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NHS Race and Health Observatory to stage first international conference in July

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o201 (Published 25 January 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o201
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The NHS Race and Health Observatory will stage its first international conference on race, racism, and health later this year.

The observatory was established in 20201 to investigate the effects of race and ethnicity on people’s health after a special issue of The BMJ2 highlighted the continuing problem of racism in medicine.

The inaugural event, which is being supported by The BMJ, will take place virtually on 7 and 8 July 2022. It will hear from influential global figures and will be hosted the chairs of the observatory’s International Race and Health Experts Group—David Williams from Harvard University and Yvonne Coghill, former director of the NHS England Workforce Race Equality Standard programme.

Williams, Coghill, and The BMJ’s editor in chief Kamran Abbasi will all chair sessions at the event, which will hear from experts from Australia, Canada, Guatemala, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the US.

Assembled experts will discuss promising approaches to reducing ethnic health inequities from different countries, and ways these can be used to improve health and adapt best clinical practice. Specific areas of focus will include maternal and neonatal health, mental health, covid-19, sickle cell disease, digital healthcare, genomics and precision medicine, and race equality in the healthcare workforce.

Williams said, “We know that no single solution in one country will necessarily be relevant to another. Cultural differences matter, and we must be vigilant about acknowledging this. But we also know that there are common strategies that might be applicable across national boundaries. We want to learn what’s working and disseminate what we learn and what experience has taught us because the status quo will no longer suffice.

“We must not look the other way when the equivalent of a jumbo jet of Black people are dying each day in the US solely because of the colour of their skin, or when Native people from the Amazon to New Zealand suffer from disease that unnecessarily defines their lives. There is much to be done, and we are prepared to share our learnings with leaders in our countries and beyond.”

Coghill said, “This is an important time for the observatory as we explore and share the global impact of race and racism on health outcomes. It is imperative that this work is prioritised globally, and that together we share replicable learning outcomes and solutions to tackle persisting racial health inequalities that are suffered disproportionately by our global Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority communities.”

Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said, “This conference will provide a unique platform for healthcare researchers, practitioners, and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and challenges encountered in the field of race, ethnicity, and health from across the globe.”

The conference and registration will be staged by NHS Confederation, with further details to be announced shortly.

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