The ‘Proud To Be’ Gratitude Awards for Sussex Black History Month 2021 recognise health and care staff who have made a difference in our ongoing work to challenge racism, inequality and injustice across the Sussex health and care sector and beyond.

The winners were announced at the Sussex Black History Month Highlight webinar – Reaching New Heights on 19 October 2021.

You can watch the announcement back online through our short film, presented by Sussex Integrated Care System leader, Adam Doyle.

Thank you to everyone who nominated an individual and thank you and congratulations to all the winners. 


Congratulations and thank you to all our winners

(listed in alphabetical order by first name)


Azhar Juri, Care Home Manager, Parkview Care Home

Nomination citation:

Azhar has worked tirelessly to promote BAME issues in care homes. Her dedication and leadership is second to none and she will work outside her hours to help BAME staff to have a platform to amplify their voices and treatment within the care home sector

Azhar has faced many barriers and has helped herself with dignity. She encourages leadership of others and works tirelessly to promote equality and equity in the workplace, not only for staff but for service users too

Azhar has brought together stakeholders from different care home organisations and can present her case for inclusion for BAME staff and the contributions they bring to this sector professionally

She has been instrumental in being part of the launch of the care home BAME staff network across Sussex.


Barbara Harris, Head of Inclusion HR and OD for University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust

Nomination citation:

Barbara has worked in the area of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for decades and has dedicated her career both within her hospital trust but also across the Sussex Integrated Care System to always championing and advocating for equality and justice.

She has influenced strategies, developed workforce plans, motivated and supported staff at all levels and has presented both locally and regionally on various forums.

Nothing is too big or too small for Barbara to support as long as it is aligned to her value of truth, equality, fairness and justice. She gives of her time selflessly and goes way beyond the call of duty of her core work and continues to champion race equality, gender equality, disability and LGTBQ+ rights even outside of her day job. She is strong and brave and challenges racism in a way that facilitates learning and influences positive change. During her time as Head of Inclusion she has had such buy in from Executive Directors from CEO and CMO within the trust to take a more visible role to stand up for staff equality.

As a person from a BAME community she shares her personal story which leaves a powerful impact on those around her and leads to insight and understanding which allows for practical applicability to the case for why we must always strive for racial justice and health equality.

Because of Barbara’s leadership and passion in this area she facilitates change by bringing the voice of staff straight to the Executive Team. She facilitates leaders supporting equality and inclusion more visibly such as Executive Directors meeting with BAME staff thought-out the height of the Pandemic to personally listen to their experiences, their worries and concerns, even anger and take action.

Barbara has worked closely with the BAME Disparity programme from inception in May 2020 to current and has given of her time after hours to review and coordinate information and documents both to influence workforce equity but also population with a personal interest to reduce maternity inequalities.

Barbara is a mentor who supports and helps others to develop. I have had the pleasure of talking to someone she has mentored who spoke about the positive influence that “Babs”, as she prefers to be called, has had on her confidence to come forward and visibly champion race equality including in public speaking.

Barbara stepped up and volunteered to be the Sussex BAME Steering Group Chair when no one else volunteered at the time and although she is retiring soon and will be missed, the impact she has made will remain.


Beth Woolf, Children’s Services Project Manager East Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Beth engaged black staff in the Race Equality in the Workplace project with tenacity and commitment.

She stepped up to take up the role of developing and project managing a Race Equality in the Workplace pilot. She ensured that black and minority ethnic staff were fully involved in its development, and found ways to engage them in the scoping and priority setting. She was committed to ensuring that the difficult and challenging messages about the need to focus on addressing discrimination from these staff were included, as she was clear that although they might deviate from the initial focus on recruitment practices, their views informed the wider context of improved staff welfare.

A key positive impact has been her commitment to integrate the black and minority ethnic staff view so that the Race Equality in the Workplace project includes the focus on improving leadership’s understanding and confidence in talking about and leading discussions on anti-racism. This is a powerful impact, which has the potential for longer term and sustained change for the Department and for the partners that we work with.

Beth is always open to challenge, and honestly shares her learning journey towards anti-racism. It is a pleasure to see her work and to note her support to her colleagues.


Carla Dow, Head of Communications – corporate programmes and projects Sussex NHS Commissioners

Nomination citation:

Carla evidences her allyship visually and practically to the BAME community by her commitment to support the programme with comms support. She goes above and beyond without being asked and this is the most powerful expression of allyship and supporting our BAME workforce.

Capacity is stretched across the system and where there has been limited offers to support the BAME disparity programme, Carla has freely offered her precious and limited to time to support us. Words cannot express how grateful we are.


Claire Scott, BAME Disparity Programme Project Manager Sussex NHS Commissioners

Nomination citation:

Without Claire we would not have the BAME disparity programme. She works tirelessly to progress the key actions to reduce race inequality. She has invested countless hours to build relationships with multiple stakeholders in order to progress the programme in a collaborative way with other system partners.

