We are proud to announce The Black Health Initiative (BHI) as a partner on Pararchive. BHI is a community 100_2009engagement organisation that works with disadvantaged and marginalised communities towards equality of access to education, health and social care within Leeds and surrounding areas. In order to achieve this, BHI works in partnership with NHS Leeds, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support, Prostate Cancer Charity UK, Leeds City Council, National BME Cancer Alliance, schools, education providers and voluntary sector organizations. BHI’s core work is centred on encouraging, supporting and enabling community engagement in a number of ways. It encourages members from diverse communities within and out of Leeds – who show enthusiasm to access training in partnership with outside agencies – to become active in forums, patient involvement activities, representation on boards, and various bodies such as the Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

100_2015In terms of support, BHI understands the importance of effective community engagement that affords minority communities opportunities to engage with service providers and influence services, policies and procedures with the emphasis on deliberate inclusion. In addition to providing encouragement and support, BHI engages with communities through targeted culturally appropriate outreach to develop positive lifestyle choices, address cultural myths and taboos, and provide factual health and well-being information which embraces diversity. Since 2009 BHI has developed bespoke programmes to ensure that the profile of health and wellbeing issues that disproportionately affect minority communities in Leeds are being raised and addressed.

Courtesy of BHI: Delegates at the Women's Inspirational Health Conference 2013, Leeds

Courtesy of BHI: Delegates at the Women’s Inspirational Health Conference 2013, Leeds

BHI’s work is primarily carried out through a range of projects illustrative examples of which include the following: BHI’s Women’s Health and Wellbeing Project (ISIS) – a project that works to effectively engage marginalised and disadvantaged women from minority communities throughout the city of Leeds. In recognition of and response to the particular challenges that women face in managing their health and in navigating the different barriers women face in accessing services, ISIS seeks to intervene as follows: to encourage women to make their health a priority, to influence women’s lifestyle choices, and to support behavioural changes. Most recently, BHI organised the “Women’s Inspirational Health Conference” at which a range of prominent speakers committed to supporting BHI’s work spoke. Among the

Courtesy of BHI: From Left to Right - Heather Nelson, Chief Executive, BHI; Yvonne Coghill; Rob Webster; Paula Lloyd Knight, and Carol Baxter

Courtesy of BHI: Conference Speakers at the Women’s Inspirational Health Conference 2013 from Left to Right – Heather Nelson, Chief Executive, BHI; Yvonne Coghill; Rob Webster; Paula Lloyd Knight; and Carol Baxter

speakers were Rob Webster, Chief Executive, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Dr. Carol Baxter, Professor of Nursing, Middlesex University and currently Head of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, NHS Employers, Paula Lloyd Knight, Head of Patient and Public Voice, NHS England (London Region), and Yvonne Coghill, Senior Programme Lead, NHS Leadership Academy.

Likewise, BHI Men’s Health and Well-being Project (BiL), another project run by BHI, works toward providing physiological, psychological and practical support to marginalised and disadvantaged men who suffer from the effects of social, cultural or environmental factors that have a 100_2014specific impact on men’s emotional and physical well-being at either individual, community, regional or even national level. You can read up on more details about the most recent conference organised by BHI which focused on on key health issues confronting men, including Lung cancer, Prostate cancer, Mental Health within the Diaspora, and other related topics by clicking Men’s Health Dialogue 2013. Other similar project initiatives include Teenage Health and Domestic Violence.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Photo Credit: Pinterest

In particular, BHI and Pararchive are going to work together with the Windrush Nurses settled in Leeds who are keen to chart their journey and tell their stories around equality in the NHS. That is to say, these stories will explore whether there has been progression in the NHS in terms of equal treatment of personnel since the Windrush Nurses were invited and/or recruited to work in and help develop the NHS as we know it today. We hope that these stories will commemorate the Windrush Nurses’ dedication to service in the NHS over decades and often under very difficult circumstances. Part of this storytelling project will involve looking at archival holdings of the BBC and the Science Museum group to interrogate whether the formal perspectives that were disseminated about the Windrush Nurses actually relate to their lived experiences. If you wish to find out more about BHI’s work, feel free to browse BHI’s website: www.blackhealthinitiative.org. You can also follow BHI via twitter @BHILeeds.