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RCN outstanding contribution awards for Black History Month celebrations 2021

15 Oct 2021

Six nursing professionals and a nursing team have won a Royal College of Nursing award to mark their outstanding contribution to the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda and the experience of BAME service users and staff across the health and social care sector.

The awards form part of the RCN North West’s annual event to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution of nursing staff from BAME backgrounds who work in health and social care across the region.

This year’s theme is ‘Anti-Racism: A Time for Literacy and Transformation’ and took place virtually on Wednesday. The event aimed to give delegates a better understanding of anti-racism and why literacy is important. It wanted to give them the ability to describe what might need to change in their organisations and the confidence to approach conversations.

This year’s winners work across a range of settings including in hospitals and out in the community, and in clinical and non clinical areas such as governance, general nursing and mental health. They were recognised for a variety of reasons including their commitment to ensure the BAME agenda is heard nationally, raising awareness of mental health in the BAME community, supporting newly recruited nurses from the BAME workforce through the HR process.

The winners are:

Luisito Sandagon, Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals
Chikku Benny, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT
Dr Gayatri Nambiar–Greenwood, Manchester Metropolitan University
Julie Mitchell and the Practice Education Team, Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Angela McDonald, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
Anu Thomas, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals
Deepsi Khatiwada, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

In addition to these winners, three retired nurses were presented with a veteran award for their contributions.

The criteria for this award are for individuals who have either overcome significant barriers and championed positive outcomes for equality, diversity and inclusion. Have long service to health and social care community and advocating inclusivity for opportunities for BAME individuals and communities. Have implemented changes that have made a significant contribution to enhancing staff/service user experiences.  The individual is using their professional knowledge, skills and experience to enhance or support communities and/or organisations or lastly, made a tangible contribution to their organisation and the wider workforce/health and care community.

This year’s recipients are:

Alift Harewood MBE, from Macclesfield. A nurse and midwife trained in Guyana before coming to the UK and settling in Macclesfield more than fifty years ago. Alift subsequently reinforced her qualifications becoming a registered nurse, midwife and occupational health nurse. She served as a Councillor, deputy mayor and mayor for Macclesfield Town Council and became the town’s first black alderman.
Max Oosman arrived in England to begin his nursing training in August 1972, at the age of 19. After qualifying, Max decided to move into Mental Health Nursing. Max progressed to Nurse Specialist, Quality Manager, Nurse Manager, Deputy Director of Nursing, and Clinical Lead. He specialises in dementia care, an area he is passionate about. Max has also supported the NHS with changing the image of nursing and has visited local schools regularly to promote Nursing and bridge the gender gap and encourage the BAME community to take up Nursing as a valuable profession.
Monica Wier grew up in Jamaica and came to England in 1967 to become a nurse and commence her mental health training. She encountered various challenging situations but did not realise at the time it was of a racist nature as she never encountered that before whilst in Jamaica. Monica challenged racist attitudes in her nursing career as she felt it needed to be done. If Monica believes in a cause she would always stand up and address prejudices to ensure that other BAME nurses did not experience situations that she went through. She supported many nurses over her 35 years as an RCN steward helping them overcome obstacles and promoting good nursing practice and was well known and respected by her nursing colleagues and nurse leaders.

Further details about all of the winners and the work they have been involved in can be viewed here.

Congratulating the winners, Estephanie Dunn, Regional Director of the Royal College of Nursing in the North West said: “Our Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic nursing community play a vital role in caring for people in our region who need it most.  This award celebrates the unique contribution that our BAME nursing community makes across the North West.”

She added: “However, we must not forget that BAME staff continue to face an uphill battle for equal access to career opportunities and to be treated fairly in the workplace. Racial inequality in the workplace can affect patient care at a time where the profession is crying out for nursing staff with more than 5,000 registered nurse vacancies across the region. Whilst there have been some improvements, we still have a very long way to go to achieve greater equality and stamping out corrosive attitudes and behaviours.

“However, hearing how valued our award winners are in their organisations gives me hope that one day trying to fight inequality within the health and social care sector will be a thing of the past.”


Page last updated - 17/03/2022