60 seconds with... the co-chairs of RLH and ME BME Network | #TeamBartsHealth blogs

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60 seconds with... the co-chairs of RLH and ME BME Network

Meet the co-chairs for the RLH and ME BME Network: Samantha Quaye, Natoya Louison and Ebenezer Gberbie.

What does being a Site Lead of the RLH and MEH BME network involve?

Sam: This is primarily about championing the network and the work we do. We are there to support people who are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background in terms of their experience at work. We help people to understand the resources available to them, how to access these and tools they can use to identify and break down barriers. The committee is there to provide a sounding board for ideas and promote the achievements. We also work with stakeholders with the aim to improve our performance against the Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES).

A key part of the Site Lead role is practical in nature and involves planning, arranging and hosting meetings and events. We talk to our counterparts in the other hospitals to work together to maximise the opportunities that staff have to be part of the BME Staff Group.  We also liaise with the BME Co-Chairs, Tigist and Veronica, to cascade messages from the OD and Inclusion Board.

Ebenezer: Well said by Sam. I also think being a site lead of the BME Network also involves helping to create a platform for us to be stronger together by promoting and supporting diversity within Barts Health.


How has being part of the network helped or improved your career?

Sam: Being part of the BME Network has improved my experience of working at Barts Health. It helps me to connect with others outside of pharmacy and understand people’s experiences in the Trust. We have a workforce that comprises people from a variety of heritages and this enriches the services we offer to our local communities and beyond.  The BME Network can help to amplify BME staff’s voices, reduce bias through education and promote equality of opportunity; it is a privilege for me to be an ally to a group that aims to improve inclusion and welcomes everyone who wants to make a positive impact on racial equality.

Natoya: Joining the BME group has help me to identify my conscious and unconscious bias and work to alleviate them. The BME network  has put me in touch with other groups where we share learning. I feel like I have platform where I can express my opinions and facilitate others to do so.

Ebenezer: Being part of the BME Network has greatly enhanced my experience of working within Barts Health. I have engaged with people from a wide range of backgrounds, disciplines, ethnicity and grades to understand their experience of working within the Trust and also given me the platform to harness my leadership, organising and employee engagement skills. I have had the opportunity to coach, mentor and help colleagues resolve problems in order to reach their full potential and ultimately be the best that they can be.


Who should join the BME network?

Sam: Membership to the network is for Black Minority Ethnic (BME) staff and their allies. 'Non-BME’ staff who act as champions for inclusion and are dedicated to promoting the work and ethos of the network are also welcome. Joining the network offers a wide range of opportunities and benefits; these include networking, empowerment, support with career development and a safe place to address any work-related issues.


Any advice for how staff can get involved?

Sam: Yes! Please come along to our meetings. We have quarterly network events and the next one is on 13th December. Information about how to book a place will be published in due course; we will also display this on social media.

If you are interested in supporting the committee from an operational point of view, please get in touch with any of the Site Leads.

Ebenezer: Please come along to our quarterly meetings where there is the opportunity to interact with other colleagues, share experience and/or advice. Also, you could volunteer to be  one of our Inclusion Ambassadors to champion the BME agenda within your team or department. I am happy for anyone who is interested to contact me for details.


What do you think is the biggest issue facing the BME community in healthcare currently?

Sam: There are multiple areas of inequality in healthcare that affect BME people. In terms of health outcomes, some of these have been highlighted in recent reports such as Ethnic and socioeconomic variation in cause-specific preterm infant mortality by gestational age at birth: national cohort study and Tackling Inequalities: a partnership between mental health services and black faith communitiesSuch published reports are limited to areas that have been studied so we need to advocate a whole system approach tackle inequalities in a more holistic way in order to make a bigger impact on addressing the issues. This starts with understanding people’s experiences and engaging the BME Staff Networks in wider Trust priorities is one method that can be employed to help with this.

Ebenezer: The fact that we are not organised enough. I believe if we built a strong multi-disciplined network we would create a platform where we can help, inspire and spur each other on to greater achievement. This will help to change the narrative about inequality and discrimination within the BME community as purported by the reports quoted above.


What is something staff might not know about you?

Sam: I am obsessed with Twitter! My account name is @MrsQuaye

Natoya: I am a movie guru. I love my movies and dancing.

Ebenezer: I am ex-forces. I served with the British Army all over the world until my military career was cut short due to an injury I sustained whilst serving. I was fortunate enough to have been operated on here at the Royal London Hospital – which has immensely improved my quality life. I am both an employee and a patient – this is probably why I am so invested in ensuring that the Trust (including its workforce) is the best it can be for the community that it serves in order to deliver the best possible patient care.

I also really enjoy the arts especially music. I own a record label which I manage in my free time and I have worked with a few big names in the entertainment industry.



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