Leaders must be bold about making structural changes to their healthcare organisations if they are to guarantee equality and inclusion, a diversity lead told delegates at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) first ever event to celebrate Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in pharmacy.
Wendy Irwin, head of equality and diversity at the Royal College of Nursing, spoke at the ‘Celebrating BAME contribution to pharmacy’ event on 17 October 2019 and presented her work at the nursing union and professional body’s cultural ambassador programme.
“If you are timid about inclusion and afraid of equality, the future will not favour you,” she said.
Delegates at the event, held at the RPS’s London headquarters, also heard the personal and career experiences of prominent BAME leaders in pharmacy, including Raliat Onatade, group chief pharmacist at Barts Health NHS Trust, Diane Ashiru, lead pharmacist for antimicrobial resistance and stewardship at Public Health England, and Mahendra Patel, treasurer of the RPS.
Their thoughts were complemented by words from figures outside of pharmacy, such as Victoria Cabral, working group manager at BAME mental health charity Black Thrive, and Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
The meeting, chaired by hospital pharmacist Tase Oputu, london lead for UK Black Pharmacists Association, concluded with a panel discussion and an update on the Society’s inclusion strategy from Gareth Kitson, professional development and engagement lead at the RPS.