Mary Seacole award-winners announced

Inspiring professionals rewarded for work to improve health care for BME communities 

A nurse who created a smart phone app to explain the healthcare system to foreign visitors, and a lead midwife who examined the psychological needs of women who have undergone female genital mutilation are among the winners of this year’s Mary Seacole Leadership and Development Awards.

The Royal College of Midwives recognised five outstanding healthcare workers for their contributions to black and ethnic minority communities at a ceremony in London today.

The winners are: Gergana Nikolova, senior midwife at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, who created online antenatal and postnatal resources in a variety of languages; Raj Adgopul, specialist community public health nurse for VH Doctors Ltd, who created a UK health pathways app; Judith Ormrod, nursing lecturer at the University of Manchester for improving knowledge of FGM; Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Trust community midwife team leader Aissa Edon for exploring the needs of women who have been subject to FGM and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust health visitor Joanne McEwan for creating an app to assist healthcare professionals working to prevent FGM.

The awards – worth up to £12,500 each – were created in 1994 and honour 19th century nurse Mary Seacole. They are funded by the Department of Health and NHS Employers, in partnership with the RCM, RCN, Unison and Unite.

RCM professional policy adviser and Mary Seacole steering group committee chair Janet Fyle said of the winners: ‘Their projects are forward-thinking, culturally sensitive and patient-centred, and will improve the healthcare experience of people from BME communities.’

RCN general secretary Janet Davies added: ‘Mary Seacole is a true nursing icon and these awards are a fitting testimony to her legacy. For more than 20 years, the awards have inspired staff to reduce health inequalities and without these projects, many unmet health needs would continue to go unrecognised.'

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