University of East London professor on list of BME pioneers

Professor Mala Rao has been named as one of the Health Service Journal’s BME Pioneers 2013.

Professor Mala Rao has been named as one of the Health Service Journals BME Pioneers 2013. - Credit: Archant

A professor from the University of East London has been named as one of the Health Service Journal’s BME Pioneers of 2013.

Leading public health academic, Professor Mala Rao is among 50 people on the BME Pioneers list which includes Turning Point chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale, British Medical Association (BMA) president Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, and the deputy president of the Royal College of Nursing, Cecilia Anim.

The list was put together by the HSJ to celebrate healthcare champions from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. They were nominated by HSJ readers and healthcare experts, with a panel of judges selecting the most outstanding for the inaugural list, supported by the BMA, NHS Employers and the NHS Leadership Academy.

The judges said Professor Rao, was: “A really fantastic leader and incredibly inspirational. She is doing work on the impact of being a black and ethnic minority patient within England. She really deserves to be on the list.”

Professor Rao said: “I am delighted to be included in the BME Pioneers list. I am passionate about public health, but also about developing the skills of colleagues and students particularly from BME backgrounds to enable them to be leaders. It’s wonderful to be recognised for the work I do, and to be seen as an inspiration for younger people who may be considering working in both national and international healthcare.”

The accolade ends a successful year for Mala who received an OBE for services to public health in the UK and overseas in the 2013 New Year Honours List. During her 30 year career, Professor Rao’s work in policy, practice and research has had a major impact in both the UK and India. She established the first evidence-based cancer service network in the UK, and led the delivery of its public health skills and career framework. Her recent work has focused on highlighting the health impacts of climate change, directing the first institute of public health in India, and the development of health insurance schemes and primary care in India.