NHS Race and Health Observatory appoints Marie Gabriel CBE as chair

Marie Gabriel CBE, an experienced NHS leader, has been confirmed as the first chair of the newly created NHS Race and Health Observatory, which will be hosted by the NHS Confederation. 

Ms Gabriel has more than 18 years of experience on NHS boards, including in her current roles as chair of the North East London Integrated Care System and chair of Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, and before that, chair of East London NHS Foundation Trust.

In addition, Ms Gabriel holds various national NHS roles, including chair of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard Strategic Advisory Group, and board member of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation. She is also part of the NHS Employers Policy Board and NHS People Plan Advisory Group. She was given her CBE in 2018 for services to the NHS.

Before her career in the NHS, Ms Gabriel worked for more than 20 years in senior executive roles within local government, housing and the third sector.

Her honours include Freedom of the London Borough of Newham, and the Tony Cheeseman Award in recognition of her contribution to equality and the communities of East London.

Lord Victor Adebowale, chair of the NHS Confederation, which hosts the Observatory, said: “We are thrilled that Marie has accepted the position of chair. She will be an incredible asset to the Observatory, as her passion for overcoming health inequalities, as well as her far-reaching experience as a leader in the NHS, give her the insight and wisdom needed to lead in this extremely important area.

“The COVID-19 crisis has cast an inescapable spotlight on racial inequalities, as Black and minority ethnic communities and healthcare staff have suffered a disproportionate impact from the pandemic. We look forward to working with Marie as the Observatory takes on the vital task of helping to transform the unjustly disparate outcomes for patients, communities and NHS staff, caused by racial inequality.”

Marie Gabriel said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as chair of the Race and Health Observatory and I am really looking forward to working with colleagues to evidence, share and support true improvement in achieving race equity.

“The Observatory is a critical next step in the NHS race equality journey. It will ensure that we harness the expertise of both our academics and of our communities, it will challenge but also support the implementation of practical solutions, and in so doing, seek to radically address the health inequalities experienced by Black and minority ethnic communities.

“Achieving equity has always been my prime motivator and I truly believe that the ambitions of the Observatory provide an opportunity for us all to systematically improve the access, experience and outcomes of BAME communities.”

The Race and Health Observatory was launched in May 2020 and will be hosted by the NHS Confederation. Its aim is to identify and tackle the specific health challenges facing people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds.

The Observatory will involve experts from this country and internationally, and will offer analysis and policy recommendations to improve health outcomes for NHS patients, communities and staff.

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