and non-BAME” healthcare workers on the frontline in the UK.
Maunganidze said: “This is amongst a lot of exceptional nurses who’ve done wonderful things for both patient care and staff wellbeing. It has been a trying year for a lot of us, particularly within the BAME society, as most of us have watched friends, families, and loved ones, including colleagues, lose their lives due to COVID-19, some of us have suffered anxieties that we’re not able to explain, but for overseas nurses, we haven’t been able to visit our homes and neither have they been able to visit us. But as a community, we can stand together, and we have a voice.”