Panel of Judges

Patrick Vernon


Patrick Vernon is recently appointed Independent Non-Executive Director of Birmingham and Solihull ICS, leading on inequalities and Non-Executive Director for Hertfordshire NHS Trust and Associate Director for Connected Communities for the Centre for Ageing Better and Chair of Citizenship Partnership for HSIB.

In 2012, Patrick was awarded an OBE for tackling health inequalities among the UK’s ethnic minority communities. In 2018, he was selected as one of London’s 1,000 most influential people by the Evening Standard.

In 2020, he established the Majonzi Fund, which provides small grants to families and community organisations to organise commemoration events for individuals from BAME communities who have died of COVID-19 over the last 19 months.

The same year, he was named by British Vogue as one of Britain’s top 20 campaigners and was included in the 2020 Power list of 100 influential Black People in Britain.

He is also a Clore and Winston Churchill Fellow, Fellow of Goodenough College, Fellow at Imperial War Museum, Fellow of Royal Historical Society, and former Associate Fellow for the Department of History of Medicine at Warwick University.

In August 2021, Patrick was appointed by Wolverhampton University as Honorary Professor of cultural heritage and Community Leadership for the Department of Community Development.

Professor Shivani Sharma


Deputy Dean People, Culture and Inclusion

Aston University, College of Business and Social Sciences


Professor Shivani Sharma is Deputy Dean (People, Culture, Inclusion) within the College of Business and Social Sciences at Aston University.  Shivani was the first member of her family to enter university and believes that higher education can be transformative for the individual and for wider society. 

Shivani’s research explores psychosocial factors in long-term conditions, emphasising how patient experience relates to protected characteristics and wider determinants of health. She has collaborated with a wide range of stakeholders to reshape thinking on health disadvantage, particularly in kidney research. Shivani aims to use science as a tool for driving health equity, employing mixed methods to broaden evidence that translates to practice. Working with multi-disciplinary teams in the UK and abroad, Shivani has contributed more than £4 million in funding for research aimed at narrowing health gaps.


Actively involved in the community, Shivani chairs the Board of the Swindon South Asian Performing Arts Centre, serves as a Trustee at Kidney Care UK, and participates in the Police Now Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Recognised for leadership in people and culture, she was a finalist in the Asian Women of Achievement Awards (2023) and listed among the UK’s 50 kind leaders. Her research has also received numerous awards for championing inclusion.

Dr Shera Chok


Shera is a GP and is the former Chief Medical Officer at NHS Digital. She started the award-winning Shuri Network in 2019 as she is passionate about increasing diversity, innovation and safety and to encourage other women from minority ethnic groups to lead and engage with digital transformation. 

She is an advisor to the NHS Race and Health Observatory and is an experienced Medical Director who has worked in leading primary care, commissioning, acute and community health organisations including Barts Health NHS Trust from 2010-16 as the Director of Primary Care.   She has developed and implemented health policy as a national advisor on new models of care and Integrated Care Systems with NHS England and advised ministers as a member of the NHS Independent Reconfiguration Panel from 2013-19. She is a member of the Sciana Network for European health leaders. 

Shera has volunteered as a clinician in Sudan, Laos, Indonesia and Greece with NGOs working in war and disaster zones. She studied at the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard School of Public Health, focusing on quality improvement, community engagement and leading change. She has completed an M.B.A., M.A. in Inter-professional Education and a Nuffield Trust Fellowship on cross-organisational learning.

In 2023 Shera was awarded the international Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship by the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin in 2023 to examine the German digital health strategy and help develop new insights and perspectives that will help both health systems deliver more equitable and innovative care. 

Patrica Hughes


Patricia started her nursing career on a medical ward in 1994 and, after a year, worked on an oncology/ haematology ward. After nine years there, she then became a haematology specialist nurse. She moved to London in 2014 to take up a Head of Nursing role in cancer at St George’s, before becoming a Matron at University College London Hospital (UCLH).

Throughout her career, she has aided colleagues in their career progression. “Lift as you climb” is her philosophy which she promotes by encouraging people of colour to apply for job opportunities.

 She is also passionate about the digital agenda and is an active member of the Shuri Network, the NHS care network of women from minority ethnic groups in digital health.

Some of Patricia’s past accomplishments include being the founding member and Chair of the UCLH BAME Network for almost 400 members.

She joined The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust as a Divisional Nurse Director in February 2020, where she made a significant impact as a champion for equality and inclusion.

Her current role is Deputy Director of nursing for NHSE/I (NW region) nursing and the AHP workforce team. She has a diploma and degree in nursing and an MSc in Cancer studies. She is also a qualified mentor.

Celestine Laporte


Celestine Laporte is a national officer in the health team at UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union, representing almost half a million members working in healthcare.

She leads UNISON’s Race for Equality campaign, which aims to tackle racism against staff in the NHS. She is the strategic lead for the union’s work to ensure UNISON workplace representatives are able to use the Workforce Race Equality Standard to improve race discrimination in the NHS.

Celestine is the national lead for UNISON’s Science, Therapy and Technical occupational group committee, overseeing the union’s policy agenda for allied health professionals and scientific staff across the NHS.

She is a member of the NHS Staff Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group and is committed to promoting this agenda across the NHS.

Jagtar Singh


Jagtar is the current chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, a mental health and community  trust.

Jagtar joined the fire service in 1977 straight from university in the West Midlands and retired in October 2006 as Deputy chief Fire Officer at Bedfordshire Fire Service.

Jagtar was the first BAME officer in the UK fire service in almost every position he occupied.

On retirement, he set up Jagtar Singh Associates Ltd in 2006.  The company quickly established a reputation for delivering high-quality training, HR policy support, equality and Diversity training, and equality impact assessment training as well as conference, workshop and cutting-edge research.

In July 2006, Jagtar was selected to be a Non-executive Director for the East of England Ambulance Service. In 2009 he moved on to be a Non-Executive Director of Luton and Dunstable Hospital .

Jagtar took up the role of Chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership trust in September 2014.

Jagtar also took up the role of Independent chair of Bedford Police audit and finance in 2013, a post he still occupies.

Tina Jegede



Nurse Lead – Islington Care Homes

Joint Director of Race Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.


Tina was born in North London at Whittington Hospital to Nigerian parents who came to the UK in the 1960s. She trained as a nurse and midwife. Tina has worked in several clinical and management roles, specialising in Sickle Cell Disorder, care home care provision, racism and health inequality. Tina has a postgraduate management degree and an MSc in Health Education and Health Promotion at Kings College, London University.

Tina was awarded an MBE and Queen’s Nurse Title for her contribution to the care sector’s engagement and her work around developing new care models and promoting integrated care locally and internationally.

 Tina considers equality a fundamental human right and is passionate about promoting fairness, justice, anti-racism/discrimination, reducing health inequalities to achieve improved health outcomes for Black, Asian and other minoritised groups, and supporting social innovation, research and equity.

Prof. Mahendra Patel


Professor Mahendra Patel is an award-winning pharmacist and academic with professorial roles at universities including the University of Sussex, Universiti Sains Malaysia, and many more.

He is a founding member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and has served as its elected national pharmacy board, assembly member, and treasurer for many years.

His contributions in advancing pharmacy have been regularly recognised, receiving a Fellowship from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and subsequently its prestigious President’s Charter Award.

He is one of the national leads at the University of Oxford investigating treatment options for COVID-19 in the community and helping trial recruitment be inclusive and diverse with work reported in the Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal.

He is highly active in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the NHS.

In 2019, he received an Outstanding Service Award to BAPIO and soon after became BAPIO Pharmacy Lead. He is now a formal advisor on EDI to many national pharmacy organisations, including a Professional Advisor to the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHSE and EDI Lead for the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists.

Mahendra was also recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2022 for services to pharmacy nationally and internationally as an Officer of the British Empire (OBE).

Diana Belfon



Diana Belfon has acquired decades of experience in business and administration and has held various management and leadership roles since joining the NHS. She is currently Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership.

Previously, she was the Equality & Engagement Manager for Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Before joining the National Health Service in 2003, Diana worked for an international company in the commercial industry.

Diana has a wealth of experience, including expertise in workforce race equality and is the co-chair of the Visible Leaders Network for NHS Midlands and Life-Long Learning.

She is also the Director of Central and East Northampton Citizen Advice and the Director of Northamptonshire Rights Equality Council.

In addition to these impressive roles, she is also a board member of the nationally recognised Health Service Journal (HSJ) Advisory Board and an HSJ Judge, focused on advocating and promoting best practices. 

Diana’s current roles have a clear focus on promoting and driving forward the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda at local, regional, and national levels, focusing on advocating and promoting best practices. As a healthcare professional, her ultimate goal is to help effectively deliver quality service to the communities of Northamptonshire.

Owen Chinembiri


Owen currently works as Head of Future Data and Digital Self Management at Macmillan Cancer Support. Prior to working in the UK, he worked as an OT in his native Zimbabwe and Botswana.

He is an alumnus of the NHS Graduate Scheme (Health Informatics specialism). Owen holds postgraduate qualifications in informatics, digital health, leadership and service improvement.

He has worked in various management/leadership roles for transformation, performance and informatics teams. Owen was previously an Associate Director at the NHS Race and Health Observatory and the lead analyst in the Workforce Race Equality Standard implementation team.

During his time on the WRES Team, Owen was involved in the collection and analysis of data for the first MWRES report. He is passionate about using data to improve patient care and staff experiences. Away from work, Owen is a keen runner.


Dr. Farah Jameel



Dr Farah Jameel is a GP in Camden, a Non-Executive Director at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, Trustee of Medical Womens Federation and the first female Chair of the General Practitioners Committee in England.

Farah is a multi-award-winning leader with over 15 years of industry experience. Having lived in UAE and India, she has experience in national and international healthcare systems. She draws on her clinical experience to influence health policy, strategy, and implementation. She is passionate about the use of technology and data to improve patient outcomes.

Farah is mum to a three-year-old and is currently on maternity leave with her second child. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening.


Francis Fernando


content coming soon

Anthony Robinson



Anthony Robinson, Assistant Director of Casework Presentation and Preparation

 Anthony is a dual-qualified solicitor and barrister with more than 35 years of practice. He joined the NMC in 2018 where he is an Assistant Director.

He was previously the Legal & Enforcement Director of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). Anthony was always interested in human rights, and as the Legal Director of the CRE, he worked with the EU on developing European legislation and was one of the founders of Euroneb (the umbrella body for equality and human rights bodies now renamed Equinet.

He also worked with the then government on setting up the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC). On the abolition of the CRE he transferred over to the EHRC to be the Director of Casework & Litigation with responsibility for key area functions such as its Casework and Representation Function – bringing human rights and equality cases on behalf of victims of these abuses; he ran the Equalities Mediation Service – a national mediation service for equalities disputes; the Programme of funding for Law Centres and CABx, and the Air Travel Complaints Process.

 Anthony has written and edited a number of publications, including Blackstone’s Guide to the Equality Act 2010, which is in its 4th edition.


Russell Jones


Russell Jones is a senior leader in health and social care, currently the Assistant Director for Children and Adults Joint Commissioning at the London Borough of Southwark and South East London ICB. 

 Russell has worked in local government for over ten years – initially in frontline and operational management roles, and more recently in senior positions spanning strategy, commissioning, and partnership development. 

 Russell is passionate about delivering and developing public services that improve lives and life chances, challenging inequalities, and promoting inclusion. 


Prof Anton Emmanuel


Anton Emmanuel obtained his medical degree from London University. He is A Professor of Neuro-Gastroenterology at University College London and Consultant Gastroenterologist at University College Hospital at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (Queen Square). His current clinical and research work is focussed on providing specialist gastroenterology service for patients with neurological illness, and he currently supervises three postgraduate research fellows.

He was appointed as editor in chief of Clinical Medicine and Commentary (the journals of the Royal College of Physicians) and is their Medical Director of Publishing.

He was Lead of the Workforce Race Equality Standard in NHS England and joined Welsh Government to lead the newly established service in mid 2023. December 2020. The focus of the WRES is towards embedding local accountability with organisations for their own data. A key component is to develop WRES metrics which reflect on the individual experience of staff in trusts and systems in order to implement evidence-based actions.

On a personal basis: father of four, immigrant of African-Asian origin, Londoner, multiple amateur (guitarist, homebrewer, record collector).


Prof Calvin Moorley


Professor Calvin Moorley is a Professor for Diversity & Social Justice, Adult Nursing Department at London South Bank University.

His research focuses on the interplay of gender, culture, ethnicity, and health, and he has an academic background in public health and health promotion.

He is a registered nurse and practices in intensive care therapy and is also a holder of the Mary Seacole Award for Leadership in Nursing. His secondary education was completed in Trinidad & Tobago, his birth nation.

Since graduating from the University of Essex as an adult registered nurse, Calvin has followed a clinical academic career, remaining close to clinical nursing, particularly in critical care.

He collaborates nationally and internationally, including working with Trinidad, Jamaica, and Australia teams. He publishes widely in various nursing journals.

Calvin’s most recent works include a national study on healthcare workers’ susceptibility to COVID-19; knowledge, attitude and beliefs on sex among Black Africans; psychosexual experiences of FGM survivors and experience of strokes among Caribbean populations in the UK; and the use of social media among nursing students in the Caribbean and UK.