Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP) collaborated with Health Data Research UK (HDRUK) to respond to the severe underrepresentation of Black people in the science, technology, engineering and maths professional community.

This would be a step towards the essential goal of promoting diverse perspectives, breaking biases and ensuring the workforce is representative of all communities.

Action taken 

ICHP welcomed two Black interns for six weeks to gain experience in their research teams as part of the HDRUK scheme. The paid interns had a diverse background, with degrees in mathematics and global health. Both were passionate about the opportunities to improve healthcare with real-world evidence.

During their internship, they were asked to investigate the pandemic’s indirect impact on hypertension diagnosis and outcomes in North West London. They also took part in projects related to maternal and neonatal health inequalities and outcomes. These involved multiple stakeholders from the NHS to academic institutions.

Gibril, a previous intern said: “From the get-go, I was directly working on a project that looked at the indirect impact of the pandemic on hypertension diagnosis and outcomes in North West London. I employed a dataset from the Discover-NOW initiative; a hub that supports Covid-19 research to aid the national effort, improving our understanding of this disease and the impact on our communities and healthcare sector.”

Next steps

ICHP will continue to collaborate with HDRUK and take on more interns through the programme for Summer 2022. They are also currently hosting an internship with Employ Autism.

Learnings

  • Existing schemes like the HDRUK internship programme can be an accessible way to make tangible steps to encourage a diverse workforce.
  • By creating plans before recruiting interns, it’s possible to ensure suitable opportunities to develop and learn. This helps the process to be constructive and valuable for the interns and the organisation.

 

Access more learning case studies – Diversity and Innovation Progress and Learning Report 2022.