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Mary Seacole Awards recognise nursing projects on gang mental health and skin cancer

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The winners of this year’s Mary Seacole Leadership and Development Awards, which fund projects to improve the health of people from black and minority ethnic communities, have been revealed.

At a ceremony in London yesterday, five nurses were each provided with grants of up to £12,500 to lead projects ranging from focussing on gang work in Westminster to skin cancer awareness.

“When we were looking at the individual projects, we wanted them to have a wider impact outside of their organisations”

Obi Amadi

Bertha Ochieng, associate professor for nursing and midwifery at De Montfort University in Leicester, was provided with a leadership award to develop an evidence-based tool for managing the weight of BME children aged 0 to 5 years old.

Dorcas Gwata, clinical lead for an integrated gangs unit within Westminster’s child and adolescent mental health services at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, also received a leadership award.

She will use the money to improve leadership in mental health interventions for young people from African and Middle Eastern backgrounds affected by gang culture in Westminster.

In addition, three development awards, each worth up to £6,250, were also handed out at the ceremony, which took place at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Skin cancer research nurse Liza Mitchell, a lecturer at London South Bank University, won funding for her work in raising awareness of skin conditions and cancer among BME patients who undergo organ transplantation.

In addition, Manchester Metropolitan University programme leader for nursing, Faye Bruce, was selected for her plans to develop knowledge health literacy among Caribbean and African faith leaders.

Meanwhile, Saeideh Saeidi, service evaluation manager at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, received an award for work looking at cultural competence in mental health care.

In addition to the money, the winners will be part of a development programme to improve their leadership and presentation skills.

Obi Amadi, Unite

Obi Amadi, Unite

Obi Amadi

At the ceremony, the chair of the awards’ steering committee, Obi Amadi, said this year’s winners had shown the far-reaching effects their work could have.

“I was impressed by the potential of the impact from what they each wanted to do,” Ms Omadi, who works for the union Unite, told Nursing Times.

“When we were looking at the individual projects, we wanted them to have a wider impact outside of their organisations,” she said. “There is so much to learn through these projects – and through changes and by responding, that may also result in savings for the NHS too.” 

The Mary Seacole Leadership and Development Awards, named after the 19th century Jamaican-Scottish nursing pioneer, are funded by Health Education England.

They are awarded in association with Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Unison and Unite, with support from NHS Employers.

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