Despite the challenges and obstacles faced, Claire has continued to champion the BAME workforce and help to progress other key outputs for the BAME disparity programme. The programme is a complex one with many institutional barriers that have to be tackled, but Claire continues to push the programme forward.


Clare Cornford Project Officer: Governor Services Children’s Services East Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Clare drives the really important work on developing governor sessions on race equality.

Clare has been fantastic at ‘pushing upwards’ to get these governor sessions organised, promoted and recorded so they are available now for all to use whenever they wish.

Due to the school governor sessions that Clare has been instrumental in organising, school leaders are supported to understand and act on anti-racism.


Credence Tarukwasha, Physiotherapist at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Nomination citation:

Credence has taken the time to support students, his colleagues and the trust in challenging racism, inequality and injustice. He had a challenging time himself when he studied to be a physiotherapist but despite this, he has worked hard to support others and provide a safe space for people to be able to openly discuss their own experiences and to influence practice within his trust.

Credence has drawn on his own experiences to support others to make a meaningful change to his and others practices within his trust.

Credence has shared his personal journey with others to empower and influence them to share their own experiences, to challenge prejudices and to encourage an open and anti-racist approach in his organisation. In doing so he has started the discussions around cultural isolation and supporting others experiencing imposter syndrome. This has supported his organisation to challenge their current approaches and thinking that has directly impacted on student experiences within the trust.


Daniel Mutunda, Research Assistant Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Nomination citation:

Daniel is the research assistant in the BAME research work, funded by Head’s On. They have come into the post and really shone – going above and beyond. Daniel recently led an ideas generation group online, where they managed to gain feedback from everyone in an expert way. This research will make a significant contribution to understanding the impact of racism, inequality and injustice for BAME services users during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daniel is a real rising star.


Debra Lewis, Diversity & Inclusion Advisor Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Nomination citation:

Debra supports the work within the BAME Workforce Steering group and race equality within her organisation – including championing against discriminatory practices in Recruitment and selection and providing a compassionate ear for BAME Colleagues. She is not afraid to propose solutions to Trust seniors.


Donald Lindo, Child Protection Advisor/Independent Reviewing Officer Children’s Services East Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Donald encourages his black colleagues to speak about their experiences and highlight the impact of racism on their work. This has encouraged many other colleagues to talk openly about some of the challenges they have faced in their role as social workers.

Donald has spoken openly about his experiences and has encouraged the team to feel comfortable enough to speak about challenges they have faced in the workplace and within their own lives as a result of the colour of their skin, therefore informing the learning on anti-racism in East Sussex County Council.

The Race Equality Staff Reference Group has now informed a pilot in Children’s Services to improve recruitment and retention of black and minority ethnic staff and has developed management training so they can support their staff when faced with racism.


Gulu Sibanda, Locality Lead, Partnerships & Communities Team (Mid Sussex) West Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Gulu steers the West Sussex County Council Inclusion and Diversity Agenda and advocates across West Sussex BAME communities through his work with funding bids for the  Community Action Participatory Research projects.

He works tirelessly within the Turning the Tide Board and leads the health and care system in sharing messages to our BAME staff around the Covid Disproportionate impact last Autumn; acknowledging staff affected by the crisis In India this summer; Windrush Day and more.


Helen Chappell, Children’s Services Educational Psychologist East Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Helen Chappell brings her professional expertise in Ed Psychology to frame the learning to develop managers’ understanding and confidence in anti-racism.

Helen presented an analogy from personal experience about her unawareness of what London is like for disabled people and pointed out the same thing applies for racism. She made it very clear that we need to understand our own views and backgrounds and that without understanding the issues we are not able to tackle them effectively.

Helen initiated the idea of a new approach of skilling up managers to have difficult conversations with an anti-racist lens, in order to get fundamental change.


Jason Grant, Community Ambassador Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Nomination citation:

Jason was Sussex’s first BAME Community Ambassador.

He was involved heavily in setting up the Community Ambassador programme and sits on many public panels to promote and inform on BAME matters.


Mani Pang, Community Sister at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Mani was part of a small group of people who met with Minister Helen Whatley earlier this year. As part of the visit Mani shared her reflection of her experience as a community nurse in the pandemic. Her message was subsequently shared with all our staff through the Chief Executive’s Weekly Message. Although Mani’s account was not linked to her experience as a BAME member of staff, she very brilliantly articulates the experience she has had and the impact it has had on her. She is proud to be a community nurse who belongs to a “rainbow family” and she made everyone involved in the visit incredibly proud of her too. Very few people get to talk directly with Ministers in this way. Her words were written and delivered by her and were extremely powerful.

