Nine nurses working across England were today (Tuesday 30 October) honoured and awarded for their contribution to the health of black and ethnic minority (BME) communities with the Mary Seacole Leadership and Development Awards.

The awards were first launched in 1994 in honour of Mary Seacole who made a significant contribution to nursing in the 19th century.

Today’s awards are funded by Health Education England and administered jointly by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Unison, and Unite. The four professional organisations work in partnership with additional support from NHS Employers.

The three awardees who received funding for their projects last year were today presented with their certificates and Mary Seacole scholar badge having completed their projects.

In the leadership award category;

  • Bertha Ochieng, professor of Integrated Health and Social Care, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester
    Leadership Award: Meeting the nutritional needs of black and minority ethnic 0-5 year old children: developing an evidence-based training tool for weight management.
  • Faye Bruce, senior lecturer and programme leader in Nursing, Manchester Metropolitan University
    Development Award: Developing health literacy and leadership capabilities among African and Caribbean faith and community leaders/champions to influence health decision-making at strategic levels.
  • Saeidah Saeidi, service evaluation manager, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
    Development Award: Ethnicity Matters: developing a culturally competent and capable mental health workforce

Meanwhile, two new leadership awards were announced this afternoon at the ceremony and all three will receive funding for their projects:

Leadership Awardees

  • Alis Rasul is clinical team leader for health visiting at the Mosely Hall Hospital, Birmingham. Approachable Parenting: A realist evaluation of the health visitor role in co-delivering a culturally sensitive early intervention programme to support the mental health of Muslim families.
  • Obrey Alexis is senior lecturer at Oxford Brooks University. A qualitative study examining black African and black Carribbean men’s experiences of prostate cancer and their perceived needs.

In addition, four Development Awards were also announced

  • Dr Kanta Kumar is research facilitator at the Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham. Perceptions of Doppler ultrasound scan among black and minority ethnic patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Katie Worley is interim public health nursing manager at Public Health Nursing 4 Slough. To raise awareness and offer a sound evidence based approach to the identification and assessment of maternal mental health for Punjabi speaking mothers within the Slough community.
  • Thomas Currid is programme lead at School of Health and Social Care, University of Essex. A qualitative exploration of the mental health needs of Irish Travellers in England.
  • Sarah Chitongo is technical clinical skills manager at Middlesex University. Preventing deaths in high risk black minority ethnic (BME) groups in maternity services.

Obi Amadi, Unite lead professional officer and awards steering group chair said: “We congratulate our scholars and welcome the six new awardees into the Mary Seacole family. Their projects are current and cutting edge, culturally sensitive and will without a doubt impact on the healthcare outcomes of people from BME communities.

“My continued involvement with these awards is an honour. From small beginnings many of these projects and scholars go on and achieve great things for the BAME communities; they have more than proved their worth.

“These are difficult times for the nursing and midwifery professions so it is especially relevant that we can come together to celebrate achievements like these and hear about new and future role models for our professions.”


Notes to editors:

More information on the Mary Seacole Awards
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey