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Dr Omon K. Imohi celebrates Black History Month 2023 by exploring Black women's pivotal contributions to health and care research in the UK.

A collective photogrpah of the memebrs of Black Women in Health

Black History Month is a perfect time to celebrate the remarkable contributions of Black women in the field of health and care research. The theme for this year’s black history month is ‘Saluting our sisters’. In recognition of their leadership, talent, and impact, on this year's Black History Month 2023 will highlight pioneering black women who have blazed a trail.

Their resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to addressing the unique challenges faced by their communities have paved the way for ground-breaking advancements in research equity. In this blog, we will explore the pivotal role of Black women in shaping inclusive research practices, addressing health inequalities, and fostering community engagement. Their stories are a testament to the transformative power of research when guided by principles of equity, relevance, and rigour.

1. Celebrating Black Women in Research:

Black women have made indelible marks in health and care research. From pioneering ground-breaking studies to championing the cause of inclusive research practices, their contributions are invaluable. By highlighting their achievements, we recognize the importance of diversity in research and how it enriches our understanding of health and well-being.

The likes of Professor Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu who made significant contributions to genetics research, particularly in the field of sickle cell disease. Dr. Funmi Olopade a leading oncologist and Researcher: who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the genetic basis of breast cancer and many others.

2. The Importance of Inclusion:

Inclusion isn't just a buzzword; it's a fundamental principle in research. Black women bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table. Ensuring their voices are heard and valued in research is essential to creating solutions that address their specific challenges, thus advancing equity in healthcare. Encouraging diversity and inclusion in tackling health conditions is fundamental to narrowing the health inequalities gap.

3. Addressing Health Inequalities:

The health disparities faced by Black women in the UK is a pressing concern. These disparities are influenced by a complex interplay of social determinants. Community-based research led by Black women plays a pivotal role in understanding and mitigating these inequalities, ultimately leading to more equitable health outcomes.

4. Community Engagement:

Black women are at the forefront of community engagement and involvement in research. Their ability to connect with and mobilize communities ensures that research remains grounded in the real-world needs and aspirations of those it aims to serve. Community engagement isn't just a checkbox; it's a powerful tool for driving change. During the pandemic, it was evident that community engagement plays a vital role in creating health awareness, carrying out surveys and research and in public health education. As our contribution to helping reduce covid vaccine hesitancy the organisation I lead - Black women in health engaged with the community by creating webinars to educate people, carrying our surveys and writing about it, this was published in the NICE shared learning guidelines in 2021. Trust plays an important role in community engagement, and when people in a community see people who look like them involved it makes all the difference.

5. Relevance to Black Communities:

Research should be a reflection of the communities it serves. By tailoring research to address the specific health needs of Black communities in the UK, we ensure that it remains relevant, impactful, and genuinely beneficial.

6. Ethical and Rigorous Research:

Research equity isn't just about inclusivity; it's also about conducting research that is scientifically rigorous and ethically sound. Black women, in their roles as researchers and advocates, uphold these principles to ensure that their communities are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

7. Historical Context:

Understanding the historical challenges faced by Black women in the UK provides crucial context for the importance of research equity. By acknowledging the injustices of the past, we can better appreciate the significance of the strides we are making today.

8. Personal Stories:

Personal stories are powerful narratives that illuminate the impact of Black women's involvement in research. These stories showcase their resilience, their dedication, and the tangible changes they bring to their communities.

9. Call to Action:

We invite more Black women to become active participants in health and care research. The Centre for Research Equity is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that values diversity, promotes rigorous research, and addresses the pressing health challenges faced by Black communities. Join us in this transformative journey towards a more equitable future


Black women have been pioneers of equity in research, and their contributions continue to shape the landscape of healthcare and well-being in the UK. This Black History Month, let us celebrate their achievements, learn from their experiences, and commit to a future where research is truly equitable, inclusive, and relevant to all. Together, we can create a healthier, more just world for everyone.