Recruiting and developing Community Nursing staff from BAME backgrounds is important to ensuring we meet the diversity of our patient population and support all our staff to achieve their ambition. The power of Mani’s message would have been aligned to the established knowledge that it is almost impossible to be what you can’t see.

Mark Hannigan, Integrated Care System (ICS) Cancer Interface Manager, Sussex Health and Care Partnership

Nomination citation:

Mark is incredibly passionate about reducing health inequalities across Sussex and has done a significant amount of research to inform his work in reducing inequalities related to cancer screening and care. I have always been really passionate about this myself since joining the NHS and seeing Mark work in such a way where this is central to his ethos is very refreshing, encouraging and inspiring. I sincerely hope to work with someone as passionate as Mark again sometime in the future.

I like to think that all of us are always thinking about how we can challenge racism, inequality and injustice in our work. However with Mark, it is so ingrained in his work that there is no doubt in my mind that this is always his priority. He regularly respectfully reminds people to consider this in their work too which is great to see, and we all need to be more like this.

Mark undertook a significant piece of work identifying the inequalities within Sussex with regards to cancer screening and care and how these could be addressed over the forthcoming years. Once this programme of work is complete, I truly believe the gap will have reduced and I hope whoever his successors are continue this work in the future.


Natasha Quarm, Children’s Services Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub East Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Natasha leads discussions about the impact of racism on black and minority ethnic children, particularly those of mixed heritage. She has highlighted the need for better support for parents and carers and for schools on race equality and anti-racism.

Although not a specific element of her role, Natasha has been sharing a lot of excellent resources to promote anti-racism and to highlight the history of colonialism and its effects on many black people’s experiences.


Nicola McGeown, Children’s Services Principal Social Worker, East Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Nicola has spearheaded anti-racism in health and social care across East Sussex by establishing a practitioner’s lead group with a strong voice for black staff and leading staff development on anti-racism.

Nicola demonstrated great tenacity in working with the health and social care department’s equality lead to make the strong case for a renewed Children’s Services’ focus on anti-racism in social care. She also showed real humility and honesty by being honest about her own journey to anti-racism. She was relentless in making the strong case for investing in resources and staff time to focus on promoting race equality.

Her strong voice in highlighting the need to have a renewed focus on race equality resulted in a project to drive recruitment and retention of black staff in the workforce and to develop leadership sessions on anti-racism. I was delighted to learn that there have been targeted learning sessions for both the highest executive leaders and the senior managers.

Her work has also inspired other divisions in the department to establish their own equality leads practitioners’ groups. I feel our senior managers are all much more aware of how to implement anti-racism because of her driving force behind this work.


Remi Osimade, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Manager Sussex NHS Commissioners

Nomination citation:

Remi’s contribution to promote race equality and celebrate the BAME workforce across the Sussex health and care system has been substantial.

Despite challenges, Remi has continued to champion the BAME workforce and is a key player in our BAME network and EDI leads meetings. Thanks to him the whole system has had access to anti-racism training and insightful webinars about the race disparity issue and what we can do to tackle these issues.


Dr Rick Fraser, Chief Medical Officer  Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Nomination citation:

Dr Fraser takes a real visible Executive Leadership role against inequality and inequity.

He has shown phenomenal drive to tackle race inequality in his Trust through organising a Board session in Health Inequalities, championing race equality in mental health provision, but also working alongside Trust HR Director on Workforce equality.


Sea Sharp, Project Support Officer, East Sussex CCG / East Sussex County Council

Nomination citation:

Sea has played a pivotal role in the setting up of the BAME Care Home staff network. They have canvassed for members, supported the chairs, undertaken care homes comms including creating posters and organised the meetings.

Sea has made a particularly important contribution to the East Sussex Care Homes group by feeding back key messages from the network to the stakeholders.

They bring enthusiasm and passion to the role and are able to articulate the concerns of the network fluently

Sea has also been instrumental in educating the wider team and facilitating debate about black history and Black Lives Matter.

Tanya Brown-Griffith, Programme Director, Population Health, Personalised Care and Prevention Programmes Sussex Health and Care Partnership

Nomination citation:

Tanya is an inspirational and influential leader who always priorities race equality throughout all the programmes she directs.

Tanya is a substantially skilled BAME woman who leads the Population Health, Personalised Care and Prevention and BAME disparity Programmes in an incredible way. She is evidence based in her approach to tackling race inequality and invests countless hours to ensure race equality is at the top of the system agenda. 


Dr Yaa Asare, The University of Brighton

Nomination citation:

Dr Yaa Asare  has played  a hugely important in race equality in Sussex. Her dedication to community involvement, her academic rigour and her insightful approach to anti-racism has resulted in excellent resources for schools and social care services.

She has contributed a huge amount of time and energy to this work over the past thirty years. She is one of our unsung heroes, who has been making her contribution in a thoughtful and quiet manner – always open to listening and understanding, and yet always challenging the decision-makers to change for the better.